Developers: McCormack Baron Salazar, Landwide Development, Harmony Neighborhood Development, and Housing Authority of New Orleans
Architect: KAI Design+Build
Major Funders: Goldman Sachs; Louisiana Housing Finance Agency; Louisiana Office of Community Development; Housing Authority of New Orleans; Industrial Development Board of New Orleans; Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Annie E. Casey Foundation; Kresge Foundation; Greater New Orleans Foundation; Local Initiatives Support Corp.; Living Cities; Ford Foundation; Kellogg Foundation; Surdna Foundation; Baptist Community Ministries Foundation; Center for the Study of Social Policy; New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation
Harmony Oaks re-establishes an entire New Orleans neighborhood. The 460-unit development is built on the site of the old C.J. Peete, one of the big four public housing projects shuttered after Hurricane Katrina.
Determined to not be another troubled public housing project, the $176.3 million Harmony Oaks is a mixed-income community with 193 public housing units and 267 affordable and market-rate apartments.
The blend broadens the range of families living in the area and creates a housing ladder that allows people to remain in the neighborhood as they get established and more successful, says Vince Bennett, COO of McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS), one of the project developers.
Seventy-one C.J. Peete residents returned to the community. With the help of job training and other programs, six have increased their incomes to move into market-rate units and four have moved into the affordable apartments.
The comprehensive vision for Harmony Oaks includes a community center with services, new parks, and a charter school with a health suite for students that will open this fall. “It has reknit the neighborhood, reconnecting it with the surrounding community,” says Yusef Freeman, MBS vice president.
The financing used to develop the project includes federal HOPE VI grants and low-income housing tax credit equity.
The demand for the apartments has been impressive. In June, there were 450 families on the waiting list for a market-rate unit, 1,400 families waiting for a tax credit unit, and 2,800 in line for a public housing apartment.