Originally constructed as 1,403 public housing units on 41.5 acres, the former C.J. Peete public housing development was considered obsolete long before Hurricane Katrina dealt the final blow. Demolition approval for more than half of the site dates back to 1997; only 723 of the original 1,403 units were standing in 2005. By the time Katrina struck on August 29, 2005, only 146 families were still living in the site. These families were all displaced, many out of state, by the Hurricane Katrina emergency. The buildings remained vacant until they were demolished in the spring of 2008.
The new Harmony Oaks mixed-income community includes 460 rental units: 7 public housing units, 186 public housing-Low Income Housing Tax Credit units, 144 Low Income Housing Tax Credit units, and 123 market-rate rental units. An additional 50 affordable homeownership units were constructed off-site in the immediate vicinity of the site to spur neighborhood revitalization; at least 12 of these are affordable to families earning 60% of the area median income and above. Two on-site historic buildings were rehabilitated. The cornerstone of the new community will be a centrally located Campus of Learners comprised of a new state-of-the-art K-8 school, recreation center with a gymnasium, and a health clinic. The new infrastructure ties into existing street grids, and the new architecture replicates that of the traditional Central City neighborhood. A new park that preserves an old stand of live oak trees is planned at the southern end of the site.
The Harmony Oaks redevelopment is a cornerstone project for the McCormack Baron Salazar and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group partnership. The short film, "Harmony Oaks: A Story of Progress From Many Perspectives," highlights the success of this collaboration.