The Times-Pic reports that Commander Palace's Ti Martin is spearheading a bid to purchase the shuttered Louisiana Artworks Building in the Warehouse District in hopes of turning it into a New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute (or NOCHI, pronounced like gnocchi). The plans were revealed yesterday at a press conference, with chefs Donald Link and Tory McPhail in attendance, as well as John Besh who spoke in favor of the project. The proposed NOCHI bid is actually a partnership between the Brennan's family (Commander's and Dickie Brennan's branches), Delgado Community College, the University of New Orleans and Tulane University. While the bid still needs to be approved by a board empaneled by the New Orleans Arts Council (there is only one other bid approaching today's deadline), here are all the facts we have right now on the possible new culinary and hospitality institute:
· The institute would house the Delgado Culinary Center of Excellence, UNO's Master's in Hospitality Degree, Tulane Hospitality and Entrepreneurship, NOCHI Culinary and Hospitality School
· There are also plans for a food incubator
· Financing would come from a $6.2 million, pre-approved loan through First NBC Bank, $9 million in state bonds allocated to Delgado Community College, and $3.7 million in state historical credits
· About a third of the loan is guaranteed by the Goldring Family Foundation and the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation
· Projected opening in 2016
· Of the project, John Besh says, "The timing of this is crucial for New Orleans to be an incubator of talent."
· The building is 93,000 square feet, and Delgado's program could occupy a third of the building, with enrollment growing to 600 culinary students.
The ArtWorks board of directors are expected to select a new owner in early 2014 the only one other bid is by Launch Pad, with the intention of retaining the Artwork's original vision. In case you have no idea what the Louisiana ArtWorks is...it's basically an epic art fail, or as The TP's David Lee Simmons sums it up: "Louisiana ArtWorks was a $25 million, custom-designed arts- and crafts-making facility with glass-blowing, metal-casting, ceramic and printmaking studios as well as retail and event space" that was funded by city/state money, was used a tad in 2008/2009, and then closed without ever being finished.
· Louisiana ArtWorks envisioned as culinary hub by consortium [NOLA.com]
· All Louisiana Artworks Coverage [Curbed NOLA]
· All Coming Attractions [-ENOLA-]