Iberville to get a facelift, grant or not

Posted on: March 3 2011
Complex will be mixed-income

Thursday, March 03, 2011


By Katy Reckdahl

Staff writer

The Iberville public housing complex will become a mixed-income community, regardless of whether the Housing Authority of New Orleans lands a large federal housing grant to do the construction makeover, HANO administrative receiver David Gilmore said Wednesday in a radio interview.

"Iberville is a go, no matter what," Gilmore told WBOK-AM. The receiver took some heat for not consulting with residents at the complex before deciding to apply for a federal Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant to redevelop the Iberville. The development, the agency's last conventional public housing complex, was built in the early 1940s on what is now prime real estate bordering the French Quarter.

HANO applied for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant jointly with the city of New Orleans last year. The grant, a successor to the department's HOPE VI grants, could pump up to $62 million into a few select demonstration sites, possibly only two.

To prepare the grant application, HANO selected a partnership between two mixed-income developers, HRI Properties and St. Louis developer McCormack Baron Salazar, which have on their own created River Garden and Harmony Oaks in place of St. Thomas and C.J. Peete, respectively.

But unlike the total demolitions that prefaced the redevelopment of previous public housing developments in New Orleans, developers plan to preserve and rehab 24 of the 74 existing buildings at Iberville. The grant also requires that each of the complex's 821 affordable apartments be replaced on the site and in the surrounding area.

About half of the existing apartments are occupied and those residents are guaranteed housing in the revamped Iberville.

More than a year ago, HANO told HUD that the agency intended to apply for a HOPE VI redevelopment grant for Iberville. That might be one of several backup plans: Gilmore said on Wednesday that he believes that the deal can be made with a mix of public and private money, "regardless of whether the Choice Neighborhoods grant comes through."