Housing Authority of New Orleans Seeks Affordable Housing Developers

The Housing Authority of New Orleans’ (HANO) first attempt to scale down its small housing asset portfolio has proven successful, receiving bids on 95 of the 115 properties put up for sale in October

Mazant Royal site

The Housing Authority of New Orleans’ (HANO) first attempt to scale down its small-housing asset portfolio has proven successful, with bids on 95 of the 115 properties put up for sale in October, reports The Times-Picayune. The majority of the properties HANO is trying to unload are located in the Katrina-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward. The housing agency, lacking the resources to redevelop these properties, has been looking for private companies and nonprofits to put the properties and sites back into use. The small-housing assets, known as “scattered sites,” are defined as being housing developments with less than 15 units.

According to the agency’s news release, some sites were offered individually, others in clusters. The housing authority accepted affordable housing as well as market-rate bids, with the former having precedence.  The affordability threshold was defined as 80 percent of or lower than the area median income (AMI). “These properties have not been in use for many years, and our hope is to put them back into commerce while encouraging the development of affordable housing,” explained HANO’s efforts Administrative Receiver, David Gilmore, in the news release, adding that reducing blight and creating healthy neighborhoods also increases the city’s sales and property tax base.

4200 Royal St.

HANO, in partnership with non-profit subsidiary Crescent Affordable Housing Corp., has also put on the market a 1.8-acre site in the Ninth Ward Bywater area. Bounded by Royal, France, Chartres and Mazant streets, the Mazant Royal site is 75 percent vacant, with two two-story residential buildings on site, and is offered as a package deal with an adjacent 0.14-acre site with the address of 4200 Royal St. and housing a six-unit residential building. Buildings on both sites will be demolished prior to handover. Buyers must propose a mixed-income residential development offering affordable, moderate- and market-rate apartments, with a minimum of 20 percent of the units targeting renters with incomes that are 80 percent of the AMI or lower. The affordability requirement will remain in effect for 30 years after the date of initial occupancy. Further project requirements include financially feasible development, high-quality sustainable design, community support and a commitment to hire local disadvantaged individuals and businesses.

HANO originally owned 1,381 scattered property sites, developed mostly in the 1960s and 1970s in an effort to integrate low-income, public-housing-assistance recipient families into neighborhoods throughout New Orleans. HANO now operates 85 scattered sites. An additional 44 properties could go on the market pending approval by the Special Application Center.

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