HOPE VI Brings Senior Housing to Bastrop, Louisiana

Bastrop High School Historic Sign
Built in 1927 and expanded in 1931, Bastrop High School was once regarded as one of the best, largest, and most complete school facilities in Louisiana. When its renovation is complete, it will house more than 60 affordable apartments for seniors.
 

During the first round of Hope VI Main Street grants in 2005, Bastrop overcame the devastating aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina to submit a grant application that was rewarded with a $500,000 grant. The Historic Bastrop High project will completely renovate the old Bastrop High School building, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Built in 1927, Bastrop High School is a sprawling, two-story, brick Tudor Revival structure located just outside the downtown. After serving as an education center for six decades, the building fell into disrepair. Rains from Hurricane Katrina wreaked more damage, causing roof leaks which spurred further deterioration of the historic structure. HOPE VI funds were used to cover architectural and environmental expenses while additional funding was sought.

On December 21, 2009, the city announced that more than $13 million in state, federal, and private funds have been secured to complete the project. After working eight years on this project, Bastrop Main Street obtained funding from the following sources:

  • $6.4 million in Tax Credit Exchange Program (TCEP) funding and $871,000 in Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) funding – both of these programs were created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act;
  • $1 million in HOME funds through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD);
  • $4.1 million in state and federal historic tax credits; and
  • $500,000 from HUD's HOPE VI Main Street program.
Bastrop High School Interior
Damaged by the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the roof of Bastrop High School has been leaking ever since, causing significant water damage inside the building.

Project plans call for approximately 68 independent living apartments for the elderly, with rents ranging from below $300 to $500. Construction is set to begin in July 2010 and is expected to take 18 months to complete.

City of Bastrop Development, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, will serve as master developer of the project. Director Mark Rainwater said the news that the project can move forward is especially timely.

"With all our community has experienced in the last few years, word that funding for the largest project of its kind ever in our area is a great gift for the community," says Rainwater. "The project is an example of federal, state, local, and community groups working with the private sector to create a project that will serve our area for generations to come."

 

 

Bastrop Mayor Betty Alford-Olive sees the school renovation as a potential economic engine for the city. "We are excited about the potential the project brings … to our related businesses," says the mayor. "With other property near the site available for development, we believe investors will see the opportunity to serve the facility and create new jobs in the community."

BastropHigh_LHFA
Tom Crumley and Emily Ostuw of Woodward Interests, LLC, developers of the Historic Bastrop High project (left and far left), present preliminary plans to the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency (LHFA) in the school's library. The project received more than $7 million in funding from tax credit programs administered by LHFA.

Developer Tom Crumley of Woodward Interests, LLC, which will be handling the development, was instrumental in crafting and submitting the application for HOPE VI Main Street funds. "This is a very rich story," says Crumley. "This historic renovation encompasses not only one significant building and its history but also the ups and downs of the city, which lost its major employer, International Paper, last year. Bastrop has a spirit that's contagious. The people are great and the project is great!"

Louisiana Main Street Director Ray Scriber concurs, crediting the Main Street program with pushing the project forward. "This is truly a Main Street success story," says Scriber. "Bastrop Main Street has pushed and pushed and worked and worked to make this happen. The school building is only two blocks away from the downtown square. Without a local Main Street program and its national partner, this beautiful high school building would further decay and likely fall victim to the bulldozer."

Click here for more information about HOPE VI Main Street grants.