By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor
State and local government efforts to rebuild the city’s economy seem to finally be paying off: New Orleans is included in an index that highlights the areas that have recorded steady improvement over the past six months in housing permits, employment and housing prices, as reported by MHN.
Multifamily rehabilitation is also a priority on the to-do list to achieve full recovery. As part of a comprehensive plan to revitalize Iberville and surrounding Treme, the federal government awarded a $30.5 million grant to the Housing Authority of New Orleans and the city of New Orleans in support of public housing redevelopment. Developers had already announced plans to invest $589 million in the neighborhood’s revitalization, to include the creation of about 2,500 new mixed-income apartment units and ground-floor retail space.
New Orleans–along with Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle–will benefit from the federal grant, amounting to a combined $122 million, as part of HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, according to a press release. The new program is aimed at transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income communities, with healthy and affordable housing, safe streets and access to quality educational opportunities.
In other news, nola.com reports that Valero Energy Corp. reached an agreement with El Dorado, Ark.-based Murphy Oil Corp. to purchase its refinery at Meraux, all of its related assets and current inventory for about $625 million. San Antonio-based Valero intends to add more hydroprocessing capacity to its portfolio and expects to close the deal in the fourth quarter, if everything goes as planned.
Another transaction making headlines this week was the sale of Parc St. Charles hotel at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Poydras Street to a local investor group that plans to re-open it as the Blake Hotel. The 122-room hotel was bought out of bankruptcy by JM Hotels L.L.C. from Commodore L.L.C. for $5.1 million. The new owner will invest an additional $2 million in the facility’s renovation.