Major residential project planned for New Orleans region |

Major residential project planned for New Orleans region

AVONDALE, La. – The first major housing investment in the New Orleans region since Hurricane Katrina will come from a California home builder planning a community with as many as 20,000 homes.The venture, called KB Home/Shaw Louisiana LLC, would build new homes “with the goal of providing permanent housing and increased economic development” in Louisiana, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.”We want to rebuild New Orleans,” said Bruce Karatz, chairman and chief executive of KB Home, which has partnered with The Shaw Group of Baton Rouge to buy a 3,000-acre tract near Avondale in Jefferson Parish.The project will be built on a tract being sold by landowner Joseph Marcello. The area has been considered one of the last big tracts in the region suitable for development because of its elevation.”These are major players putting their money where their mouths are,” parish president Aaron Broussard told The Times-Picayune. “They are anticipating a great influx of people coming to Jefferson.”The Shaw Group, a consulting, engineering and construction company, has a ready pool of workers in a labor-short market.”We’ve got the labor,” said Jim Bernhard, Shaw’s chairman and chief executive officer. “I think we can get it done.”Karatz said he will need the cooperation of government officials to expedite the necessary regulatory proceedings.Karatz did not offer a specific completion date and would not reveal its cost. The company would not discuss possible price ranges for the homes. Karatz said the average KB home sells for about $277,000.Other development could occur north of Lake Pontchartrain in the Mandeville-Covington area and in Slidell, said Steve Davis, Gulf Coast president of KB Home.Last year, publicly traded KB Home reported building 31,546 homes across the country, posted revenue of more than $7 billion, and employed about 6,000 people.—

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