Liberty Bank, Black Athletes Team Up for Affordable Housing

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By Morgan Lawrence

At the corner of North Johnston Street and St. Bernard Avenue in New Orleans’ historic Seventh Ward neighborhood, the third largest African-American-owned financial institution in America, Liberty Bank, announced a joint venture with CGG, LLC– a partnership among high-profile, Black athletes from the NFL and the NBA– to fund and build affordable and senior citizen housing.

Liberty and CGG held a press conference Wednesday, March 22 to announce the plans.

The housing complex will be built on property owned by Liberty Bank at the site of its former branch on St. Bernard Avenue. The project expects to start construction soon and is scheduled to be completed before the end of 2018. In addition to housing for senior citizens along with affordable and market rate units, the multi-storied complex will retail and commercial space in  an effort to spur economic growth in the historically Black neighborhood. The complex is expected to cost $10 million to develop and is expected to include at least 75 residential units.

With this and other projects like it around the country, CGG investors, Kevin Garnett (retired Minnesota Timberwolves), Devean George (retired Los Angeles Lakers), Charles Johnson (Carolina Panthers), and New Orleans’ Saints very own, Ted Ginn, Jr., are more than athletes.  They are advocates for the community, and although they are not from New Orleans, they say contributing to the revival of the community is important and reminds them of where they came from.  Saints wide receiver, Ted Ginn Jr., has made it his mission to invest in the community that roots for him every Sunday.

In addition to the local development, Liberty Bank is working with CGG on three other projects underway including a 172-unit development in Augusta, GA, an 85-unit development with commercial space in Warrenville, SC, and a mixed-use development of 47 residential units and commercial space in Minneapolis, MN. Liberty Bank has committed to working with the partnership to provide quality, affordable housing throughout the country.

President and CEO of Liberty Bank, Alden McDonald, says is especially proud that the projects’ investors are African American.  

“It was visioned by us, financed by us, and built by us,” McDonald said at Wednesday’s press conference. 

In a printed statement, McDonald added, “This project will stimulate growth and provide decent affordable housing for the people who make New Orleans the wonderful unique place that it is. We are thrilled to be working with socially conscious African American partners who are committed to making life better for our community.”

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