The first round of a competition for the redevelopment rights of the city’s last major pre-Katrina public housing complex – the Iberville development – closed today.

Interested developers had until 2 p.m. to present their qualifications to work with the Housing Authority of New Orleans.

About 40 developers attended a pre-submission conference held Aug. 25 at HANO’s Touro Street headquarters, HRI Properties CEO and President Pres Kabacoff told The Lens after the meeting. An agency spokesman did not return calls or e-mails Monday asking how many developers submitted applications.

The solicitation for developers comes as the city scrambles to assemble an application for federal grant money through a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program,  the Choice Neighborhood Initiative. In April, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, speaking to a crowd of visiting urban planners in New Orleans, cited Iberville as a place ideal for the new program, which aims to transform neglected low-income developments into mixed-income communities with better access to higher-performing public schools, jobs, retail, parks and public transportation. This year, HUD will award approximately $3 million in planning grants and $62 million in redevelopment grants for the program, which is widely seen as President Barack Obama’s flagship urban redevelopment policy initiative. The deadline is Oct. 26.

While other applications are expected to come from Central City organizers and the developers of the mixed-income Columbia Parc development that replaced the St. Bernard public housing development, the Landrieu administration told The Times-Picayune that it plans to partner with HANO’s Iberville team on the application.

“We are specifically partnering with HANO on the redevelopment of Iberville for HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program because it offers another transformative opportunity for our citizens and replicates the great models currently at work in New Orleans,” Landrieu spokeman Ryan Berni told the T-P.

Meanwhile, a report released Monday by the federal housing agency shows a region still reeling from Hurricane Katrina. Using data collected in interviews done in 2009 with residents of more than 3,000 housing units in the Greater New Orleans metro area, HUD estimates that more than 80 percent of the area’s residents were forced to move by the storm and the subsequent loss if 75,000 units of housing.  Approximately 12 percent still considered themselves in flux in 2009, according to the HUD report.