The Terraces on Tulane in New Orleans, LA has won a 2010 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the Senior Housing category.

Photo Courtesy of Volunteers of America

The story of the Terraces on Tulane, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, began in the remnants of another Volunteers of America property, Forest Towers East.  Forest Towers East was a 200-unit Section 202 property located in East New Orleans which suffered devastating damage at the hands of Hurricane Katrina.  Though all the residents were safely evacuated and subsequently tracked in the post-hurricane aftermath, Volunteers of America determined that repairing the 30+-year-old Forest Towers East property would be prohibitively costly.  The result was a new property developed on Tulane Avenue ideally suited for senior housing with proximity to hospitals, banks, grocery stores, entertainment, and public transportation. 

The Terraces on Tulane was designed to meet or exceed the “Green Communities Criteria” detailed in the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency’s qualified allocation plan.  The property’s landscaping includes native trees and plants that provide shade in the summer and allow for heat gain in the winter.  The irrigation system is smart and efficient with the sprinkler system on a timer for optimum watering cycles.  The property’s roof – Thermoplastic Polyolefin Roof – is on the Department of Energy’s Energy Star qualified roof products list.  The property meets the National Flood Insurance Program requirements and includes elevated dwelling units.  All construction meets or exceeds the Hurricane Wind Protection code. 

Beyond the physical improvements, residents will find new amenities, including a fitness center, a full commercial kitchen, a 3,000-square-foot community center, a beauty parlor, and a PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) delivery site.  Eighty-four of the original Forest Towers East residents will move back into the Terraces on Tulane.  A state-of-the-art computer learning center has been added, including computer systems designed for therapeutic intervention for occupational, physical, and speech therapy. 

Volunteers of America was successful in obtaining more than $3,400,000 in “GO Zone” Housing Credits.  Additional financing was provided by JP Morgan Chase, the City of New Orleans, and the Major League Baseball Players Trust.  Additionally, to fund the operational side of this development, Volunteers of America secured an operating subsidy to offset the artificially low rents and to serve the very low-income elderly.  Volunteers of America worked with the New Orleans HUD office and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to transfer the previous HAP contract and Use Agreement from Forest Towers East to the Terraces on Tulane.  The coordination and cooperation was unprecedented.  The Terraces on Tulane will have a 20-year Housing Assistance Payment contract that will enable Volunteers of America to serve the neediest low-income seniors. 

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