Saturday, April 13, 2024

Lee Hardware and United Jewelers Apartments Redevelopment closes on Financing and moves forward with construction

by BIZ Magazine

HRI Communities announced this week that it has closed on the financing for the Lee Hardware and United Jewelers Apartments at 719 Edwards Street and 301 Crockett Street and is set to immediately move forward with construction. The development will facilitate a rehabilitation and modernization of the historic apartment buildings, which were originally acquired and redeveloped in 1999.

“HRI Communities is honored to acquire the first warehouse buildings that were converted into apartments in historic downtown Shreveport almost 22 years ago. It is a privilege to be able to immediately begin renovations which include comprehensive upgrades to the apartments and common areas raising the entire property to a first-class standard. Current and future residents of the apartments will be thrilled with the improvements we have planned for their homes,” said HRI Communities President, Josh Collen.

Built in 1909, the Lee Hardware building, which previously housed the Lee Dry Goods business, was converted into 55 affordable loft-style apartments. The United Jewelers building, built in 1926, was converted into 51 market-rate apartments. Additionally, a pool, pool house, and three townhouses were constructed to further complement the buildings.

HRI’s plans include renovations to the buildings’ exterior facades, roofs, HVAC systems, interior unit kitchen and bathrooms upgrades, and landscaping/pool improvements. The project includes a combination of workforce and market rate housing units, maintaining the diverse community long proven to be successful and representative of downtown Shreveport. All current residents will have the option to remain at the property throughout the renovation with temporary on-site relocation between buildings to accommodate construction.

The project amenities offer covered parking, a newly equipped fitness center, a new residents’ lounge, renovated pool deck and cabana, as well as new energy-star appliances such as in-unit washers, dryers and dishwashers.

HRI Communities received an award from the Office of Community Development for Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding to facilitate the redevelopment. Additional financial partners include: US Bancorp Community Development Corporation as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Federal Historic Tax Credit Investor and State Historic Tax Credit Purchaser, US Bank, N.A. as the Construction Lender, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, LLC as the servicer for a Freddie Mac Tax-Exempt Loan, the Louisiana Housing Corporation as Bond Issuer and Housing Finance Agency, and the City of Shreveport as an additional lender.

“The rehabilitation of the historic Lee Hardware and United Jewelers Apartments will ensure this mixed-income housing development remains an important asset in downtown Shreveport,” OCD Executive Director Pat Forbes said. “Investing $6 million in Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery funding received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for recovery from the Great Floods of 2016 in this project is aimed at ensuring that Shreveport maintains rental housing stock that is beautiful and available to everyone.”

“U.S. Bank is excited to be part of the transformation of these two historical buildings, bringing needed updates and expanding access to affordable housing in downtown Shreveport,” said John Lisella, business development officer with U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, the tax credit and community investment subsidiary of U.S. Bank. “Keeping people downtown brings vibrancy to the heart of the community and expanding the amount of affordable housing available means more people have the opportunity to achieve financial stability.”

“LHC is excited to partner with HRI to create more substantial rental housing opportunities in the Shreveport Community,” said Interim Executive Director Bradley Sweazy. “The rehabilitation and modernization of Lee Hardware and United Jewelers supports the Corporation’s continued efforts of providing quality, safe, affordable and resilient housing access for the citizens of Louisiana.”

“We’re encouraged by the continued investment into our downtown neighborhoods, which will bring new amenities to existing residents and ensure that the properties remain attractive into the future,” said Mayor Adrian Perkins. “We are particularly excited by HRI’s commitment to our community and look forward to continued opportunities to support the needs of our citizens, while growing our local economy.”

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