NEW ORLEANS - U. S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan grabbed a ceremonial shovel today for the second time in two months - celebrating another groundbreaking and redevelopment of a Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) public housing site.
Donovan joined Senator Mary Landrieu, Mayor Ray Nagin, other city leaders, public housing officials and resident leaders to mark the start of construction on the $142 million first phase of the B.W. Cooper Community - almost two months after joining many of the same officials at the groundbreaking of the Lafitte Community. B.W. Cooper is the last of New Orleans' "Big Four" public housing communities to start construction.
"This is a great day for New Orleans, the housing authority, and most of all, the families of B.W. Cooper," said HUD Secretary Donovan, who was in New Orleans with President Barack Obama. "This is the beginning of promise and hope for future generations that will live in a new community. The rebirth of B.W. Cooper is a clear sign that New Orleans is moving from recovery to revitalization."
In conjunction with HANO, KBK Enterprises of Columbus, Ohio, and the B.W. Cooper Resident Management Corp. are developing the site.
The first phase will include 410 rental housing units, a management office with a business center, and a day-care. The rental units will include 294 affordable rentals and 116 market-rate rentals. Apartments will include new appliances and updated décor throughout. The first units could be available for occupancy in the spring 2010; construction of the entire site may be completed by spring 2011.
Rental units will be pre-wired for Internet and cable television, and will meet current wiring standards for telephone service. A total of 42 units will be handicapped accessible and meet the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards.
When completed, B.W. Cooper will include 740 units of mixed-income housing - including 660 units of mixed-income rental housing onsite and 80 off-site homeownership units located throughout the adjacent neighborhood.
"This is huge step forward and one of the final pieces in the overall plan to update, upgrade and improve public housing communities in New Orleans," said Wayne Woods, HANO General Counsel. "This is another great example of how HANO worked with our residents, city leaders and developers to move this city forward."
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.