New Affordable Housing, Healthcare Development Coming to Central City

NEW ORLEANS — Gulf Coast Housing Partnership and Alembic Community Development representatives joined New Orleans city officials and community partners at a March 16 groundbreaking celebration for an $80 million new-construction affordable housing and healthcare development planned for Central City.  

The project is dubbed “H3C,” which the developers say is a reference to their belief in “culture, commerce and community.”

The 210,000-square-foot-project will be located on the site of the former Brown’s Dairy processing plant parking lot, between Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard and Baronne Street. Impetus Construction is the builder. CCWIVArchitecture created the design.

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The project, due to be complete in the summer of 2003, checks an important box for GCHP president and CEO Kathy Laborde, who says her organization has invested $114 million in the neighborhood since 2007.

“Through the addition of affordable housing and commercial revitalization on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, we have added jobs, reduced blight and encouraged other investors to join us,” she said in a press release. “The missing piece has been affordable, accessible healthcare and we are excited to be able to stand here today with our partners and announce our continued commitment to the neighborhood with this investment.”

H3C plans call for 192 one-, two- and three-bedroom rental homes constructed to national green building standards. Nearly half of the apartments will be reserved for seniors 55 years of age or older with design elements that support “aging in place” and promote mobility among residents. The developers say H3C will be the first building in Louisiana certified by Fitwel, a rating system created by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention to guide building design and operations to improve the health of building occupants. 

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“The City of New Orleans is excited to partner with GCHP and Alembic to revitalize the former Brown’s Diary site, which will help transform this community and bring 192 new affordable housing units and medical facilities to Central City,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Our investment of $5.4 million leveraged through state and federal dollars will generate a huge economic impact for New Orleans and provide contracting opportunities for local businesses that meet the City’s DBE requirements. This is a win-win for our city!”

Alembic is a New York-based community real estate development firm founded by Benjamin Warnke in the 1990s. Jonathan Leit is the director of the New Orleans office, which was established in 2007.

H3C plans also include 12,600 square feet of commercial and community space anchored by a health center operated by DePaul Community Health Centers. The organization’s services include primary and preventive health care for children and adults, women’s health, dental, optometry, behavioral health, podiatry, onsite laboratories and pharmacies.

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“Our organization prides itself on being easily accessible to the community. Many of our patients are challenged by social determinants of health, which include issues that supersede their access to health care like a lack of transportation, employment, housing and food insecurities,” said Dr. Michael Griffin, DCHC president and CEO. “H3C gives us yet another opportunity to conveniently treat and reach out to patients on a consistent basis to provide them with high-quality, compassionate care, regardless of their ability to pay.”

H3C will also include a community center operated by Belle Reve (a nonprofit organization formerly known Shelter Resources), which started as an adult residential care facility for people with disabilities and has expanded its mission “to provide affordable housing to seniors that is consistent with the principles of diversity, respect, and dignity.”

The project is financed by Advantage Capital, AMCREF Community Capital, Belle Reve, Finance New Orleans, Home Bank, Housing Authority of New Orleans, Louisiana Housing Corporation, Louisiana Office of Community Development, New Orleans Office of Community Development, R4 Capital Funding, Regional Community Finance and US Bank.

The development is also supported by Aetna, the insurder purchased in 2018 by CVS, as part of a commitment to invest $25 million through R4 Capital to build affordable housing for families and seniors in Louisiana.

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