Developers, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso, members of the Hollygrove Neighborhood Association and other officials broke ground Tuesday (July 20) on the Grove Place affordable housing development.
City officials and the developer touted the planned Grove Place community as providing affordable rents for 32 households in an area with easy access to public transportation to multiple job centers. Grove Place is expected to be move-in ready by summer 2023.
The land has approximately 360 foot of frontage on Earhart Boulevard and takes up the entire square block between Monroe and Leonidas streets, a total of 1.8 acres.
The development includes 23 historic rehabilitated units and nine newly constructed units. Eleven buildings, some vacant since before Hurricane Katrina, will be rehabbed into doubles, triplexes and a community center. The buildings to be restored include a row of Craftsman doubles on Leonidas Street.
The nine newly constructed apartments will be in a building at Earhart Boulevard and Monroe Street, on a lot that held a Church’s Chicken until 2018.
The apartment building was originally designed for 20 units, allowing a total of 43 households in the development. Neighbors, however, objected to its density, saying a three-story 20-unit residential building is inappropriate for a neighborhood dominated by single-family homes and doubles.
Although the larger building was approved by the City Council in June 2021, its massing and density have since been reduced.
Grove Place will offer the 16 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom and five three-bedroom apartments to households earning between 20% and 60% of the area median income, or from about $11,000 to $43,000 annually for a two-person household.
Three of the one-bedroom apartments and eight of the two-bedroom apartments will provide supportive housing services to adults with disabilities through the HUD 811 program.
The planned development includes a community garden, and a shared green space in the center will be accessible from all the residences. Off-street parking will be available in lots on Earhart Boulevard and Colapissa Street.
The developer is New Orleans Restoration Properties, or NORP, a fourth-generation company with roots in the Hollygrove neighborhood.
“This project allows us to give back to an area that gave us so much,” said NORP Principal Paul Irons, who grew up a a block and a half from the development. “The Irons family has called the Hollygrove area home for four generations. My sister and partner, Marseah, and I have fond memories of growing up here, and we are determined to help Hollygrove grow and revitalize.”
The development project will be financed through a public-private partnership with the city, Enterprise Community Partners and the Louisiana Housing Corp.
“The city of New Orleans is committed to providing more affordable, quality housing within the city, which is why we’ve put up $4.8 million to make this latest deal happen,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell during the groundbreaking ceremony. The money will come from general obligations bonds.
Enterprise Community Partners is supporting NORP’s work in historic Hollygrove through Equitable Path Forward, a five-year, $3.5 billion nationwide initiative to invest in developers of color and help dismantle the legacy of racism in housing.
The national affordable housing nonprofit is providing a $6.7 million low-income housing tax credit investment to help finance the property. It is also making $750,000 in backup loans available to strengthen NORP’s balance sheet that will assist with finance qualifying.
Backup financing from Enterprise’s Standby Guaranty Facility will enable NORP to complete its first major project as lead developer. NORP intends to reinvest earned developer fees to help grow the company’s operations while creating more affordable housing across New Orleans.
Stonehenge Capital, JPMorgan Chase and Finance New Orleans have also provided funding for the affordable housing project. “Grove Place would not be possible without all of these partnerships,” Irons said.
LHC will provide resident services for these apartments. HRI Management LLC will serve as the property management company.
“At a time when the need for affordable housing has never been greater, LHC is proud to partner on this critical project in the heart of New Orleans,” said Louisiana Housing Commission Executive Director Joshua G. Hollins in a press release. “This unique and historic community will serve generations to come and bolster the economic engine in this region. We look forward to watching this project come to fruition.”