Kabacoff, a graduate of LSU Law School, who got his start in real estate development working with his father Lester Kabacoff, who jump-started the revival of the Warehouse District by turning vacant cargo wharfs and warehouses into hotels, condominiums and a convention center. As public housing is torn down and money floods back into the urban core of cities across the United States, countless neighborhoods are being monumentally altered by pioneering firms like HRI Properties. Since its founding in 1982, the company has grown to 2,000 employees and manages 23 hotels and 43 apartment buildings in 16 states. “Revitalizing Cities” is a compelling series of case histories of the shifting dynamics of the American urban landscape. This book will appeal to architects, developers, urban planners, affordable housing advocates, and urban real estate agents and brokers with an interest in walkable cities and New Urbanism.
River Garden on St. Andrew, New Orleans, LA
largely replaced by privately built new developments that accommodate a fraction of the former residents. One of the most controversial HRI developments was the conversion of the St. Thomas Projects into River Garden. Consisting of 920 units in two- and three- story elongated red-brick buildings with iron balconies built around a courtyard lined with oak trees, St. Thomas originally opened as a white development but eventually was largely occupied by black tenants. Hemmed in by the Mississippi River near the Lower Garden District, St. Thomas had become one of the city’s most dangerous and blighted housing developments.
housing. Though some cheered the move to replace the troubled project with new housing, others saw it as a way to muscle out the poor in a neighborhood that was planning for a new Wal-Mart. Reflecting New Urbanism town planning principles, Kabacoff’s company saved five buildings from the original St. Thomas housing development and reopened as River Garden, creating 37 affordable housing units from the old “bricks.” Today, River Garden has 700 apartments with Creole cottages, Victorian doubles and Greek Revival houses, which 60 percent are market rate and 40 percent are subsidized affordable housing. “The goal was to integrate a neglected, isolated neighborhood into the surrounding historic Lower Garden District and create a vibrant mixed-income community,” writes
In the late 1990s, HRI won hefty federal and state subsidies to help convert the St. Thomas projects into mixed-income
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