The Orleans Parish Justice Center’s main kitchen building is undergoing demolition as part of the prison’s third development phase after final approval from City Council.
Council unanimously approved the demolition at their regular meeting Thursday. The building, located at 2801 Perdido St., has been used as the main kitchen after renovations in 2006. But, with its demolition, there are no concrete plans for the land’s use.
Perez APC, a New Orleans-based architecture firm, has been tasked with demolishing the building at a $917,000 price tag, according to city documents. That project will be funded by FEMA with an expected completion by late October.
The project was initially questioned by the New Orleans Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee (NCDAC), which oversees demolition requests. Ben Tinklenberg, with Perez APC, told the commission that the firm will monitor surrounding properties before and during demolition to prevent any damage.
“As far as I know we’re just fencing it off and creating a green space,” Tinklenberg told NCDAC at a June meeting. “As of the moment it’s not a parking space.”
NCDAC approved the motion with a proviso for contractors to alert neighboring properties to the old kitchen’s demolition. City Council unanimously approved demolition as well, with Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell lauding the additional proviso meant to keep people informed.
Earlier this year, a plan to expand the Orleans Justice Center to include 89 beds for mentally-ill inmates was passed by City Council. The proposal requires the City Planning Commission to start planning for a new 89-bed facility next to the Mid-City jail housing mentally-ill prisoners and is backed by the New Orleans Sheriff’s Office. The council approved the motion 5-1 after hours of debate and public comment at a May meeting.
“Regardless of the size and scope, this demo is necessary for anything to go forward,” Cantrell said.