Excerpted from St Rose de Lima: An Adaptive Use Review by Lisa Lynde
In 2014, Shawn Kennedy, Hal Brown’s widow, approached Alembic Community Development, a for-profit developer who focused on socially conscious developments in marginalized neighborhoods by partnering with non-profits. Alembic had just completed a massive rehabilitation to another school building in New Orleans: Myrtle Banks. Myrtle Banks School was a $14 million dollar project that utilized tax credits to transform an unused school building, damaged extensively by fire in 2008, into a fresh food market, office space for nonprofits and a micro-school. The project was recognized by the Louisiana Landmarks Society as well as honored by Novogradac, the Journal of Tax Credits.
When BTC approached Alembic, they were in danger of defaulting on the lease for the property since there was no incoming revenue for the project. Alembic decided to partner with Rose CDC to accomplish much of Brown’s vision. They negotiated with the Archdiocese to purchase the complex and in 2015 they closed on the property for a sum of $550,000. By then HHC was no longer involved with the project, Lagniappe Academies was defunct and CDFI left the project. After quickly determining leasing the church as “event space” was not financially viable long term, they approached Southern Reparatory Theater (SRT) as a possible tenant for the church building. SRT was seeking a permanent home after losing their long-term lease at Canal Place thus being transient for several years. Then Alembic learned of the Waldorf School of New Orleans (WSNO). The private non-profit school was also seeking a permanent home having outgrown their existing location in the Irish Channel neighborhood. After a series of negotiations with both organizations the LOIs were signed in late 2016. In early 2017, Alembic secured Fund17, a nonprofit that works with micro-entrepreneurs, to be the anchor tenant in the wood-frame school building.
Look for history, information, and updates on our future home at the Rose Collaborative on the last Monday of each month. For questions email us.