Jan 222014

Buildings along a 10-block stretch of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard are now eligible for grants of up to $50,000 to help with the costs of historic renovations, as part of a $1 million “Main Street”-style program across New Orleans announced by Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Tuesday.

O.C. Haley Boulevard is one of four sites across the city targeted in the program — the others are on Bayou Road and two parts of St. Claude Avenue. For more details, see the full news release below or watch the video of the news conference above:

Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) announced the launch of NORA’s Façade RENEW Program, a grant program designed to incentivize commercial property and small business owners to revitalize storefronts and building façades in four targeted areas of the city.

The program will make a total of $1 million in one-time, matching grants available to commercial property and business owners to upgrade and preserve historic integrity of their buildings. Façade RENEW will initially target the following areas:

  • Bayou Road between North Broad Street and Esplanade Avenue
  • Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard between Calliope Street and Jackson Avenue
  • St. Claude Avenue between Mandeville Street and Franklin Avenue
  • St. Claude Avenue between Congress Street and Poland Avenue

“For nearly four years, eliminating blight and revitalizing of our commercial corridors have been top priorities in my administration,” Mayor Landrieu said. “We’ve exceeded our 2014 goal of reducing the blight in New Orleans by 10,000 units and we’re doubling down in our efforts to bring more properties into compliance and restore the vitality of our neighborhoods.”

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, commercial property and small business owners must ensure that their property taxes are current, that they owe no debts or arrears 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.

The program also will provide technical design assistance to all approved applicants for their storefront improvement projects.

“NORA is committed to commercial redevelopment efforts as part of the overall effort to revitalize the City of New Orleans,” said Jeff Hebert, NORA’s Executive Director. “This program gives 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 $8.6 million and leveraged $74.6 million in the revitalization of about 300,000 square feet of commercial real estate on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, Broad Street and at the former Gentilly Woods mall. In addition, NORA has seen remarkable success with the Lot Next Door program. More than 811 Road Home properties were sold through the Lot Next Door Program (under both the 2008 ordinance and the 2013 revised City ordinance) since October 2010.

Created in partnership with Tulane City Center and the existing Louisiana Main Streets organizations operating in the City of New Orleans, the Façade RENEW program is funded by the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development. Partnering with NORA on the program are Tulane City Center, O.C. Haley Blvd. Merchant and Business Association, St Claude Main Street, Broad Community Connections, and the Joan Mitchell Center.

“Recovery and resilience are about communities, and communities need vibrant commercial areas to prosper,” said Pat Forbes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development. “This program eliminates blight and enhances the economic viability of these areas, both of which foster a resilient recovery for the community.”

NORA will host three Façade RENEW grant workshops for commercial property owners operating along the eligible program corridors. The schedule is as follows:

Bayou Road
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Indigo Building at The Joan Mitchell Center
2285 Bayou Road
New Orleans, LA 70119

St. Claude Avenue
Thursday, January 30, 2014
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Café Instanbul, Healing Center
2372 St. Claude Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70117

Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
New Orleans Redevelopment Authority office
1409 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard
New Orleans, LA 70113

For more information about the Façade RENEW program or to check program eligibility, please contact Melissa Lee, Senior Advisor Commercial Revitalization mslee@nola.gov or visit www.noraworks.org.

  One Response to “City designates O.C. Haley Boulevard in $1 million renovation-grant program”

  1. What a load of crap. First off, NORA didn’t do that lot next door program nor did they do any of the auctions. That was some other organization with the state. How do I know? Because I bought one of those properties and those idiots at NORA couldn’t find their ass with both hands. Why this schlub Hebert is taking credit still baffles me. As it is, NORA still has THOUSANDS of blighted properties that it’s hiding under the cover of spending all this grant money. The city can tout some agency as a huge success but the only thing those jackasses have done is sell off city properties that were blighted before Katrina, and spend grant money like it’s going out of style. I’d like to see some hard numbers from the administration on where all that NORA funding gets off to.

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