Broome’s proposed $ 6 million investment in Housing for Heroes raises questions

As Metropolitan Council members begin to delve into Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s spending plan for the $ 73 million US bailout going to Baton Rouge, they begin to ask questions.

Board member Dwight Hudson is among those who emailed Broome asking for more information on certain elements of the budget supplement, first presented at the October 13 board meeting. Councilor Rowdy Gaudet has a meeting with the mayor on the matter later today.

Among the allocations they are asking for is a $ 6 million allotment for an $ 11 million mixed-use affordable housing development in north Baton Rouge called Housing for Heroes.

What is the program about?

According to the mayor’s office, the project will be a 51,000 square foot mixed-use development with 36 affordable one, two and three bedroom units for essential workers and low and moderate income professionals. The development will be located in Scotlandville at the intersection of Scenic Highway and Scotland Avenue. The $ 6 million will be used to provide additional financing for the construction of the project.

“The Community Development Office (East Baton Rouge Parish) and its stakeholders are reviewing the entire north side of town, which has the majority of the jurisdictional scourge, the highest concentration of poverty and other challenges of community development, ”Broome said. spokesman Mark Armstrong said in a statement. “Housing for Heroes is available to our local frontline medical workers to live and work close to our most vulnerable communities. The development will provide much needed affordable housing, promote economic development through its commercial space and encourage health professionals to stay in the area.

According to the budget supplement presented to the board last week, the developer of the proposed project is KMT Holding and Development, which is owned by Bradly Brown, a Baton Rouge native and former Capitol High School football star, who played for the University of Louisiana. . -Lafayette ten years ago.

In the years that followed, Brown became a real estate developer and investor in various companies, the KMT Web page said. The site lists several projects in the company’s portfolio, although only three single-family residential renovations appear to have been completed. The other projects appear to be computer renderings.

There is no text with the images to explain what KMT has done with these projects or where, specifically, they are located.

Brown did not return calls seeking comment.

It is not known how Broome chose KMT to be the developer for the project. Armstong says the idea “grew organically from conversations with the developer.”

Hudson wonders why a private developer should receive ARP funding from the parish town.

It is not known if Broome’s program ties into the Louisiana Housing Corporation’s Housing Heroes program of the same name, although they have different missions.

According to the LHC website, Housing Heroes, announced last December, aims to provide immediately available affordable housing (existing units) to households leaving non-congregational shelters and those affected by natural disasters.

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