Charity Hospital redevelopment to be Tulane ‘flagship’ downtown

Andrew Spencer, Contributing Reporter

Charity Hospital has stood abandoned since Hurricane Katrina, but Tulane University is at the center of its redevelopment. (Jada Roth)

Over 16 years ago, damage caused by Hurricane Katrina left Charity Hospital abandoned. 

Today, plans are set to convert this iconic New Orleans building into a mixed-use complex, with Tulane University at the center of this redevelopment.

As announced in a November press release, Tulane, working with developers 1532 Tulane Partners, Inc. and SKK Opportunity Zone Fund I, LLC, signed a long-term lease to redevelop and occupy 350,000 square feet within Charity Hospital. 

Tulane President Mike Fitts described the acquisition of this new space as a critical step forward for Tulane’s downtown campus.

“The development of the downtown campus is really one of the most important initiatives at Tulane over the last 50 years,” Fitts said. “I would describe [the Charity Hospital redevelopment] as the flagship of this initiative.”

The building is set to house a significant expansion of research and educational facilities, with 600 researchers expected to eventually be working in the redeveloped space, according to Fitts. 

The building will also house the Tulane Innovation Institute, a new initiative aimed at helping researchers bring their research to the market. 

It is likely that the School of Professional Advancement will also move to this new space.

Alongside Tulane’s educational and research facilities, the building will also feature apartments, retail, restaurants and a charter school.

“It will be a center, a community unto itself,” Fitts said. 

Fitts cites numerous examples, including in Nashville, Tennessee with Vanderbilt University and in Columbus, Ohio with Ohio State University, where the presence of a major research university has energized cities and their economies. 

Fitts anticipates that the growth of Tulane’s downtown campus will serve a similar role for New Orleans as “an incredible spur for research and economic growth for the city.” 

According to the November press release, Tulane is aiming to move into its new space at Charity Hospital by 2025.

President Fitts is hopeful that through this open, multi-use space Tulane can strengthen its connection with the city of New Orleans.

“We get so much from the fact that we are in New Orleans,” Fitts said.

To him, the downtown campus “helps us give back to the city, which is so important to us.”