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NEW ORLEANS-New Orleans City Council has approved a $300-million redevelopment of the historic Treme neighborhood. The door is now open for the demolition of the 894-unit Lafitte public housing project and replacing it with 1,500 apartments and single-family homes.

Providence Community Housing, a local nonprofit developer founded by a coalition of faith-based groups in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and Enterprise Community Partners, a private company from Columbia, MD that provides capital and resources for community development, are heading up the redevelopment. Construction is expected to begin in the spring.

According to Providence program manager Andreanecia M. Morris, the $300-million redevelopment plan entails razing the Lafitte complex, a 60-year-old barracks-style apartment compound that has sat vacant since the hurricane and flood, and replacing it with 900 new low-rise rental units designed to blend with nearby homes dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Streets that were vacated for the original project will be rebuilt to provide better integration with the surrounding neighborhood.

The Housing Authority of New Orleans has agreed to renovate about 100 existing units for temporary occupancy by some former residents. The renovated portion will be demolished once new units are complete. The portion of the 27-acre site holding the renovated units will be reserved for construction of 500 additional “for-sale” residences.

Even before demolition begins, Morris says work will begin on various parcels in the surrounding neighborhood. Some parcels will be used for new housing; others have existing homes that will be renovated. The hundred or so homes resulting from this stage also will be offered for sale.

“We want this to be a mixed-income neighborhood,” Morris tells GlobeSt.com. “The apartments will be subsidized for people earning different percentages of the area median income. The home-ownership units will be offered under a mix of market-rate, first-time-buyer and buyer-assistance programs.”

Morris says Providence and Enterprise have most of the financing lined up and will leverage their resources to borrow the remaining amount. HUD has committed $45 million, the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development has awarded $27 million to the development team from its Community Development Block Grant and the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency is providing $12.8 million of Gulf Opportunity Zone Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The tax credits are renewable for 10 years for a total of $122 million.

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