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Mayor Cantrell Joins Fourth-Generation Developers to Break Ground on Affordable Homes Through “Equitable Path Forward” Investment

NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell today joined developer New Orleans Restoration Properties (NORP), Councilmember for District A Joseph Giarrusso, members of the Hollygrove Neighborhood Association, community partners and supporters to break ground on Grove Place apartments in the Hollygrove neighborhood. NORP is a fourth-generation Black-owned development company that will build 32 new affordable rental units on Earhart Boulevard.

“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 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 Irons family, owners and operators of NORP, have been members of the Hollygrove community for generations. The development project will be financed through a public-private partnership with the City of New Orleans, Enterprise Community Partners 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. The Grove Place project also includes the renovation of several historic homes located within the community.

“This project allows us to give back to an area that gave us so much,” said NORP Principal Paul Irons. “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 Community Partners 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 that will assist with finance qualifying.

Backup financing from Enterprise’s Standby Guaranty Facility will enable NORP to complete its first major project as lead developer. NORP intends to reinvest earned developer fees to help grow the company’s operations while creating more affordable housing across New Orleans. Stonehenge Capital, JPMorgan Chase and Finance New Orleans have also provided funding for this affordable housing project. “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 Enterprise Vice President and Gulf Coast Market Leader Michelle Whetten. “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 new Grove Place community will include 16 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom and five three-bedroom apartments reserved for households earning between 20 percent and 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Three one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments will provide supportive housing services to adults with disabilities through the HUD 811 program. The amenities will include a community garden, community room and picnic area.

LHC will provide resident services for these apartments. The Development is expected to be completed by summer 2023. HRI Management, LLC will serve as the property management company.

“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 Louisiana Housing Commission Executive Director Joshua G. Hollins. “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 Finance New Orleans Chief Executive Officer Damon Burns. “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.”

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