New Orleans Project Completes Transformation
- Nov 15, 2019
The Iberville Public Housing Development in New Orleans that was flooded following Hurricane Katrina has completed its transformation into a new mixed-use, mixed-income development.
Originally built in 1942, the public housing located at 401 Treme St. was impacted by the devastating Category 5 Hurricane Katrina. While most residents wanted to return to their homes post-Katrina, many did not want to go back to living in public housing and wanted better housing in safer communities, according to a survey commissioned by the Housing Authority of New Orleans in 2008.
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While there was always the desire to renovate the Iberville site, the flooding from the hurricane gave the project the necessary momentum. In 2011, New Orleans was one of five cities to receive a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant to refurbish the Iberville project. The $30.5 million grant was provided to the Housing Authority of New Orleans and the city, who enlisted the help of developers HRI Properties. After 10 years and multiple phases, Iberville was revamped and rebranded into Bienville Basin.
The new apartment community of one-, two- and three-bedroom units offers 227 market-rate apartments, 151 workforce housing units and 304 public housing replacement units that include 51 senior housing specific units. Some of these units also include wrap-around balconies and private porches.
The modern energy-efficient building also includes an abundance of amenities including three fitness centers, a computer learning center, an outdoor technology patio, community rooms, a children’s reading room, a garden with nutritional education programming, two playgrounds, off-street gated parking, and an outdoor dining area with picnic benches, barbecue grills and food truck parking. The entire neighborhood is also wired for fiber optics to provide residents with fast Internet and cable.
Bienville Basin also has ground-floor retail that currently includes a cafe and a yoga studio. The property is also located next to New Orleans’ famous French Quarter and the Canal Street, Rampart Street and St. Charles Avenue street cars.
ADDRESSING THE NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
While the Bienville Basin transformation is now complete, those involved are still working to expand affordable housing in the city. Past the initial grant that kickstarted the project, Bienville Basin also received $20 million in philanthropic funding and donations that would be set aside for resident services and programming.
Looking to continue the momentum of building affordable housing, New Orleans’ Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that there was a ballot proposition that would allow the city to sell $500 million in bonds to secure more funding for affordable housing.
Even HRI has created a new internal division called HRI Communities that is solely dedicated to transforming underserved areas into thriving communities, much like Iberville, according to HRI President & CEO Tom Leonhard.