HRI Communities Celebrates Opening of Bottle Arts Lofts in Lafayette

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Photo courtesy of HRI Communities

LAFAYETTE, La. – On March 3, Gov. John Bel Edwards was joined by Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory and other leaders to celebrate the completion of the Bottle Art Lofts, a multi-phase adaptive re-use development with a leasing preference for artists on the site of the formerly distressed Four Corners neighborhood. Josh Collen, president of HRI Communities, served as emcee for the event after overseeing the development of the project from conception. 

“This complex has breathed new life into what used to be an underutilized neighborhood and will now serve as a catalyst for other public and private reinvestment initiatives in this area and beyond,” said Edwards. “One of the most important aspects of this project is the safety and resilience that are built into it. As storms become more frequent and more intense, it’s critical that we create affordable housing that can provide a safe home for our most vulnerable residents. If we’re going to lead the country in disaster impacts, we’d better lead the country in how we prepare for and adapt to disasters. This development is a big step in that direction, demonstrating new techniques that can make all our housing more resilient in the future.”

A ribbon cutting and site tours for housing and economic development officials, project participants and stakeholders, along with food, music and artistic displays on behalf of the residents commemorated the transformation of the site. Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety presented Bottle Art Lofts with a Fortified Multifamily – Gold designation highlighting the project’s commitment to design and construction practices proven to reduce the risk of damage from severe weather. 

“The Bottle Art Lofts project, and others like it, are at the heart of HRI Communities’ mission, and today we celebrate the transformation of a historic part of Lafayette. We long wanted to utilize the creative culture innate to the city as an engine for revitalization, and this was the perfect opportunity to restore the Four Corners neighborhood to its former place as a vibrant, bustling city center,” said Collen. “We now offer current and future residents of the Bottle Art Lofts beautiful, resilient homes in close proximity to downtown Lafayette, with on-site amenities designed to once again foster a true community.”

Long blighted, the Four Corners once stood as a hub of Lafayette community, culture and commerce. The neighborhood at the intersection of Cameron Street/Highway 90 and University Avenue was previously lined with restaurants, a theater and small businesses. The widening of U.S. Highway 90 displaced many cornerstone businesses and led to a decline.

HRI said the Bottle Art Lofts project has transformed the block, providing for rehabilitation of a former Coca-Cola bottling facility along with its associated warehouse building, which are now home to the first phase of the Bottle Art Lofts. 

Guided by LHC’s PRIME program, the Bottle Art Lofts phase two project creates quality housing opportunities for the City of Lafayette with a principal focus on maintaining the habitability of these residential units during and after natural disaster events. 

Located at 1506 Cameron Street, the first phase of the Bottle Art Lofts provides for 40 residential units with amenities including community spaces with a computer center, fitness studio, shared art studio, picnic area, garden space and secure parking. Welcoming its first residents in June of last year, phase one is currently fully occupied.

Today’s ceremony also celebrated the official completion of phase two of the Bottle Art Lofts development, a four-story multifamily apartment building on the former site of the LessPay Motel, which offers 65 spacious mixed-income one- and two-bedroom apartments available in April of this year. Phase two also includes similar amenities to phase one, such as a fitness center, community room and innovative, resilient design features. Interested parties should visit www.bottleartlofts.com to learn more and sign up for the wait list.

Additionally, the Bottle Art Lofts announced in September of last year a new partnership with Acadiana Center for the Arts that features and promotes community-oriented art exhibitions in its MoreArt Gallery.

HRI Communities received awards from the Office of Community Development and the Louisiana Housing Corporation for Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding to facilitate the development of both phases. Additional financial partners include: Iberia Civic Impact Partners as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Federal Historic Tax Credit Investor, Enhanced Capital as the State Historic Tax Credit Purchaser, JP Morgan Chase Bank as the Construction Lender and the Permanent Lender for Phase I, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, LLC as the servicer of a Freddie Mac Tax-Exempt Loan for Phase II, the Louisiana Housing Corporation as Bond Issuer and Housing Finance Agency, and Lafayette Consolidated Government and Acadiana Planning Commission as additional lenders.

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