Always the Audacious

Downtown Vision

Tulane’s downtown campus, home to the city’s burgeoning biomedical corridor, is primed for a major expansion — and a re-envisioning of New Orleans’ economic future. Tulane’s revitalization of its downtown campus will bring transformative opportunities to New Orleans through scientific discovery and by keeping the vast economic impacts of these discoveries here at home.

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The future of Tulane and the future of New Orleans are inextricably linked. Tulane’s success stems from its location in one of the world’s most beloved cities. However, as much as we love New Orleans, we all know that it is a city with challenges, a place that loses too many talented people to cities with better-paying jobs, a city that is too dependent on tourism, where the rate of poverty is too high. Tulane is committed to helping New Orleans overcome these, and any other challenges: the university is currently investing $1 billion in construction and renovation in New Orleans — much of it downtown. When it comes to the success of New Orleans, we are all in. For Tulane’s future, we have to be.

The downtown campus, located in the heart of New Orleans’ BioDistrict, offers an opportunity to elevate Tulane’s national standing as a research and innovation powerhouse. The “city that care forgot” can become as well-known for advancing innovation and life-saving research as it is for music, food and Mardi Gras.

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The flagship of Tulane’s Downtown Vision will be a renovated Charity Hospital. This New Orleans icon is symbolic of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, and it is only coming back to life because Tulane is providing the needed financial capital. A refurbished Charity will house state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and the Tulane Innovation Institute. The Tulane Innovation Institute, which will bring science to market, will support community startups and further a campus-wide entrepreneurial culture. Other new amenities in the downtown district will include housing and restaurants, shops and other businesses.

Similar investments in other cities have been transformational. Take the examples of Nashville, Pittsburgh, Raleigh and Austin — all cities where the landscape was changed by the location of a major research university downtown. That is destined to be the story of New Orleans and Tulane.

“By nurturing these ventures in the Tulane ecosystem and providing comprehensive support, we’ll be able to foster the entrepreneurial success of underrepresented founders. These funds create new opportunities for the broader community.”

– Kimberly Gramm, David and Marion Mussafer Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer


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Tulane’s downtown vision has the potential to enhance New Orleans, leading to a healthier, safer and more prosperous city. Tulanians understand how closely the success of Tulane is tied with the success of the city. We are proposing establishing an investment fund to support Tulane’s downtown vision, and encouraging Tulane’s most ardent supporters to contribute lead gifts that will demonstrate the confidence for what the university endeavors to achieve. Once we have proven the support of Tulane’s most generous donors, we would announce the fund as a challenge to the entire Tulane family. These early donors would have a choice of attractive naming options as the downtown plans are finalized and will be listed at the top of a prominent and visible donor wall in the newly renovated Charity space.

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Tulane already occupies a sizeable footprint downtown, but the flagship of Tulane’s downtown vision will be a renovated Charity Hospital. With Tulane as the lead tenant, a refurbished Charity plans to house state-of-the art labs, classrooms and the Tulane Innovation Institute. The building will be the face of Tulane downtown, and from its location at 1532 Tulane Avenue, at the start of downtown, it will be an entrance to a brighter New Orleans. Renovations are currently underway, which will offer numerous options for naming opportunities.

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The newly launched Tulane Innovation Institute will help innovators — whether they are students, faculty or community members — further develop their ideas, launch startups and attract the industry, investment and talent that will fuel innovation in the Gulf South and strengthen the area’s economy. Tulane’s multidisciplinary focus already creates a supportive environment, but there is a “valley of death” in funding commercial applications. By leveraging our network, our gap fund/accelerator initiative aims to move innovations into proof-of-concept and pre-seed investment phases. Similar funds at peer institutions have attracted outside capital at an average rate of 20:1, driven an increase in federal research funding and established a workforce pipeline. It’s time that Tulane supports the innovations of our brilliant students, faculty and staff by helping to expedite their potential to impact the community and the world.

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