NEW ORLEANS - Officials broke ground Monday on the new Iberville housing development near the French Quarter.
But construction on a similar project just blocks away has stalled.
In 2009, developers broke ground on the new Faubourg Lafitte in Treme, with the vision of redeveloping one of the city's major public housing developments.
Four years later, just over half of the planned housing units have been completed. That's 276 affordable rental units, one of which is home to Emelda Paul.
“I love the place. It is beautiful,” said Paul, who heads the Faubourg Lafitte Tenant Association.
But construction on the rest of the development has been on hold for almost a year now while the developers work out financing, leaving empty lots along Orleans Avenue.
“When agencies like HANO are late or developers are late producing the housing, the effect on people is pretty obvious. There's not the housing that folks were hoping for to be able to occupy,” said David Gilmore, HANO administrative receiver.
“Of course I was concerned about it,” said Paul. “I wanted to know what was the reason and what was holding up.”
The hold up? Completing the project has been much more difficult than expected, said Terri North, head of Providence Community Housing, one of three co-developers on the project.
Developers were forced to turn in nearly $1 million of GOZONE tax credits after missing a 2010 deadline due to the economic downturn, said North. Now, they're finalizing complicated financing deals with HANO and the state Office of Community Development.
“We're going to deliver everything we said we were going to deliver in terms of unit count and unit type. It's going to happen it's just going to take a little longer, it's taking longer than anybody had hoped it would,” said Gilmore.
Construction is expected to start up again by the end of the year, this time on a 100-unit senior building for HANO and 89 market rate apartments.
Construction should begin on 52 homes for sale by next year.
And those like Paul can't wait.
“They're going to start it, so I'm looking forward to that and I take their word for it,” she said.
All 517 mixed income housing units in Faubourg Lafitte are expected to be completed by 2016, with another 295 units off site.