By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
Shreveport, La.—Cypress Landing, formerly known as University Oaks I and II, has received a “grand reopening” in Shreveport, La. The once-failing property has been the beneficiary of a year-long rehabilitation project that resulted in its rebirth as a modern, energy-efficient housing community affordable to families earning 60 percent or less of Shreveport’s Area Median Income.
The key players in the project were the Housing Authority of the City of Shreveport (HACS) and its private sector partner, The Michaels Organization.
Ensuring a 1970s-era apartment community would look, feel and operate like a modern property was the biggest challenge facing the redevelopment team, reports Russell Maynard, senior vice president of Prestige Building Company, the general contractor in charge of the redevelopment project.
All mechanical systems, the entire electrical system and the plumbing were replaced and upgraded in the interest of energy efficiency. The mansard roofs were removed and replaced with all-new gabled-pitched roof and new siding. Parking lots were repaved, new sidewalks installed, wrought iron steps and fencing repaired and the landscaping given a thorough overhaul.
Updated bathrooms and kitchens as well as new plank flooring were installed in all units, and for the first time laundry rooms were added to each unit. Fourteen units were given renovations that made them ADA accessible.
A total reconfiguration of the property’s community center yielded a gathering space with a fitness room, kitchen, computer lab with Internet access and a property manager’s office. The isolated and antiquated laundry room of the former apartment community was converted into a maintenance storage area.
Twin goals of the renovation were to more seamlessly integrate the property into its surrounding area and to provide more open, green space for residents’ enjoyment. Both objectives were met.
“The Housing Authority of the City of Shreveport is committed to preserving and expanding affordable housing opportunities, and Cypress Landing is now one of our premiere mixed-financed developments,” says Richard Herrington, Jr., HACS’ executive director. “Rehabilitating and preserving this housing was also extremely cost-effective, with the per-unit cost less than half of what it would have been for a newly-constructed development.”
Herrington also praises city and state officials for their strong support of the housing authority’s efforts to improve neighborhoods and enhance the lives of low- and moderate-income Shreveport families.
Michaels Development Company senior vice president Milton Pratt, Sr. adds that the project’s entire scope was completed on time and under budget. Moreover, he says, the construction generated 49 jobs for the Shreveport community.
The $11.4 million renovation’s funding was primarily derived from $9.5 million in private equity raised through the sale of Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. U.S. Bank Invested in the tax credits, syndicated by Prestige Affordable Housing Equity Partners LLC. Remaining funds came from the housing authority and the city.