Dignitaries, development partners, residents and community members celebrated the ribbon cutting of a $3.2 million community and management building at the heart of the $130 million Marrero Commons mixed-income neighborhood.
The official opening of the transformative public-private project was attended by business and community leaders, including Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell, Gregg Fortner, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of New Orleans, Ellen Lee, Director of Housing Policy & Community Development for the City of New Orleans, representatives from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) and partners of Marrero Commons.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “Marrero Commons is a national model for redeveloping urban neighborhoods and the new community and management building perfectly complements this vibrant mixed-income community. Through public-private partnerships like this, we are creating new opportunities for our residents and ensuring forward progress for our community.”
The $3.2 million community and management building is at the heart of the new Marrero Commons neighborhood, a $130 mixed-income community built on the former B.W. Cooper Housing site. The 6,150-square-foot (net) building, open for use by residents, includes a 17-station computer lab, a fitness center, a large community space / gathering room with furniture and televisions, a 3,741-square-foot covered back porch with seating, and a courtyard with pergola with outdoor seating. The building also has six offices, five of which will be used for property management staff and the sixth is reserved for a community and social service liaison.
“The completion of the Marrero Commons Management Building is a significant milestone and major investment in this community,” said HANO Executive Director Gregg Fortner. “The new facility will enhance the management staff’s capability to deliver superior customer service to our residents, and provide administrative and community space necessary to manage ongoing supportive services.”
The 410-apartment Marrero Commons mixed-income community provides homes for families from a broad range of incomes in one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments in townhouses and garden-style buildings. The walkable neighborhood features new sidewalks, secured parking, vernacular architectural styles, play areas and tot-lots, and market-rate interior features and amenities. In addition to the Management Building, the community has a 7,100 square foot day care center and a 5,500 square foot maintenance facility.
Marrero Commons, and the new management building, were made possible by a public-private-community partnership including the Housing Authority of New Orleans, the City of New Orleans, the State of Louisiana, developers McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. and KBK Enterprises, U.S. Bancorp CDC, the Industrial Development Board of New Orleans, Louisiana Office of Community Development, Urban Strategies, Inc., and the BW Cooper/Marrero Commons Resident Management Corporation.
“As the last of the ‘Big Four’ to break ground after Katrina, Marrero Commons helped restore critically needed rental stock,” said Pat Forbes, director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development. “The state remains committed to rebuilding affordable rental housing in New Orleans, investing $50 million in this mixed income community. The newly dedicated management building is a perfect example of rebuilding safer, stronger and smarter than before.”
Homes in the mixed-income community are for families from a broad range of incomes, with 35% set-aside for public housing families, 37% reserved for low-income tax-credit eligible families (workforce), and 28% unrestricted homes with market-rate rents. Public Housing families from B.W. Cooper and in the new Marrero Commons are supported by an infrastructure of supportive services cultivated by Urban Strategies, Inc.
“McCormack Baron Salazar, and our partner, KBK, believe in long-term investments in our communities, starting with great design and high-quality workmanship and a commitment to community inclusion throughout the development process,” said Mike Duffy, Chief Operating Officer of McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. “The supportive services program led by Urban Strategies ensures that the care and attention that went into the design of this beautiful neighborhood and management building is extended to the families of this community for many years after the construction workers have left.”
The architect of the Management Building was Byron J. Steward & Associates, Architects and Planners, APC. Gibbs Construction served as the general contractor. Engineering was provided by Carubba Engineering and MK Engineering and Landscape Design by Guy Grissom Design, LLC. McCormack Baron Management, Inc. will serve as the property manager.