NEW ORLEANS (July 19, 2022) – Today, joined by Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Councilman Joseph Giarrusso, the Hollygrove Neighborhood Association and many partners and supporters, New Orleans Restoration Properties (NORP), a fourth-generation Black-owned development company, broke ground on Grove Place, 32 affordable rental apartments that will span a highly visible, full city block on Earhart Blvd. in Hollygrove. The currently underutilized property (vacant since Katrina) formerly housed a Church’s Fried Chicken and still retains several historic homes that will be renovated as part of the project.
The Irons family, the owners and operators of NORP, have called the Hollygrove neighborhood home for generations. With financing from Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise), the City of New Orleans and the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC), NORP will create and preserve critically needed affordable housing in Hollygrove and bring investment to a community that has historically seen minimal funding for new development.
“This project allows us to give back to an area that gave us so much,” said Paul Irons, principal, New Orleans Restoration Properties. “The Irons family has called the Hollygrove area home for four generations. My sister and partner, Marseah, and I have fond memories of growing up here and we are determined to help Hollygrove grow and revitalize.”
Enterprise is supporting NORP’s work to preserve affordability in this historic neighborhood through Equitable Path Forward, a five-year, $3.5 billion nationwide initiative to invest in developers of color and help dismantle the legacy of racism in housing. The national affordable housing nonprofit is providing a $6.7 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit investment to help finance the property and making available up to $750,000 in backup loans to strengthen NORP’s balance sheet and help it qualify for financing.
The backup financing comes through Enterprise’s Standby Guaranty Facility, which enables NORP to complete its first major development as lead developer, earning developer fees that will be reinvested in the business to help NORP grow its operations and create more affordable housing across New Orleans.
Additional funding for the project comes from Stonehenge Capital, JPMorgan Chase and Finance New Orleans. “Grove Place would not be possible without all of these partnerships,” said Irons.
“Paul Irons and Marseah Delatte are leading a family business that has worked in New Orleans real estate for generations—but traditional underwriting standards often fail to recognize the expertise and experience they bring to the table,” said Michelle Whetten, vice president and Gulf Coast market leader, Enterprise. “Through Equitable Path Forward, we can lift up neighborhood anchors like NORP and create affordable homes that respond directly to community needs at the same time.”
“The City of New Orleans is committed to providing more affordable, quality housing within the city, which is why we’ve put up $4.8 million to make this latest deal happen,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “I want to thank all of our partners for making this a possibility, and for not wavering in their commitment to this community. I know the Irons family is a legacy in this neighborhood, and I recognize the strength and the power of legacy here.”
The new Grove Place community will include 16 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom and five three-bedroom apartments, and the homes will be reserved for households earning between 20% and 60% of the area median income. Three one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments will provide supportive housing services to adults with disabilities through the HUD 811 program. LHC will provide resident services for these apartments.
“At a time when the need for affordable housing has never been greater, LHC is proud to partner on this critical project in the heart of New Orleans,” said Joshua G. Hollins, executive director of the Louisiana Housing Corporation. “This unique and historic community will serve generations to come, and bolster the economic engine in this region. We look forward to watching this project come to fruition.”
“Finance New Orleans is pleased to support New Orleans Restoration Properties’ Grove Place project. NORP’s commitment to bringing affordable housing to New Orleans inspired FNO to invest public capital into the project,” said Damon Burns, chief executive officer of Finance New Orleans. “This project is an example of the development our City needs to reach its full potential. We feel NORP is a community focused company that will play a role in the physical transformation of New Orleans.”
Grove Place is within walking distance of a pharmacy and grocery store and across the street from a bus stop, giving residents easy access to other parts of the city. Grove Place’s amenities include a community garden, community room and picnic area. HCI Architecture is the architect and CDW Services, a minority-run firm, will construct the community. Development is expected to be completed by summer 2023. HRI Management, LLC will serve as the property management company.
About New Orleans Restoration Properties (NORP)
New Orleans Restoration Properties (NORP), is a fourth generation full service real estate development company that specializes in the restoration of historic properties. NORP was founded by the great grandchildren of an original developer of the Hollygrove area, one of New Orleans oldest neighborhoods. NORP’s mission is to contribute to the revitalization of historic neighborhoods by building and restoring high quality properties and redeveloping neighborhoods through purchasing and renting groups of formerly blighted or underutilized properties and vacant land. Together with community partners, we strategically target neighborhoods where our investments can improve the quality of life for the residents, small businesses and entire neighborhood. For more information, go to: nolarp.com.
About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise is a national nonprofit that exists to make a good home possible for the millions of families without one. We support community development organizations on the ground, aggregate and invest capital for impact, advance housing policy at every level of government, and build and manage communities ourselves. Since 1982, we have invested $54 billion and created 873,000 homes across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – all to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging. Join us at enterprisecommunity.org.
About the Louisiana Housing Corporation
The purpose of the LHC is to substantially increase the availability of affordable, accessible, and safe residential housing in Louisiana. The LHC was created in 2011 when the Louisiana Legislature merged the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency with housing programs from other state agencies to streamline how the state would address its housing needs, avoid duplication of efforts, and improve service to the general public. The LHC administers federal and state funds through programs designed to advance the development of energy-efficient and affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families, drives housing policy for Louisiana, and oversees the state’s Disaster Housing Task Force.
Jordan Miller, Group Gordon