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State-Funded New Orleans Healing Center Holds Grand Opening

Aug. 28, 2011

BATON ROUGE, La. - Representatives from the state Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit joined with investors and city officials in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans today at the grand opening of the New Orleans Healing Center, which represents a combined public and private investment of $13.5 million.

The OCD-DRU awarded $3.5 million in Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery funding to developer St. Claude/St. Roch Revitalization, LLC, to help create the innovative, mixed-use center.

Other funding sources include $2.8 million in net funding from National Trust Community Investment Company; $2.8 million in equity from the purchase of Historic Tax Credits by Morgan Stanley; $1.9 from Louisiana Historic Tax Credit Fund; $1.5 million from New Orleans Redevelopment Authority; and nearly $1 million from Louisiana New Markets Tax Credit Fund.

Located in an historic building at the intersection of St. Claude and St. Roch avenues, the center can house up to 40 tenants and will offer a vast array of shopping and wellness products and services, including an exercise studio, art gallery and retail bazaar.

OCD-DRU Executive Director Pat Forbes said, "The New Orleans Healing Center is a pioneering project that will return needed products and services to a slowly recovering neighborhood and boost the city's economic recovery through job creation and redevelopment."

Pres Kabacoff, managing partner of St.Claude/St. Roch Revitalization, LLC, said, "As sole proprietor and as a developer with more than 40 years of experience in retail, residential and mixed-use projects, I am delighted to lead this effort to kick-start redevelopment on St. Claude Avenue. I hope to see it grow into a thriving corridor similar to others in New Orleans."

After Hurricane Katrina, a group of concerned citizens, academics, engineers, writers, artists, developers, physicians and architects formed a think tank to explore creative solutions to New Orleans' vast recovery challenges. Out of the think tank, a plan was developed to heal both the people and the city, which included the creation of the New Orleans Healing Center.

Initial tenants at the center include a food co-op, federal credit union, Internet café and juice bar, exercise studio, healing practitioners, EarthLab, street university, interfaith center, retail bazaar, book shop, art galleries and a women's collective.

The OCD-DRU disaster recovery dollars used in the project are provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.