OLCDC targeted The Gardens Apartments, a distressed Section 8 development, and its surrounding Nile Gardens neighborhood in the City of Opa-locka for a 2011 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) Planning Grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). OLCDC embarked upon an intensive 18-month planning process, culminating in a comprehensive Transformation Plan aimed at making real and sustainable improvements for Nile Gardens' residents, its housing, and the neighborhood as a whole.
The process brought together community stakeholders including residents, service providers, primary and secondary educational institutions, city agencies, property owners, and community and faith-based organizations to work together to develop comprehensive and measurable action plans for implementation. As a result of the planning process, residents of The Gardens Apartments formed a tenant association to address health and safety issues within the apartment complex; neighborhood business owners came together to discuss the development of a Business Improvement District to improve the conditions of the roads surrounding their businesses; and in partnership with the University of Miami's School of Architecture, a public charrette was held to develop a detailed housing plan for the former barrack housing located in northwest Opa-locka. The Transformation Plan was completed in December 2013.