Louisville Ky. –A HOPE VI development here with about 1,050 housing units is turning roughly 125 acres of derelict and crime-ridden public housing into a mixed-income neighborhood.

Located in the Park DuValle neighborhood, the development replaces the Cotter Homes and the Lang Homes public housing projects, which had a combined 1,116 rental units. The new development, known as The Villages at Park DuValle, includes 450 single-family homeownership units being developed by local developer Louisville Real Estate Development Co. (LRED). It also has 600 multifamily rental units being developed by The Community Builders, which also served as the master developer for the entire project. Chauncey Louisville, LLC, also served as a developer in the early stages.

Forty percent of the rental and homeownership units are for households earning no more than 50% of the area median income (AMI); 30% of the units are for households earning up to 60% of AMI; and the remaining 30% are for households earning more than 60% of AMI, according to a report by the Urban Land Institute.

The homes, which range in size from 1,100 square feet to 3,200 square feet, are priced from about $80,000 to $260,000. Though there was concern about attracting homebuyers to an untried neighborhood, about 240 homeowners have made the move, and 77% of them are first-time homebuyers, according to Michael J. Bauer, president and CEO of LRED.

The multifamily units were filled to capacity at press time.

Almost all of the land for the development came from the former public housing projects. “That was a big bonus, to have all the acreage all together and be able to start [development], rather than having to acquire the real estate first,” said Bauer.

Total development cost on the project was about $200 million. The Louisville Metro Housing Authority provided $31.4 million in housing development funds; $14.8 million in previously approved development funds; and $9 million for demolition, resident relocation, and site preparation costs. The project also received $37.5 million in equity from the sale of low-income housing tax credits to investors such as the National Equity Fund and PNC Bank, and $56.3 million in debt financing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development contributed $40 million, including a $20 million HOPE VI grant. The city of Louisville committed $10 million in infrastructure improvements. Additional funding details were not available.

Designed along New Urbanist lines, the development placed seniors housing around a central “town center” area with easy traffic circulation, retail and other commercial uses. Each of the multifamily buildings (a mix of two-, three-, four- and six-unit structures) and houses is designed in one of three approved architectural styles: Craftsman, Victorian or Colonial Revival.

“We have wonderful neighborhoods in Louisville, and building on [those] styles was tremendous for this development,” said Bauer. He added that the design and layout “allows a wonderful presence when you drive into the development. It by no means looks like a [big-city] setting. It looks like an urban neighborhood.”

Amenities include the town center, schools, a police station, a fire station and a health center. The many first-time homeowners also get help adapting. Last year the developer teamed with Lowe’s home improvement stores to hold lawn-maintenance classes, and Bauer expects to repeat it this year. “We are very committed to having this community be viable, and not just build it and let it go,” said Bauer.

The Villages of Park DuValle

Developers: Louisville Real Estate Development Co.; The Community Builders; Chauncey Louisville, LLC

Number of units: 450 single family; 600 multifamily

Number of affordable units: About 700

Unique feature: It revitalized a neighborhood with mixed-income homeownership and multifamily units.