Months after receiving the proposals and several days after selecting one, the Housing Authority of New Orleans has released the proposals it got for redeveloping so-called “scattered sites” in Bywater and explained the agency’s rationale for choosing the winner.
The firm HANO chose, the ITEX Group, of Houston, apparently was picked in part because of its history of building and financing similar affordable-housing projects, according to HANO’s scoring sheets.
Six other firms were rated lower because they could not prove they had done similar work; did not propose to build the number and type of housing units HANO wanted; or had shaky or unclear funding sources.
The agency in August released a request for proposals to redevelop the 18 scattered sites — typically small apartment buildings with fewer than a dozen units — and gave firms until November to respond, requiring that the proposals set aside most units for low-income renters.
ITEX and six other companies submitted proposals.
The board that governs HANO selected ITEX on June 21; the authority released all of the proposals and the reasons it scored each the way it did on Thursday.
That’s an unusual practice in New Orleans, where city agencies routinely release proposals for public redevelopment projects long before an award is made. HANO, a federally funded agency, says federal rules require it to keep developers’ proposals private until a decision is made.
The vacant brick building, with its boarded-up windows and sagging roof, stands out in the m…
Thus, it is likely that few details will be made available about proposals for developing 200 other New Orleans sites for which HANO plans to solicit work, including Uptown and Lower 9th Ward properties that the agency will advertise soon.
The responding firms were required to designate two-thirds of all the redeveloped units as “affordable,” or designed for people who earn less than 80 percent of the area median income, and at least a quarter of the units as public housing, designated for families with even lower incomes.
The HANO staff gave ITEX 83 of 100 points on a scale that measures whether proposals adhere to HANO requirements concerning disadvantaged business enterprise subcontracting and other mandates.
The other bidders were Perez/Harmony Neighborhood Development, which scored 81; Integrity Development Partnership, 65; the New Orleans Redevelopment Fund, 59; the team of REO LLC, Nationwide Real Estate Corp., Doucette and Associated General Contractors, 35; ETI Inc./Bywater Housing Development LLC, 34; and Chartres Street Station, 20.
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ITEX said it plans to turn 16 of the 18 Bywater sites into 80 mixed-income housing units at a total cost of $14 million. Twenty-one units will be public housing; 21 will be set aside for residents using housing vouchers; 21 will be considered “affordable”; and 17 will be market rate. Construction is due to begin in August and take about a year.
The HANO staff moved ITEX, Perez, Integrity and the New Orleans Redevelopment Fund to the second phase in their review process. But Perez did not propose to build the public housing units HANO wanted, and the staff said they were concerned it could not get some of the financing the project needed. Integrity also did not propose to build what HANO wanted. And the Redevelopment Fund, which proposed to build only two sites, had little experience building similar projects.
Read the proposals of REO LLC, Nationwide Real Estate Corp, Doucette and Associated General Contractors , ETI Inc./Bywater Housing Development LLC and Chartres Street Station. Read the first phase proposals of ITEX, Perez, Integrity, and the Redevelopment Fund.
Read the scores HANO gave to each firm.