NEW ORLEANS -- There are finally signs of life at the iconic Bohn Ford building on South Broad Street in New Orleans.
Fire gutted the structure nearly 16 years ago. It's been vacant and decaying ever since.
Hillary Guttman at the Laurel Street Bakery across the street is excited to see progress in Broadmoor.
"Everything on the other side of the Broad Street overpass is booming and things on this side are also starting to get underway," Guttman said. "This is just a huge step in that direction."
Monday, community leaders, Mayor Mitch Ladrieu and Governor John Bel Edwards gathered to break ground on a $14 million renovation of the building.
The Odyssey House addiction-treatment provider will become the anchor tenant.
Getting the building back into commerce is personal for Mayor Landrieu.
"My family lived two blocks from here," Landrieu said. "My older four brothers and sisters were born less than two blocks from here."
The governor touted the new tenant's mission to address the growing opioid crisis..
Edwards claims the Medicaid expansion he approved shortly after taking office, allowed 17,000 drug addicts to get treatment at places like Odyssey House.
"Expanding access and making this life saving treatment an option was the right thing to do for the folks here in Louisiana," Edwards said.
Odyssey House CEO Ed Carlson addressed some residents' concerns about having a drug treatment center in their neighborhood.
"There's been a lot of studies done about opening up drug treatment programs in communities and it actually reduces crime in the area," Carlson said. "Most people who are addicts who are actively using and dealers and stuff don't want to be anywhere near a drug treatment program."
Back at the Laurel Street Bakery, the owner is looking forward to having new neighbors.
"We're just excited to have that beautiful building back on line," Guttman said. "It's an old historic building and it's hopefully going to get renovated in a way where they're going to have Odyssey House in the back and some retail up front to bring more people in general to the area."
Odyssey House partnered with Gulf Coast Housing Partnership and Rhodes Commercial Development to redevelop the 41,000 square foot building.
It's expected to house 150 beds for treatment and patients detoxing from drugs.