NEWORLEANS-- Children's Hospital in New Orleans has expansion plans for the property next door to its Uptown location.
The 17-acre tree-lined campus was once part of the sprawling Fortier Plantation on the Mississippi River. It was a military hospital in the 1800s and most recently home to the New Orleans Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital.
Children's Hospital next door recently took possession of the property.
'We are very, very happy to have this campus,' said Children's CEO Mary Perrin. 'We realize how beautiful it is, how important this is to the community.'
Uptown neighbors have been eying the property with great interest since NOAH closed due to state budget cuts in 2009.
'We've been here six years and I've watched it and I've hoped somebody would do something with it,' said Judy Swan.
'The building's there,' said Neil Corbin. 'It's right next to the existing Children's property. I don't think any redevelopment plans are going to be that big of an issue.'
Neighbors hope Children's will keep the history of the property intact.
'It's an interesting historic building with a rotunda and everything, so I would hope that they keep the historic value,' said Corbin.
'It's a beautiful campus,' said Swan. 'If they come in and restore it, it would be outstanding. It is on the national historic register, so they do have to maintain the buildings, which I think is great.'
Children's has hired a local architectural firm to help maintain the historic charm of the NOAH property. Hospital officials say preserving many of the old buildings is part of the plan.
'We're going to have a series of different meetings,' said Perrin. 'Some of them with the physicians and the clinical staff here, some of them with the community, some of them with the preservationists in the community. It has some buildings that date back to the 1800s. We have preliminarily identified some potential uses for those buildings.'
Children's is expected to develop the property in phases. The hospital paid the state $29 million for the property.