New Orleans–A parcel that had sat vacant in New Orleans for the last four decades is vacant no more. The former St. Aloysius High School site, which borders four of the city’s most historic neighborhoods, is now home to the 49-unit Aloysius Apartments, a new $16.8 million mixed-income multifamily community developed by HRI Properties.
Carrying the address of 1137 Esplanade Ave., Aloysius edges the French Quarter, Treme, Esplanade Ridge and Faubourg Marigny neighborhoods. HRI, along with Woodward Design+Build and HCI Architecture, took pains to ensure that the architecture of the new apartment community melds with the architecture of the neighborhood, particularly that of the adjacent French Quarter. The property opened in early February and encompasses 21 workforce residences and 28 market-rate units in two four-story buildings linked by a courtyard and a one-story structure. Aloysius also features 1,400 square feet of ground level commercial space.
The development of mixed-income apartment communities in New Orleans is growing more popular. “First, there is a tremendous need for workforce housing in post-Katrina New Orleans,” Tom Long, spokesman for HRI, tells MHN. “Second, financing for multifamily projects is almost impossible to get unless you are able to tap into public resources for affordable housing.” Albeit not as strong, demand for quality market-rate apartments certainly exists. “Good properties rent. And the location of Aloysius is without compare.”
HRI was able to cull financing for the development of Aloysius from a variety of sources. The City of New Orleans and the Louisiana Office of Community Development provided Community Development Block Grant funds, and the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency paved the way for Low Income Housing Tax Credits placed by Hudson Housing Capital. Additionally, Capital One Bank N.A. supplied construction and permanent debt financing.
The land that had been home to St. Aloysius High School from 1892 to 1969 was slated to sprout a bevy of other projects over the years, but they never came to pass. “Nobody had the expertise to put together the complex public-private finance packages to get the projects off the ground,” Long says.