Here in Downtown New Orleans, we continued to experience progress and growth. Every year, we are excited to welcome new projects that lend to the vibrancy and appeal of Downtown and 2018 stayed true to form, from the addition of the residential development The Standard in the ever-growing South Market District to the beautiful new Greater New Orleans Foundation Center for Philanthropy to the new Springhill and TownePlace Suites and the revivification of the Jung Hotel and Residences on upper Canal Street.
In retail, 2018 brought the addition of leading brands like Tory Burch, opening its first stand-alone store in Louisiana, and G Star Raw which opened its first and only store in the Gulf region. In all, Downtown has seen over seven billion dollars in investment, including residential which is now at 6,775 units and hotels, which climbed to 20,255 rooms last year.
The DDD has entered an agreement with the City of New Orleans to take over the redevelopment and management of Duncan Plaza, and last year, the DDD began the reactivation of the park with great programming and enhancements, including a new community dog park. Once redeveloped, Duncan Plaza will serve as a natural gathering place for all, hosting events such as concerts, movie screenings and health fairs while continuing to serve as a space for civic activities.
Duncan Plaza is also a signature element of the plan for the Spirit of Charity District, which is being led by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, DDD and many other community partners. The area around the former Charity Hospital will be Downtown’s next walkable, economically vibrant neighborhood, home to housing options across the economic spectrum, woven together using a lattice of green streets, parks & open space, and fueled by industries like academic medicine, tech, and art & culture-based business.
As you know, for the last few years, the DDD has been working to help resolve social issues that impact Downtown. Last year, we had the opportunity to join Mayor Cantrell and other stakeholders in the official ribbon cutting of the low-barrier homeless shelter. This expansion of the Community Resource & Referral Center provides a twenty-four-hour facility, staffed by social workers, case workers and medical professionals tasked with getting the homeless the services they need to get housed and stay housed.
Aiding in that effort, last year the DDD supplemented the services of its full-time homeless outreach specialist by expanding outreach hours to evenings and weekends using a dedicated Public Safety Ranger. As a result, in 2018, 88 people were housed. Also, the DDD partnered with Healing Minds NOLA, Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese, City of New Orleans Department of Health, Metropolitan Human Services District, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and a multitude of mental health and community service providers to establish an Assisted Outpatient Treatment program. AOT is the practice of delivering outpatient treatment under court order to adults with severe mental illness and will serve as an effective tool for providing support to those suffering from severe mental illness while saving taxpayer dollars by reducing hospitalization, arrest and incarceration. The DDD provided funding to accelerate the implementation of a pilot program in Civil District Court. Mayor Cantrell and City Council have committed $100,000 in this year’s budget to continue it.
Through our Clean Team efforts and Public Safety Program Downtown continues to shine as one of the jewels of New Orleans and one of the cleanest, safest neighborhoods in the region. Working to continue that trend, in 2018 we increased our resources for public safety, which includes NOPD Detail, by hiring more Public Safety Rangers and additional Private Patrol hours to increase our daily coverage throughout Downtown. Our public safety team is accessible 24/7, 365 days per year, with DDD Private Patrol focusing on high visibility patrols, interaction with stakeholders, and late-night availability of the DDD’s SafeWalk program which provided 376 free, courtesy escorts to Downtown destinations. We also increased the Clean Team manpower, adding two additional personnel to the evening shift to help address the growing needs of Downtown especially in the Warehouse District, Lafayette Square, South Market and Upper Canal St.
All of these initiatives are key factors in Downtown continuing to be an appealing destination for residents, workers, visitors, and of course, retailers, developers and investors. We at the DDD are immensely proud of the continued growth of Downtown and we thank all of our partners helping in that success. We look forward to continuing this productive partnership and keeping the trend going.