Author Topic: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins  (Read 11069 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« on: October 05, 2015, 03:00:02 AM »
Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins



A look inside the remains of a century old downtown Jacksonville rooming house before restoration begins: The Elena Flats Building

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-oct-elena-flats-a-look-inside-before-restoration-begins

Captain Zissou

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2015, 09:09:07 AM »
Wow.  I was interested in the apartments that Ron Chamblin eventually bought, so I toured the building in 2010 and this is about what it looked like.  These buildings have some great promise, but it will really take some vision and a lot of hard work to turn them around.  I'm glad that a few great buildings are being saved from the wrecking ball.

lastdaysoffla

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2015, 01:41:20 PM »
Quote
When complete, the former 22-room rooming house will feature four, high-end, 1,750 square-foot apartment units, each with its own private porch.

Just what downtown needs, more luxury housing aka out of the price range of the people who create a vibrant city.  White collar Range Rover owners who work in the Edge City & more trust fund hipsters is what Downtown Jacksonville needs.. 

Is this trickle-down place making?

Create space for the wealthy and the middle class will eventually want to come downtown??

JCastillo85

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2015, 01:43:54 PM »
When I was stationed at NAS I was a parishioner of Immaculate Conception, I loved that parish and miss the people there! I would always look at the building across the street and think it's a shame that the parish or a private firm does not purchase the building and make use of it. I thought if they had fixed it up nice I wouldn't mind living across a street from where I go to church.

Any idea as to how much they are planning to charge for rent?

Anyhow, it's so good to hear that the older buildings in that area of the city are getting some care. A friend of mine told me that they are beginning plans to renovate Immaculate Conception as well, so it sounds like good news all around on that street.

gerschea@gmail.com

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2015, 02:51:09 PM »
I truly don't mean to be negative, but who the hell is going to want to live here when all this hard work is done? I am sorry there is just nothing attractive around there. With soup kitchens everywhere the residents will be asked for money every time they leave their house, I can say this b/c i work downtown and get asked for money almost daily on my walks. I just see this project as to dis-connected from anything. I mean you are literally plopping in 4 luxury apartments in the middle of nothing, i just cant see demand to high here.

thelakelander

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2015, 03:19:46 PM »
It's two blocks from the Elbow, two blocks from the library and Hemming, 4 blocks from the river, etc. It's essentially just as accessible as living at 11 East or the Parks at the Cathedral. It's just a different housing product being offered.
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UNFurbanist

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 03:22:11 PM »
I kind of agree that "luxury" might not be the best sell for this spot but I guess you need to charge those types of rents to make any money back on the restore. If I wasn't a broke college student I'd look into it! Hope it all goes well.

lastdaysoffla

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 08:10:59 PM »
I think that the downtown needs a variety of places to live. Thats coming from someone who is completely against the negative side of gentrification.


Don't get me wrong, I love that someone is restoring this building. Most assuredly a positive thing. I have often looked at the structure myself with an eye seeing what it could be.

But saving this building by gutting it, slapping a wrap-around porch onto it, branding it as luxury and selling some yuppies the fantasy that they live on Charleston's Rainbow Row or in Downtown Savannah is not the answer to our woes.


What about the Supervisor of Elections parking lot bordering the property to the West? How luxurious, I wonder if the tenants will get a special permit to park there??

acme54321

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2015, 08:38:25 PM »
Who cares?  Really, why do you care?  At the end of the day someone saved this place and is going to renovate it into a usable structure.  They can do whatever they want with it.  It's their money.  I would imagine the route they are taking is probably what they feel is the most feasible way to save the structure and still have a chance at getting a return on their investment.  If the market can't support it they'll find out the hard way, but that's the risk they are taking with their money.  Worst case for the city the structure is restored.  Best case, this spurs redevelopment/restoration of the other two residential structures left on that block.  Where's the problem?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 08:42:28 PM by acme54321 »

thelakelander

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2015, 08:40:31 PM »
I think that the downtown needs a variety of places to live. Thats coming from someone who is completely against the negative side of gentrification.


Don't get me wrong, I love that someone is restoring this building. Most assuredly a positive thing. I have often looked at the structure myself with an eye seeing what it could be.

But saving this building by gutting it, slapping a wrap-around porch onto it, branding it as luxury and selling some yuppies the fantasy that they live on Charleston's Rainbow Row or in Downtown Savannah is not the answer to our woes.


What about the Supervisor of Elections parking lot bordering the property to the West? How luxurious, I wonder if the tenants will get a special permit to park there??

To solve our woes, we need all the infill and restoration at multiple price points. Looking at the images of the structure in its current state, I seriously doubt it could be restored for affordable housing without massive public incentives or the investor burning his money. That's just the reality of market rate development.

Hopefully, if Vestor gets millions in tax credits, the proposed 120-unit Lofts of LaVilla can be built for those who want to live downtown but can't afford or need 1,750 square feet of living space.

Quote
In other business, the DIA also approved a $270,000 loan from the Downtown Economic Development Fund to Vestcor Inc.

The company proposes to build “Lofts at LaVilla,” a $22 million, 120-unit affordable housing development at Lee and Water streets near the Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

Vestcor plans to build affordable apartments that would be leased by Downtown workers and others whose annual salary is 80 percent or less of the state median income.

That calculates to about $49,000 or less for a family of four to qualify for the housing.


The loan, combined with another $270,000 from the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority, represents the minimum required local government support for the project. That will allow Vestcor to apply for federal funds through the Florida Housing Finance Corp.’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

The loan approved by the authority has a 20-year term at 0 percent interest and no installment payments required.

If Vestcor ultimately does not receive the tax credit for the project, the city will not be liable for the loan.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php?topic=25365.0
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Gunnar

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2015, 05:36:58 AM »
I think that the downtown needs a variety of places to live. Thats coming from someone who is completely against the negative side of gentrification.


Don't get me wrong, I love that someone is restoring this building. Most assuredly a positive thing. I have often looked at the structure myself with an eye seeing what it could be.

But saving this building by gutting it, slapping a wrap-around porch onto it, branding it as luxury and selling some yuppies the fantasy that they live on Charleston's Rainbow Row or in Downtown Savannah is not the answer to our woes.

If there is a stock of still habitable buildings then yes, cheap loft style apartments could be offered. Unfortunately, I don't think there is much of that. Most empty DT buildings will probably require a considerate investment to bring them back to habitable standard if you want to keep the existing structure.

Problem is that if you then offer low rent apartments you will never recoup your initial investment.

At least the Elena Flats were sold for what I find to be a realistic price - once the building is past a certain state, that should be the land value minus the demolition and disposal costs unless the building has some very special features and / or is a landmark. Otherwise, restoring the existing structure would be considerably more expensive than building new.
Looking at some other structures in DT, I find the asking price to be too high already - look at e.g. the Jones Bros Furniture Building on 520 Hogan St. I think it's totally cool and would make for great retail + apartments but @ $900k it just seems to pricey as it will probably need a lot of work and $$$ to bring it back.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 01:11:46 PM by Gunnar »
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BackinJax05

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2015, 10:32:57 AM »
Glad to see this place will be spared, & get a better life. Sadly, the Phelps building next door wasn't so lucky.

Anyway, here's a thought: Build a deck on the roof for the residents. Cant think of a better place to fire up the grill & mingle with the neighbors over a few beers, steaks, chops, and/or chicken - except perhaps a rooftop deck on the old Barnett Bank building if those plans ever come to fruition.

vicupstate

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2015, 01:06:21 PM »
Godspeed to the owner/investor for taking on such a challenging project.  The units are quite large, the other similar projects around town would probably do 6 or 7 units within that square footage.  i hope it is a total success and the Church sees what it couldn't before.     
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Wombley Womberly

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2015, 02:37:35 PM »
Time will tell. The developer could run out of money before the restoration is complete. I wouldn't consider living downtown, and I wonder if there's sufficient demand.

Did the developer get tax incentives and grants?

Tacachale

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Re: Elena Flats: A Look Inside Before Restoration Begins
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2015, 03:21:30 PM »
The demand for downtown housing greatly outpaces housing supply. The available options stay virtually full. The real question is if the demand is there for the rents that will be necessary to cover the costs of a major project like this. It's risky, but kudos to these guys to giving it a shot.
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