FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2016
Mary Beth Romig, Director of Communications
NORA Expands Commercial Revitalization Programs on Chef Menteur Hwy and Old Gentilly Rd
NEW ORLEANS, LA –The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and Councilmember Jared Brossett held a community meeting at the Joseph N. Bartholomew Golf Course Club House on Monday, March 14, 2016 to discuss the application process for NORA's Commercial Corridor Gap Financing Loan Program for catalytic economic development projects on Chef Menteur Highway and its Façade RENEW Matching Grant Program for storefront improvement projects along Old Gentilly Road.
"I'm excited that NORA is expanding their commercial efforts to the Gentilly area of my district," said Councilmember Brossett. "The success of the Bayou Road projects is evidence of how NORA not only assists small, locally-owned businesses with the financing necessary to aesthetically enhance their retail storefronts but also their role in helping to eliminate economic blight and bring value to the community."
NORA's Commercial Gap Financing Program will provide supplemental funding for rehabilitation and new construction projects in order to revitalize targeted, underinvested commercial corridors in the City of New Orleans. In Gentilly, the program area includes Gentilly Blvd/Chef Menteur Hwy from Eastern Street to France Road and along Old Gentilly Road from Chef Menteur Hwy to France Road.
In total, $500,000 Commercial Gap Financing funds are available for qualified commercial developments. Experienced, capable development teams with site control for a project in the target corridor are eligible. Potential developers must also secure 85% of funding prior to applying.
Additionally, NORA's Facade RENEW program, available now along Old Gentilly Rd between Peoples Avenue to Iroquois Street, is designed to incentivize commercial property and small business owners to revitalize storefronts and building façades. Commercial property and small business owners may be eligible for up to $37,500 in improvement grants from NORA and free technical design assistance for storefront improvement projects.
The Façade RENEW program will reimburse 75% of the total project costs, up to $50,000 per commercial property, for storefront improvements such as brick re-painting, removal of vinyl or aluminum siding, renovation of covered entrances, sign replacement, new exterior lighting, masonry cleaning, installation of new open grid, roll-down security gates and other basic cosmetic work.
To be eligible for Façade RENEW, commercial property and small business owners must ensure that their property taxes are current, that they owe no debts to the City of New Orleans and are in compliance with City and NORA rules and regulations. Property owners must also agree to maintain all improvements for a minimum of five years.
"NORA is committed to commercial redevelopment efforts in Gentilly as part of the overall effort to revitalize the City of New Orleans," said Jeff Hebert, NORA's Executive Director. "These programs give property and business owners an opportunity to make much needed improvements on critical corridors in this city."
In an effort to promote commercial redevelopment, NORA has invested more than $10.1 million and leveraged $100.8 million in the revitalization of about 386,000 square feet of commercial real estate on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, Broad Street and St. Claude Avenue. Additionally, NORA led the transformation of the formerly blighted Gentilly Woods Shopping Center into the current Walmart Store.
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.