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After the ProjectsPublic Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans$
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Lawrence J. Vale

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190624330

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190624330.001.0001

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The Tortuous Road from St. Thomas to River Garden

The Tortuous Road from St. Thomas to River Garden

4 The Tortuous Road from St. Thomas to River Garden
After the Projects

Lawrence J. Vale

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 follows the tortuous course that led St. Thomas to its redevelopment, revealing the machinations of a governance constellation centered on the prerogatives of the Big Developer. Starting in the late 1980s, the struggling housing project had multiple suitors eager to launch a transformation. The redevelopment effort faced a long series of false starts and endured multiple lawsuits and setbacks. Eventually, championed by maverick developer Pres Kabacoff, this yielded the mixed-income community of River Garden, completed in phases between 2001 and 2009. Although the initial HOPE VI application had proposed a majority of low-income housing on the site, subsequent proposals shifted to plans emphasizing market-rate and tax-credit housing plus a Walmart supercenter, with additional scattered-site public housing for large families promised but never constructed. Eventually, however, market conditions soured and the actual development that got built has far less market-rate housing than this midcourse correction had sought to deliver.

Keywords:   New Orleans, public housing, redevelopment, HOPE VI, Walmart, governance, developer, St. Thomas, River Garden, Pres Kabacoff

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