McCormack Baron Salazar and Urban Strategies part of teams that receive two $30 million grants to revitalize urban communities

June 30, 2014 | McCormack Baron Salazar

Saint Louis - Today, federal officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) joined the mayors of Columbus and Pittsburgh to announce the awards of a $29,750,000 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation (CNI) grants to the Near East Side neighborhood in Columbus and a $30,000,000 CNI grant to the Larimer/East Liberty neighborhood in Pittsburgh.  Both CNI teams include St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar as housing developer and Urban Strategies as the human capital development partner. 

The fiercely competitive grant, which had 44 national applications, provides funding to transform neighborhoods of extreme poverty into stable, desirable communities by revitalizing distressed housing, improving economic and educational opportunities and leveraging investments in critical community services. 

“The grants will be combined with other public and private investments to leverage over $300 million in investment in each of these two neighborhoods – that type of investment creates real, lasting transformation,” said Vince Bennett, Chief Operating Officer of McCormack Baron Salazar.  “This kind of leverage required collaboration on the part of the neighborhood residents, community service providers, other developers, the city, the school districts, the state and the State Housing Finance Agencies.  These are truly comprehensive efforts and I’m proud of our teams for being able to bring everyone to the table.”

Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority is leading the Ohio effort with the additional community partners PACT and The Ohio State University.  The Housing Authority of Pittsburgh is leading in PIttsburgh with additional community partners KEEL and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.  Both cities’ school districts are partners and both State Housing Finance Agencies modified their policies to meet a HUD requirement for the grant.

“What is different about the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is that it addresses the multifaceted needs of these communities,” explained Sandra Moore, President of Urban Strategies.  “Historically, revitalization efforts have worked in silos, trying to address housing, jobs, education, crime and safety, and human capital development independently.  These two Choice plans take a holistic approach to community transformation and will result in safe, stable, attractive neighborhoods for people from all walks of life.”

The grants were two of four 2013 Choice Implementation Grants given out nationwide, with the other going to teams in Philadelphia and Norwalk, CT.   Of the twelve teams that have been awarded grants in the history of the program, McCormack Baron Salazar and Urban Strategies’ teams are on five.