'Commercial developers gone wild' in the Big Easy

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With levees, roads and other infrastructure restored with the help of $120.5 billion in federal aid, commercial real estate transactions in New Orleans were up 41 percent from 2011 to 2012, to $424.7 million, Bloomberg Businessweek reports, citing data from Real Capital Analytics.

Ekistics CEO Sean Cummings has developed 18 projects in his hometown, including condos and luxury lofts, and is currently planning to build a new residential complex on a vacant lot. New York-based Domain Companies is building a five-story apartment, restaurant and retail building that’s part of a $200 million mixed-use project.

But James Perry, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, tells Bloomberg that eight years after Hurricane Katrina hit, African-American neighborhoods are still “suffering dramatically and are nowhere near recovery.” Most investment has been “in the neighborhoods that have suffered the least damage, and they tend to be the neighborhoods with the highest income and the neighborhoods that are the least diverse.” Source: businessweek.com.