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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-137
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeAugust 5, 1999


WASHINGTON – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $6 million in assistance for New Orleans to redevelop a former can factory and turn it into homes, retail businesses and office space. The project will create 75 jobs and stimulate $37.5 million in additional investment.

"One of the most important challenges facing cities today is cleaning up and revitalizing abandoned industrial and commercial sites that were the engines of America’s economic greatness in our past," Cuomo said. "Working in partnership with communities, we can transform these areas into generators of new jobs and new prosperity in our future."

Cuomo made the announcement today in a telephone conference call with Congressman William Jefferson and New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial.

Congressman Jefferson said: "Besides developing affordable housing, this project also invests in the economic future of the community by creating an environment that will generate new jobs and opportunities for those who live in New Orleans. It is the best example of HUD stressing both the ‘housing’ and the ‘urban development’ aspects of its mandate to keep America’s cities alive and vibrant."

Senator John Breaux said: "New Orleans is the ideal recipient of this highly competitive HUD grant which will revitalize our historic city and provide new, high-paying jobs. I applaud this innovative approach that combines economic development and housing funds with private monies to leverage a total investment of more than $43 million."

New Orleans will receive a $1 million Brownfields Economic Development Initiative grant and $5 million in loan guarantees from HUD to renovate the American Can factory, which has been vacant since 1988. The HUD funds will be used to create a residential and business area consisting of 270 market-rate apartments, 17,000 square-feet of retail/commercial space, and on-site parking.

On top of the HUD assistance, businesses and other local, state and federal government agencies are expected to invest $37.5 million in additional funds in the New Orleans brownfield area. These resources include: $7.5 million in private equity from Housing Horizons, a subsidiary of the Kimberly Clark Corporation; $1 million from the City’s economic development fund; and a $29 million low- interest mortgage obtained through HUD.

The project will create 75 permanent jobs that will be available for current welfare recipients. Historic Restorations will work with the New Orleans Private Industry Council and the New Orleans Job Initiative to recruit and screen welfare recipients and to provide job training programs in construction, property management and retail. Also, through the City’s Open Access Plan, a percentage of construction expenditures, professional services and commodity purchases associated with the project will be awarded to minority and women-owned business.

Brownfield sites include abandoned factories and other industrial facilities, gasoline stations, oil storage facilities, dry cleaning stores, and other businesses that dealt with polluting substances. Since 1993, the Clinton Administration has taken a series of actions to clean up and redevelop brownfields and return them to productive use, including: providing seed money to communities for revitalization; removing regulatory barriers to redevelopment; and providing a targeted tax incentive to businesses that purchase and clean up the sites.

The loan guarantees, also known as the Section 108 Program, provide communities with financing for job creation, housing rehabilitation, and construction of public facilities and large-scale development projects. Vice President Gore announced the Clinton Administration’s Brownfields National Partnership in 1997 to bring together resources of over 20 federal agencies to address brownfield cleanup and redevelopment. HUD works with other federal agencies to provide communities with financial and technical assistance to revitalize brownfields.

Cuomo accompanied President Clinton last month on the President’s New Markets Tour of economically distressed communities that highlighted the economic potential for investment in underserved markets. The President is proposing tax incentives and investment tools that will make it more attractive for corporate America to search for opportunities in such communities.

A recent HUD report titled New Markets: The Untapped Retail Buying Power In America’s Inner Cities showed that America’s inner city neighborhoods – with $331 billion in annual retail purchasing power – hold major economic potential for retail business growth. The report found:

  • Inner city neighborhoods possess enormous retail purchasing power – estimated at $331 billion last year, or one-third of the $1.1 trillion total for the central cities in which those neighborhoods are located. The report suggests that businesses not yet operating in inner cities should not ignore that large domestic market.
  • Despite their huge buying power, many inner city communities are "under-retailed," with sales that fall significantly short of residents’ retail purchasing power. The report makes clear that there a large inner city consumer market worth competing for.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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