News > Blog > Partner Spotlight: Iris Development Dedicated to Strong Communities

Partner Spotlight: Iris Development Dedicated to Strong Communities

By Green Coast on 18 Dec 2018

Working with like-minded people and organizations. There’s probably a more formal way of expressing this notion, but it pretty much sums up Iris Development ‘s business philosophy. Co-founder Curtis Doucette says he and his partners, Immanuel Gilen and Wendy Hoffman, first met when they were enrolled in Columbia University’s master’s program in real estate development.

“We were in school together, but we also all lived in Harlem, so we became close taking the shuttle home, and hanging out together,” Doucette says.

They discovered they shared a number of core convictions when it came to real estate projects. They believed strongly in sustainable and equitable development that helps the community, solves problems, benefits its residents, and focuses on partnering with minority investors, developers and contractors.

Following graduation, the three started Iris Development and immediately responded to a request for proposals from New Orleans soft second mortgage program. Mayor Landrieu’s office approved Iris’ proposal, which allowed the new firm to renovate blighted, storm-damage homes in New Orleans East that provided homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers, many of whom were African American.

The successful first project showed the partners that not only did they share core beliefs, but they also had complementary skill sets. Native son Doucette has a great deal of practical experience as an owner/operator and working in the New Orleans community; Gilen is adept at technical research and coordinating with attorneys and investors; and Hoffman, an architect, specializes in building design, lead fundraiser and materials for investors.

The firm has continued its track record of developing high quality housing in diverse neighborhoods. Not limited to the New Orleans market, Iris recently entered into an agreement with New York City to produce more than 100 housing units, which will be a mixture of affordable apartment units and affordable homeownership.

New Orleans remains a home base of operations, and Iris is working with Green Coast on a couple of projects. As Doucette explains, the two firms are interested in sustainability, and Green Coast’s GCE Services is serving as a green building consultant for five properties that Iris is redeveloping through the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority. Plus, Iris and Green Coast announced plans to develop a 70-unit mixed income apartment building in the Bywater neighborhood.

Like his firm’s founding, Doucette, says the partnership has a firm grounding in shared principles like strong communities and affordability.

“We all care about affordability and we both look to our projects to help solve the housing problem that the city faces,” Doucette says.

Iris and Green Coast hope to break ground on the Bywater development in the first quarter of 2019. The project will include affordably priced units.

Categories: Miscellaneous

Post a Comment