Free HIV testing center plans to open in former Garden District day spa
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, or AHF, plans to open a Out of the Closet HIV testing centre, healthcare centre, pharmacy and thrift store on Magazine Street.
The Los Angeles-based foundation purchased the building at Magazine Street and Sixth Street, the former location of Belladonna Day Spa. The health center is tentatively expected to open in August, an AHF spokesperson said.
AHF is the world’s largest provider of medical care for HIV/AIDS, according to the foundation’s website. It operates in 45 countries and its US medical centers are in 17 states, including Louisiana, with a clinic in Baton Rouge.
The foundation plans to use both floors of the 19th-century two-story building at 2900 Magazine St. The first floor will be used as a thrift store and likely a donation center; the upper floor will be used for AIDS and STD screening and a medical clinic. It is not known which floor will house the pharmacy.
The 9,467 square feet The property, listed at $3.25 million, was purchased by AHF in early June.
The property is in a HU-B1 historic urban district business district with three overlays. Sections 18 and 22 of the city’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance may be tested as many zoning issues are at stake, including the lack of parking in an already crowded commercial and residential area.
A spokesperson for the AHF communications team said they are aware that zoning in New Orleans may be different than other cities.
The Garden District Association could not be reached for comment, and other nearby neighborhood associations said they had no knowledge of the incoming health care facility.
A recent property advert describes the property as being ssurrounded by small local businesses such as the exclusive children’s boutique Pippen Lane, home decor boutiques such as Perche and Nadeau and high-end retailers such as West Elm. Nearby businesses include French Truck Coffee, Sake Café, Craft Beer Cellar, Joey K’s, Garden District Market Place, and many other restaurants and antique stores.
The historic building originally housed several neighborhood furniture stores. He has long run Belladonna Day Spa, a luxury boutique and beauty retreat.
Belladonna was one of many businesses in the main property corridor to close during the early Covid-19 restrictions. After Belladonna announced its closure in June 2020, it operated under a rented shared space model called Magazine Wellness.