McCormack Baron Salazar neighborhoods receive three Choice Neighborhood Grants

September 28, 2015 | McCormack Baron Salazar

On September 28, 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a new round of Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant awards to five communities across the country. Three of these five $30 million grants are to communities working in partnership with McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. to revitalize distressed and obsolete public housing sites: Memphis, TN, Sacramento, CA and Atlanta, GA.  The other two grants went to Kansas City, MO and Milwaukee, WI.

The Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) is HUD’s signature place-based program that supports locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing.  CNI takes a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation, catalyzing critical improvements in neighborhood assets, including vacant property, housing, services and schools.  In each neighborhood, local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that transforms distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. The implementation grants are intended to catalyze significant local and state resources to create lasting, holistic change in the trajectory of a community.

The Memphis CNI grant will be used to revitalize the South City neighborhood of Memphis and is focused on the redevelopment of the 420-unit Foote Homes public housing site.  In addition to the redevelopment of mixed-income housing, the plan includes investing in needed community assets like a grocery store, an early childhood education center, neighborhood retail and small businesses.  A Human Capital Plan will address the challenges faced by low-income families in the community including education and job training, health care and access to recreational opportunities. Partners on the project include the Memphis Housing Authority, the City of Memphis, Urban Strategies and US Memphis HOPE, Shelby County Schools, the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, the Downtown Memphis Commission, MATA, and others.  Over $450 million is anticipated to be leveraged from local, regional and state sources.

The River District in Sacramento has long been isolated and neglected despite a close proximity to Downtown and several previous planning efforts and localized investment efforts. The community received a FY2011 CNI planning grant and developed a plan to build on the previous efforts and weave together the entire neighborhood, including the Twin Rivers public housing site.  The new plan will reconnect the street grid, replace the 218 public housing units at Twin Rivers with a 487-unit, mixed-income, sustainable community, create a network of open spaces, walking paths, and transit, and provide for a mix of uses.  A Human Capital program, developed by Urban Strategies, Inc., will support Twin Rivers’ families in educational, vocational, and wellness programs.  Partners on the project include Housing Authority of the County of Sacramento, the City of Sacramento, Urban Strategies, Inc., Twin Rivers Unified School District, the River District and other critical partners and service providers.  $300 million is anticipated to be leveraged by the grant from local, regional and state sources.

The University Choice Neighborhood was the recipient of a FY2010 CNI Planning Grant and represents three adjacent neighborhoods in West Atlanta: the Atlanta University Center Consortium, Ashview Heights and Vine City. The heart of the African-American community in Atlanta and the birthplace of the civil rights movement, the neighborhood has suffered from deterioration caused by disinvestment, concentrated poverty, and urban renewal efforts that effectively isolated the community from the surrounding city. Under the CNI plan, the developer, led by the Integral Group, will replace University Homes, an obsolete public housing site, with 446 new homes in a mixed-income community.  The broader neighborhood will benefit from investments in transit, parks, the new Falcon’s football stadium, and streetscapes. In addition, a people plan will create a network of supportive services to improve employment, health and educational outcomes. Partners on the project include the Atlanta Housing Authority, the City of Atlanta, the Integral Group, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Invest Atlanta, Atlanta University Center Consortium, Inc., Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Friendship Baptist LLC, and others. $390 million is anticipated to be leveraged by the grant from local, regional and state sources.

McCormack Baron Salazar has been a part of 5 previous teams that have received CNI Implementation grants, in San Francisco, New Orleans, San Antonio, Columbus and Pittsburgh.  In total, since the inception of the program in 2010, 17 grants have been awarded.

Read more about each of awards here and here.