FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2016
Media Contact: Mary Beth Romig
Director of Communications
NEW ORLEANS REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS APPROVES FIVE DEVELOPERS FOR LOWER NINTH WARD
AFFORDABLE HOUSING INITIATIVE
NEW ORLEANS, LA – At the this evening's board meeting, NORA's Board of Commissioners voted to award properties to five developers for the construction of single and two-family affordable homes in the Lower Ninth Ward in response to the Authority's Lower 9th Ward Development Initiative Request for Proposals. These homes will be built on NORA-owned vacant lots within the boundaries of the Industrial Canal, North Galvez Street, Saint Claude Avenue and the St. Bernard Parish Line.
Ten proposals were submitted to NORA, of which these five were approved by the Board of Commissioners, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, Inc.; The St. Bernard Project, Inc.; Perez APC/Harmony Neighborhood Development, Inc.; Jourdan Valley Development LLC; and, Neville Development LLC. Proposals were evaluated based on prior experience, financial models, urban design and sustainability, diversity and capacity building along with the efficacy of each applicants marketing plan and disposition strategy.
Through this initiative, NORA is making land available to these developers, entering into a Purchase and Development Agreement for the properties. The developers will be responsible for securing acquisition and development financing and ensuring that the properties are developed in a suitable and timely manner.
"NORA's mission is to serve as a catalyst for the revitalization of the city, engaging in strategic projects to positively impact neighborhoods across the community," said Jeff Hebert, NORA's Executive Director. "We are excited about the prospects of bringing vacant properties back to life, providing jobs in construction, and making available affordable places to live."
The properties were transferred to NORA through the State of Louisiana's Road Home Program or through strategic acquisitions. NORA selected the 229 vacant properties after an internal planning process and consultation with The Reinvestment Fund, a national firm specializing in urban revitalization policy and research, which analysed market conditions in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood. The study projected demand for an additional 250 housing units in the neighborhood over the next five years.
NORA officials also took into consideration the burgeoning growth in the neighborhood, including the recent opening of the Sanchez Community Center, the soon-to-open CVS Pharmacy and Family Dollar Store, the existing Dr. King Charter School, the new high school, and the continued improvements to the area's infrastructure. NORA is also offering its Commercial Corridor Gap Financing Program to encourage redevelopment along North Claiborne Avenue and St. Claude Avenue in the Lower Ninth Ward.
Once the properties were identified, NORA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) and held an informational meeting with prospective developers and residents from the neighborhood in November 2015.
The proposal from New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, Inc. included a request to acquire 48 vacant lots with a goal to develop 72 housing units. The St. Bernard Project proposed to purchase 36 properties to develop 72 two-family units. The Perez APC and Harmony Neighborhood Development's joint venture plans for the acquisition of 61 properties, ultimately developing 100 housing units. Jourdan Valley Development requested the possible acquisition of 13 vacant properties to construct 13 two-family homes. Neville Development, LLC, included a request to acquire 30 parcels to develop 35 housing units.
"I'm proud of the work we've accomplished in the Lower 9th Ward since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, with the continued cooperation of our staff, the Lower 9th Ward community along with City Hall we will be able to do more great work as time goes on" said Jim Singleton, NORA's Board Chairman.
This Lower Ninth Ward Development Initiative builds off the success of the NORA-led Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP2), which resulted in the creation of 463 affordable housing units in seven targeted neighborhoods across the city, including 54 units in the Lower Ninth Ward, in partnership with a consortium of 15 non-profit and for-profit developers who had the experience and shared NORA's mission to restore housing stock in New Orleans.
"In the past five years NORA has proven that with good partners positive results can happen, and creating this type of opportunity in such a historic and important neighborhood is a win for everyone involved," said Hebert. "We hope to continue to offer similar opportunities and work to create a more resilient and vibrant city."
The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is a catalyst for the revitalization of the city, partnering in strategic developments that celebrate the city's neighborhoods and honor its traditions.