Joined by partners and dignitaries in St. Louis, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro yesterday announced the award of a $29.5 million Choice Neighborhood Initiative Implementation Grant to the Near North Side Neighborhood in St. Louis and $29.575 million grant to the Russell Neighborhood in Louisville, KY. McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., a housing developer, and Urban Strategies, Inc., a non-profit that works to develop Human Capital, are lead entities in both of the cities.
“Choice Neighborhoods will serve as a catalyst to create critical pathways for Near North Side families, businesses and stakeholders to thrive,” explained Esther Shin, incoming President of Urban Strategies. “I am thrilled this opportunity is coming to my hometown.”
In St. Louis, the lead applicant, the City of Saint Louis, was able to leverage the $29.5 million grant with over $2.6 billion in other public, private and philanthropic support to bring new housing, infrastructure, economic opportunities and supportive services to the neighborhood. At the heart of the plan is the transformation of the subsidized apartment complex, Preservation Square, into an economically integrated community with 695 new and renovated homes, community amenities like a pool and parks, and commercial space along 14th Street. A “People Plan”, developed and implemented by Urban Strategies, will support current low-income residents in the community. The neighborhood will benefit from additional investments, including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s $1.8 billion, 3,000+-employee western headquarters, a new community and recreational center, a $5 million stretch of the Great Rivers Greenway’s 600-mile network of greenways, a $1 million Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grant, the $8 billion NorthSide Regeneration Plan, small business loans, and significant investment in historic housing rehabilitation. The neighborhood is also in a Federally-designated Promise Zone.
“The Choice Neighborhood Initiative is a unique program that holistically addresses myriad challenges in distressed urban communities,” said Vincent Bennett, President of McCormack Baron Salazar. “Its multi-dimensional approach encompasses housing, people and economic development and requires strong partnerships like those we have built with Urban Strategies, cities, housing authorities, schools, residents and other stakeholders.”
In Louisville, McCormack Baron Salazar and Urban Strategies are partners with the Louisville Metro Housing Authority and the City of Louisville to transform the Russell neighborhood. Centered on the Beecher Terrace Public Housing site, the plan will demolish Beecher Terrace and replace it with 640 mixed-income rental and owner-occupied homes in a sustainable, multi-generational community. The neighborhood component of the grant, led by Louisville Forward, the economic development and community-building arm of Louisville Metro Government, will result in an eCommerce Business Incubator, a Media Production Center and a placemaking project on the site of the new, $58M West Louisville FoodPort. In addition, the plan addresses vacant and abandoned properties, home repair needs and the creation of needed pocket parks and community gardens. Urban Strategies will provide case management and human supportive services to Beecher Terrace households. A new school Transformation Model, led by the Principal Education Partner, Jefferson County Public Schools, will improve outcomes for neighborhood elementary children.
Secretary Castro made the announcement, along with the announcement of three other Choice Neighborhood grants, at the Polish Heritage Hall of St. Stanislaus Kostka in the Near North Side neighborhood of Saint Louis. A total of $132 million in grants will be shared between Saint Louis, MO; Louisville, KY; Denver, CO; Camden, NJ, and Boston, MA.