The Lens’ Tyler Bridges recently sat down with Pres Kabacoff to hear his ideas to redevelop New Orleans’ urban core:

He is sketching out a vision that stitches the pieces together: Iberville would become a mixed-income neighborhood. As Mayor Mitch Landrieu has proposed, City Hall would occupy one wing of Charity and the Civil District Court would take a second wing. The third wing, Kabacoff proposes, would house a neuroscience facility dedicated to advancing brain research for such diseases as Alzheimer’s. …

With thousands of new government workers, court officials and medical professionals at the renovated Charity and hundreds of new residents at a safe Iberville, national retailers would have a reason to invest downtown, Kabacoff figures. The vacant lots on Canal would become a New Orleans version of Lakeside Shopping Center and a magnet for locals and tourists.

Pres Kabacoff
Pres Kabacoff

Kabacoff acknowledges this more of a vision than a plan. He doesn’t have financing for it, and retailers wouldn’t be interested in the mall unless there were potential shoppers nearby. And some preservationists don’t trust Kabacoff because of how he pushed through the redevelopment of the St. Thomas housing development and the construction of the Wal-Mart there. Thursday at noon CDT, Lens readers can talk to Kabacoff about his ideas. Come here at noon and use the chat window below to post your questions and comments. I’ll moderate them to keep the conversation organized. Bridges will participate as well, adding his own questions and comments based on his reporting. In the meantime, you can read the original story, post your comments there, listen to our radio story or watch a video in which Kabacoff explains his plans.

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Steve Myers

Steve Myers was editor of The Lens. Before joining the staff in 2012, Myers was managing editor of Poynter Online, the preeminent source of news and training about the journalism industry. At Poynter,...