Belt Line and Corona
Gulf Coast Housing Partnership
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Gulf Coast Housing Partnership (GCHP) was created in 2006 to help create affordable housing after Hurricane Katrina left thousands without a place to live. The organization is deeply invested in the Mid-City neighborhood located just outside downtown Baton Rouge, La., developing six projects in the area in partnership with other local organizations since its inception.
Tom Champion, director of real estate development at GCHP, discussed the neighborhood’s history. “Over time, people moved away from the urban core,” he said. “Many of the vacant buildings and houses were demolished, leaving a lot of vacant land and sporadic houses, many of which were in a blighted condition.”
The organization’s most recent developments in the neighborhood are the Belt Line Townhomes and the Corona Apartments, located across the street from each other on a thoroughfare into downtown Baton Rouge. Belt Line is a newly constructed 32-unit rental community of two- and three-bedroom townhomes. Corona is a historic rehabilitation project that involved the adaptive reuse of the first Olinde Furniture store in Baton Rouge as residential units. It has been transformed into 37 units, consisting of 24 one-bedroom and 13 studio apartments, some of which are set aside for the homeless.
Both developments were financed by Community Housing Capital (CHC). “We’ve developed a relationship with CHC over the years, initially around our Katrina response work through Whitney Bank,” said Champion. “They are easy to work with and understand the complexity of our deals and the importance of our work in the communities we serve.”
The investment in this neighborhood ensures that in at least the Mid-City neighborhood where GCHP has concentrated its efforts, people have access to affordable, quality places to live, as members of a mixed-income community in close proximity to downtown jobs.