HRI Communities announced it is set to move forward with a major renovation of the River Garden Apartments. The developer has closed on the financing for the $10 million renovation project.
The mixed-income apartment homes were developed in 2003 as the first phase of the St. Thomas HOPE VI Redevelopment Project.
The renovations at 913 Felicity Street will include comprehensive exterior and selective interior improvements, said HRI Communities President Josh Collen in a press release. Landis Construction Co. will oversee the project.
The overall River Garden mixed-use community sits on about 60 acres of land in the Lower Garden District. Embracing New Urbanist concepts, River Garden on Felicity is designed to provide a pedestrian-friendly historic neighborhood atmosphere.
Located on land leased by the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), the property has continuously maintained high occupancy levels, HRI states.
HRI’s plans include renovations to the buildings’ exterior facades — painting all surfaces, making miscellaneous cosmetic repairs, installing all new roofs, performing sitework improvements and replacing aged HVAC condensers — along with various interior repairs. The property includes 296 apartments homes within 111 buildings.
The development team states it is taking steps to avoid significant disruption or relocation of community residents.
HRI Communities was awarded 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits by the Louisiana Housing Corp. to finance the renovation of the property. Additional financial participants include First Horizon Community Investment Group as the tax credit investor, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage as the servicer for a Freddie Mac permanent loan, and the Housing Authority of New Orleans as ground lessor, original lender and operating subsidy provider. The Industrial Development Board of the City of New Orleans partnered on the original financing by structuring a property tax abatement in the form of a payment-in-lieu-of-tax, or PILOT, which will continue for the remainder of the original 35-year term ending in 2038.
“We are thrilled that another large-scale housing revitalization project is moving forward in the City of New Orleans,” said Joshua G. Hollins, Louisiana Housing Corporation Executive Director. “We know that partnerships build communities, and we are proud to once again partner with HRI on a renovation that will ensure this development remains energy efficient, safe, and vibrant for the tenants of this Lower Garden District community.”