Construction Starts on NOLA Housing Redevelopment Project

McCormack Baron Salazar, KAI Design and Build begin construction on New Orleans neighborhood redevelopment project.

January 14, 2009

Rendering depicts redevelopment of the C.J. Peete public housing site in New Orleans, La.
Rendering depicts the redevelopment of the C.J. Peete public housing site in New Orleans, LA.

St. Louis, MO (January 13, 2009) – Construction has begun on the $172 million project to redevelop the C.J. Peete public housing site in New Orleans, La. The C.J. Peete HOPE VI Housing Redevelopment project is being developed by Central City Partners (a team made up of St. Louis-based companies McCormack Baron Salazar and KAI Design & Build), in partnership with the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) and the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative (NONDC), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality affordable housing in New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on January 7, 2009 to mark the start of construction.

McCormack Baron Salazar Executive Vice President, Vince Bennett said, “Realizing the transformation of the C.J. Peete site in a troubled financial time demonstrates the significance of public private partnerships. The ability of our team to bring in nationally recognized financial partners such as Goldman Sachs and negotiate a complicated leveraged transaction with HANO, state and local funders and navigate numerous tax and regulatory requirements in 60 days was incredible. Moreover, this development will serve as a catalytic spark in the revitalization of the neighborhood and will support families who were displaced by Katrina. The importance of this development goes beyond bricks and mortar to transform the lives of community and public housing residents.”

McCormack Baron Salazar is a nationally recognized urban developer of affordable housing with extensive experience in the creation and management of large-scale, mixed-income communities. The firm has developed 131 developments for total development costs in excess of $1.9 billion.

“We see this as a tremendous opportunity to revitalize a community and to provide much needed mixed-income housing in the heart of New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood,” said KAI Design & Build President Michael Kennedy, Jr.

KAI Design & Build, a minority-owned firm, has a broad range of experience in design, construction and development services and has worked on multiple mixed-finance HUD HOPE VI development programs around the country. KAI is providing architectural, interior, mechanical, electrical and plumbing/fire protection design on the project, in addition to providing overall direction, coordination and management of the engineering consultant team.

C.J. Peete is located in Central City New Orleans and is bordered by Louisiana Avenue, South Claiborne Avenue, La Salle Street and Washington Avenue. C.J. Peete, named after Cleveland Joseph Peete, a graduate of Xavier University who managed the development from 1952 to 1978, was constructed in 1941 and expanded to 1,403 total units in 1955. The Housing Authority of New Orleans demolished more than half of the site, approximately 723 units, in 1997 with plans for revitalization. Only 146 families were still living at the site when Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005. These families were all displaced by the Hurricane Katrina emergency, many of them to out of state locations. The vacant buildings that remained following the Katrina disaster were demolished in the spring of 2008.

Plans for the $172 million, 550,000-square-foot redevelopment, designed to replicate the traditional Central City neighborhood, include:

  • Construction of 410 garden and townhouse low-income, affordable and market rate units.
  • Construction of a 40-unit, three-story apartment building.
  • Renovation of an existing administration building and three-story, residential apartment building with 10 units.
  • Renovation of an existing community center to house supportive services programs.
  • New streets that tie into existing streets.
  • A new park at the southern end of the site that preserves several old oak trees.

Richard Baron, Chairman and CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar, explained, “We want to create a stable, safe and sustainable mixed-income community which will increase economic and educational opportunities for all of its residents.”

Construction on the project has been put on the fast track and is expected to be completed in January 2011. The general contractor on the project is Woodward Design & Build of New Orleans, LA.

In addition to the physical development of the site, the development team joined with Urban Strategies, its non-profit partner, to provide and coordinate essential services and programs for former and new residents of the C.J. Peete community. These programs are designed to assist residents in achieving self-sufficiency, and include intensive case management, job training and placement, technology programs, quality child care and schools, access to physical and mental health services, senior programs, and enrichment activities for children and youth.

Urban Strategies is also working with the Recovery School District to rebuild and reopen Woodson Middle School as a K-8 school to serve the children of the revitalized community.

“The success of the revitalization effort at C.J. Peete rests on whether life is stable and filled with opportunity for the most vulnerable families. With many partners, Urban Strategies is focused on making stability and opportunity happen,” said Urban Strategies President Sandy Moore.

In October 2006, the Housing Authority of New Orleans issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to revitalize the C.J. Peete site. Central City Partners was selected as the development partner through this competitive national application process. The team combines the deep local experience of NONDC with the nation’s leading for-profit developer of economically integrated urban neighborhoods. The experience of this team in partnership with the Housing Authority of New Orleans and support from local, state and federal agencies has been instrumental in bringing the project together.

Funding of the Project: The new C.J. Peete development represents a financial investment of over $170 million. The permanent sources of funds are from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, the Housing Authority of New Orleans, the Louisiana Office of Community Development, the Louisiana Industrial Development Board, and Goldman Sachs, the purchaser of tax credits awarded by the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency. Additional funding for pre-development and community supportive services and activities was provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Living Cities, and the Ford Foundation.

About The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO)

HANO is a federally funded agency operating independently of city government, which administers low and moderate income Public Housing Programs for the City of New Orleans. The Authority receives funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

About Central City Partners (CCP)

CCP is the development entity comprised of McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. (MBS), a Missouri corporation, KAI Design and Build, Inc., a Missouri corporation, and the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative, Inc., (NONDC), a Louisiana non-profit corporation, working with Urban Strategies, Inc. (US), a Missouri non-profit corporation.

About McCormack Baron Salazar

McCormack Baron Salazar was incorporated in 1973 and has distinguished itself as a nationally acclaimed for-profit residential development company specialized in the revitalization of urban neighborhoods. In the past thirty years, the firm has closed 131 developments, developing 14,593 housing units and one million square feet of retail/commercial space for total development costs in excess of $1.9 billion. The company has been extensively involved with HUD’s public housing “mixed finance” program dating back to early 1994 when it proposed the idea to the HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. The first two demonstration projects closed in the spring of 1996, and were both McCormack Baron Salazar developments. McCormack Baron Salazar developments are characterized by a blend of financing sources – both public and private. Its financing techniques incorporate a variety of funding approaches utilizing federal programs where available, tax-exempt financing, conventional loans, pension funds, foundation loans and grants, and equity from the private sector. During the course of its development activities in local communities, the firm has successfully created relationships with local government, private sector, community-based organizations, and foundations.

About KAI Design & Build

KAI Design & Build is a national 90+ person design and build company headquartered in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. KAI is an emerging leader in providing design and build integrated project delivery solutions through collaboration, technology, processes and expertise. Since its inception in 1980, KAI has been instrumental in reshaping the St. Louis urban environment through housing, K-12 schools, transit facilities, collegiate facilities, commercial facilities, sports and recreation facilities, government/justice facilities and healthcare buildings. Beginning as an architectural design firm, KAI added mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineering to give clients a full package of in-house disciplines for their projects. Today, KAI continues with its original core service - design - and has quickly grown its build group since 2002. This group, named SP2CM (Strategic Program/Project & Construction Management) constitutes half of the professionals employed by KAI. Additionally, KAI is a leader in Building Information Modeling (BIM), applying it to architectural, engineering, and construction projects firm-wide. KAI is a member of the National Institute of Building Sciences’ (NIBS) buildingSMART Alliance™, a national committee responsible for developing BIM standards. KAI’s affiliate locations include Kansas City, Missouri and Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. For more information about KAI Design & Build visit or phone 314-241-8188.

About Urban Strategies, Inc.

Urban Strategies is a non-profit corporation, works to help communities build safe neighborhoods, good schools, and a range of comprehensive human service supports. Urban Strategies has been engaged by CCP and HANO to provide Community and Supportive Services (CSS) to the former residents of C.J. Peete/Magnolia.


The HOPE VI Program is a Federal program created in 1992. It was developed as a result of recommendations by National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing, which was charged with proposing a National Action Plan to eradicate severely distressed public housing. The Commission recommended revitalization in three general areas: physical improvements, management improvements, and social and community services to address resident needs. HOPE VI grants are given to Housing Authorities to support revitalization plans that address all three areas.

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