SHREVEPORT, LA - Wearing hardhats and donning shovels, city, Parish and federal officials gathered today to mark the transformation of deteriorating multifamily housing formerly known as University Oaks into a modern, sustainable affordable housing community reborn for the 21st Century. The ceremonial groundbreaking was hosted by the Housing Authority of the City of Shreveport (HACS) and its private-sector development partner, The Michaels Development Company.
“We are so grateful for the community’s support of our vision to upgrade our existing housing stock,” said HACS Executive Director Richard Herrington, Jr. “The significant rehabilitation of this property will not only enhance this important and historic neighborhood, but will also add significantly to the quality of life for our residents,” Herrington said.
Located on the corner of Hilry Huckaby III Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, right near the Southern University of Shreveport, the buildings were first constructed in the 1970s. HACS purchased the property in 1999 to increase affordable housing opportunities for income-eligible residents. Since then, the City has targeted the surrounding neighborhood for redevelopment to improve resident access to quality affordable housing under its Community Revitalization Plan. The 124-unit Cypress Landing will offer housing opportunities to households earning 60 percent or less of the area’s median income.
Significant interior and exterior improvements are part of the revitalization effort and include energy-saving “green building” components that will offer long-term operational savings. When construction is complete, the renovated Cypress Landing will feature new open and green spaces that will serve to better integrate the community into the surrounding neighborhood.
“We are confident that this newly modernized housing, which will appeal to families with a broad range of housing needs and incomes, will be a continuing catalyst for the rebirth of this entire neighborhood,” said Mayor Cedric B. Glover at the groundbreaking ceremony, who applauded the Housing Authority of the City of Shreveport’s leadership for changing the face of public housing in the city and for also creating good quality construction jobs for local residents.
Other dignitaries who attended today’s ceremony included Carol Nunley, Chair of the HACS Board of Commissioners, Councilwoman Rose Wilson-McCulloch, and Martha Sakre, Field Office Director in Shreveport for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ava Goldman, President of Michaels Development Company, spoke on behalf of The Michaels Organization.
"We are privileged to work in this lovely and historic neighborhood and to be able to improve and preserve affordable housing opportunities for families with a variety of incomes," Goldman said.
Financing for the $11.5 million redevelopment of Cypress Landing includes $300,000 in City of Shreveport Home Funds and more than $9.5 million of equity raised from the sale of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits allocated by the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency. U.S. Bank invested in the tax credits, which were syndicated by Prestige Affordable Housing Partners, LLC, an affiliate of The Michaels Development Company. U.S. Bank also provided a $7.2 million construction loan to the development. Prestige Building Company, also part of The Michaels Organization, is serving as the general contractor. The Michaels Organization’s award-winning property management company, Interstate Realty Management is providing property management services at Cypress Landing and will ensure the community remains a long-term asset to the neighborhood. Local partners include SGB Architects, LLC., the Coats/Rose Law Firm and EJP Consulting Group, LLC.