Downtown Development Group (DDG), headed by New Orleans developer Joshua Bruno, has begun construction on a new low to moderate income housing facility located at 1937 St. Ann Street in Treme. The former Rainbow Hotel is being renovated into St. Ann Square Apartments; forty 1, 2, & 3 bedroom units. The apartment development will feature a gated court yard and off-street parking with lush usable green space. The units will be constructed with hurricane resistant steel and concrete construction, energy efficient electrical and plumbing systems, and reinforced windows that comply with Dade County, FL hurricane codes. Other St. Ann Square Apartments amenities include: wrap-around balconies, central air and heat, outdoor barbeque grills, a digital phone system, free wireless Internet (inside/outside units), and closed circuit TV security surveillance system. Unit sizes start at 600 square feet and will rent for $600 a month. The three-bedroom units at 1200 square feet will rent for approximately $975 per month.
DDG is designing and developing the St. Ann Square Apartments and Bruno, Inc., a vertically integrated real estate development company, will do the construction and redevelopment. Metro-Wide Apartments, another Bruno company, will manage and lease the property. “
St. Ann Square will provide additional affordable housing in the historic Treme area where there was considerable damage from Hurricane Katrina,” states Joshua Bruno. “Hopefully, this project will contribute to the overall redevelopment of this important area adjacent to the French Quarter.” This type of development is needed in the metro New Orleans area, Bruno explains, to house residents who have no place to live and are forced to live on the streets.
In addition to the St. Ann Square Apartment units, Metro-Wide Apartments will open Soap-n-Suds Laundromat which features flat screen TV’s, arcade games, and internet connected computers for use while washing clothes. It will be located on St. Ann Street and N. Prieur. The company will hire Treme residents to run the laundry and to provide janitorial services for the apartment complex. Metro-Wide will also start a neighborhood crime watch program in Treme. “We will continue the partnership we began after the storm with numerous non-profit, housing programs like UNITY, Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of New Orleans, along with FEMA, to provide attractive, safe, and affordable home environments,” states Bruno, who has developed six other rental properties in Treme in the last 2 ½ years.
Since 2005, DDG has developed more than 200 residential housing units—from low and moderate income communities, to the middle and upper income 45-unit, Riverview Apartments on the river in South Kenner. Bruno is planning to develop over 150 additional multi-family, low- to moderate-income and middle- to upper-income units by the beginning of 2009. One of the keys to the success of Bruno’s real estate developments is designing his projects to add value and services to a larger surrounding community. In addition, Bruno is one of relatively few private developers who has been willing to invest his own money in areas of the city he believes to be critical to the city’s recovery.
Bruno’s real estate development philosophy is based on increasing the quality of life by creating outdoor spaces that provide opportunities for residents and workers to enjoy ample green spaces and to integrate light and outdoor views into interiors. His properties combine the convenience of city living with the beauty and security of suburban life.
Architect for St. Ann Square Apartments is Steven J. Finegan Architects Ltd. ofNew Orleans who specializes in ergonomic and hurricane resistant architectural design.
The construction will be managed by Bruno, Inc which is a vertically integrated company in Acquisition-Design-Development-Construction-Management. Leasing for the project is being handled by Joshua Bruno of Metro-Wide Apartments.
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