$30M Bywater Development Seeks To Bring More Affordable Housing To Area

Posted on Jun 10, 2017

By Andrew Valenti at New Orleans City Business. June 06, 2017

A portion of a mixed-use development set to come online in the next few years could add some affordable housing in one of New Orleans’ more expensive neighborhoods.

Plans filed with the city show that developers want to build a 105-unit, mixed-income apartment complex at 2930 Burgundy St. in the Bywater. The property is bounded by Montegut, Burgundy, Press and Dauphine Streets and is next to developer Sean Cummings’ proposed Via Latrobe, a mixed-use development that would offer 220 apartments, lofts and townhouses, eight studios for master-craftspeople, an art gallery and an urban farm.

The five-story structure on Burgundy Street would have 108 parking spaces, 2,700 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, 5,000 square feet of community space for residents and artist studios. Iris Development managing partner Curtis Doucette, one of the developers behind the project, said the studios were designed in an effort to cater to local artists studying at the nearby New Orleans Center for Creative Arts at 2800 Chartres St.

Doucette estimated the total cost of the project to be between $20 million and $30 million. He said the development team expects to break ground in the fall with a 15-month construction timeframe.

“Bywater is a neighborhood that consists of longtime residents but is also attracting new people,” Doucette said. “It’s really becoming a place where people can live, work and play. That’s something we would love to build on.”

Iris Development is partnering with environmentally-focused Green Coast Enterprises on the project. The financing structure includes loans through the nonprofit Crescent City Community Land Trust and a yet-to-be-chosen bank and equity through private investors.

Doucette said the development team is taking advantage of the so-called density bonus pushed by Council member Latoya Cantrell last year. The incentive allows developers to build larger projects than allowed under the city zoning code if they promise to dedicate some of the units for low-income residents.

Doucette said the team is setting aside 15 percent of the 105 units for affordable housing, which equates to 15 or 16 apartments. Doucette said developers would ask the Industrial Development Board for a property tax break through a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT.

Doucette said rents for the lower-income units would range from $300 to $1,000 per month. Market rate apartments would cost $1,600 for a one-bedroom unit, the low-to-mid $2,000s for two bedrooms and $3,000 for three bedrooms.

Land records show an entity known as Bourgogne Bywater LLC, managed by Iris Development, acquired the land in January 2016. The transaction was recorded for $100, meaning the purchase price was not disclosed. The Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office values the property, which contains a vacant warehouse, at $1.27 million.

The property is currently zoned HM-MU, which calls for mixed-use developments in the Marigny/Treme/Bywater neighborhoods. Rozas Ward Architecture is listed as the design team, and Gibbs Construction is the general contractor.