New Orleans seeks proposals to demolish Plaza Tower

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NEW ORLEANS — Action may be coming on the infamous Plaza Tower. The City of New Orleans has called for demolition of the building in Downtown New Orleans.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell has called it one of the “dirty dozen” blighted buildings in New Orleans, and finally, the problematic Plaza Tower may be coming down.

Mayor Cantrell’s Office issued a request for the demolition of the tower Tuesday, calling it an eyesore and risk to the community.

The Plaza Tower has been sitting in New Orleans Central Business District, abandoned and deteriorating for over two decades. The mayor hinted last month that demolition could come soon.

“We will continue to put pressure not only in fines, but also in working to bring the property down and preparation to demolish if we do have to do that,” Cantrell said last month.

The skyscraper has been problematic since it was abandoned in 2001 due to asbestos and toxic mold. In 2021, a cyclist was hurt when debris from the building fell on him.

In April of this year, a fire broke out, and just hours later, a man fell from a window and died.

The property has changed hands over the years, but its current owner, Joe Jaeger, faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for violations and costs related to the building. The City imposed over $180,000 in fines to recoup costs of barricades and lost revenue due to closed metered parking spaces and later imposed over $220,000 in fines for 11 guilty violations, which is the second largest fine the department has ever imposed due to a Code Enforcement matter; it is currently in litigation.

“It hasn’t been there for thirty years in its condition just because,” Cantrell said. “It has a lot of money to redevelop.”

Jeager says he has no comment on the mayor’s demolition request. The building must be assessed before a date for demolition can be set.

The City has worked with the Plaza Tower’s owner to try to redevelop the property in the past, but the mayor said at this point it is posing a threat to the public.

“This solicitation is another example of how my administration continues to pick up the cans to do the work necessary to eradicate blight in our city,” Mayor Cantrell said in a statement on Tuesday. “This property has been an eyesore, sitting dormant for two decades, while also posing risks for residents and commuters in the area. My administration is taking bold, aggressive action to demolish vacant buildings while spearheading more enforcement efforts than any other administration. Eradicating blight not only cleans up our city, but it presents more economic opportunities and a better quality of life for our people.”

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