Volunteers of America Awarded Grant to Create 122 New Apartment Homes in Baton Rouge
Volunteers of America has been awarded $5.7 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to develop 122 new apartment homes for families and veterans in Baton Rouge’s historically and culturally significant Spanish Town neighborhood. The funding was received from the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) as part of its 2016 flood disaster recovery efforts.
“We are thankful to the LHC for this funding which allows us to continue to provide much needed neighborhood-based housing for working people in Louisiana communities,” says Victor Smeltz, Executive Director of Renaissance Neighborhood Development Corporation (RNDC), the agency’s subsidiary charged with developing this housing. As its first development in Baton Rouge, RNDC is working collaboratively with Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge to ensure its success.
“The currently underutilized and undeveloped 2.56-acre full city block proposed for this new development fronts onto BREC’s Spanish Town Park and is in an area targeted for revitalization,” said Smeltz. “Returning residential use to this site will directly contribute to ongoing revitalization of the area.”
Spanish Town is Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhood. It was previously home to single family shotgun and bungalow style houses, many of which have been demolished over the years. Valencia Park, the new multi-family mixed-income housing community, will return much needed residential housing to this now vacant site as infill development. Adjacent to downtown, the site is in close proximity to jobs, hospitals, services and transit.
Once completed, Valencia Park will be comprised of one 3-story apartment building, containing 62 one bedroom/one bath, 54 two bedroom/two bath and 6 three bedroom/two bath apartments, as well as community amenity space available to all residents. Fifty percent of the apartment homes will be targeted to veterans and their families, and rents will be structured so as to be affordable to a broad range of working households. Site amenities will include improved pedestrian walkways with landscaped green space, an outdoor pavilion and on-site parking.
Construction is anticipated to commence early 2019 with completion and leasing expected to begin early 2020. Chenevert Architects of Baton Rouge, working with Humphreys & Partners Architects, L.P., will be project architects and Milton J. Womack Inc. General Contractors of Baton Rouge has been identified as the general contractor of Valencia Park.