The Treasury Department is awarding $3.6 billion dollars in New Markets Tax Credits to revitalize low-income and distressed communities. Five Louisiana organizations are among the recipients, and are getting a total of almost $300 million.
The announcement was made at Federal City – a former Navy base on the West Bank that’s being transformed into a new 155-acre community. HRI Properties is master developer overseeing the process, and its National Cities Fund is getting $30 million in tax credits. HRI Board Co-Chairman Eddie Boettner says the process is three years into a 15-year plan. He says the first recipients of the tax credits will be the Maritime Military Charter High School. Retail and residential uses are also in the project.
“We’re the quarterback of this team and we’re responsible for pulling all the different pieces together to help deliver the master plan that our master planners on my team and the neighborhood and the city and all of the different stakeholders in Federal City put together several years ago.”
Boettner says the final project will look much different than the patchwork of empty brick buildings from the early 1900s and open spaces.
Retired Marine Corps Major General David Mize is now president of the New Orleans Federal Alliance, using his military background with state officials and the private sector to create Federal City. He says there’s up to a billion dollars of development on site.
“It doesn’t happen overnight. So we have about a 15-year master plan to make that happen. So people have to have a little bit of patience but also some vision to know what we’re going for.”
The New Markets Tax Credit program began in 2000, and has been widely used in rebuilding and redevelopment after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.