The original Highland Park public housing development was constructed in three phases in the early 1940’s and early 1950’s on a 30+acre site. There were a total of 307 units ranging from 1- to 5-bedrooms within the 89 dwelling buildings. By the mid-1990’s poor building materials and deferred maintenance had resulted in housing units that were in fair to poor condition. The site was surrounded with modest single family residences ranging in condition from excellent to poor, with some boarded up.
With McCormack Baron Salazar’s assistance in preparing the appropriate applications, Little Rock Housing Authority received approval from HUD to demolish the original public housing complex in August 1995, and award of $14.12 million in Development funds was received in September of the same year. A new privately owned and privately managed development was proposed which would include a component of units for public housing eligible families, as well as Low Income Housing Tax Credit units, and market rate units, much like developments funded under HOPE VI.
The master plan called for on-site replacement with a mixed income, mixed finance community of approximately 250 rental units and 25 for sale homes, a leasing/management building that includes on-site maintenance space, a community room with fireplace and a workout room, and an outdoor pool and tot lots.
Undergrounding of the open storm ditch was completed prior to the construction of Phase I, using $1.35 million of HUD Development funds. Steep sections of the site on which it would be expensive to build were set aside in the master plan as green space and parkland.
Phases I and II experience occupancy rates in the high 90%’s. A future third phase of rental or for sale housing will complete the build-out of this 34-acre site.