Methodist deadline extended

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The owner of the site of the former Methodist Hospital complex in eastern New Orleans has granted Mayor Mitch Landrieu a two-month extension on a $40 million deal to purchase the property, Methodist Health System Foundation CEO Fred Young Jr., said Monday.

“The mayor asked for 60 days so he could look over the deal,” Young said.

The city has until July 15 to decide on the agreement between site owner Universal Health Care and a city-supported nonprofit, Orleans Parish Hospital Service District. The agreement would commit the city to spending $40 million in federal Community Development Block Grant money –  nearly 10 percent of $411 million given to the city for discretionary post-Katrina rebuilding.

Residents of eastern New Orleans say the hospital is needed to bring families back to the storm-decimated area, and that people are now traveling as long as 30 minutes for emergency care.

Landrieu did not respond to requests for comment. In a March 21 e-mail to a neighborhood community organization representative pleading for a quick resolution,  former mayor Ray Nagin said Landrieu asked him to “stop and not purchase” the complex.

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