Author Topic: Jacksonville Housing Authority will buy complaint-plagued apartments in Eastside  (Read 3668 times)

thelakelander

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The complaint-ridden Downtown East Apartments, formerly known as Franklin Arms, will get new ownership and management if the Jacksonville Housing Authority completes a purchase of the complex that the city declared a public nuisance in 2022 because of violent crime.

The purchase will be a partnership of the housing authority, the city of Jacksonville and LIFT JAX, an organization working to help residents break the grip of generational poverty in the Eastside neighborhood, located on the opposite side of the Mathews Bridge expressway from the downtown sports complex.

Housing authority board member Heather Horovitz said acquiring the complex and upgrading its apartments could "really transform this part of Jacksonville."

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2023/08/28/jacksonville-housing-authority-set-to-buy-public-nuisance-apartments/70656878007/
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Zac T

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That's great news! This is one of the few places in Jacksonville where I did not feel safe even walking up the steps. Glad to see the city step in and hopefully provide quality living conditions for the tenants

marcuscnelson

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Sounds like LIFT JAX is really making an impact here, they'll have some sort of say on all three of the big issue apartment complexes in that area. Hopefully the safety and quality of life improvements are a big step towards withintrification of the neighborhood.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

marcuscnelson

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Looks like there's even more happening. In addition to the Downtown East, another complex is being bought and another still constructed on the westside.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/news/2023/aug/31/housing-authority-board-oks-3-public-private-partnerships-to-build-rehab-789-units/

I will say, I checked where Westwood Apartments and the proposed Ramona Lofts are and I can't help but worry about the burden we're going to be putting on some of these residents by effectively requiring them to spend the (on average) $10,000 a year to own and drive a car. At least Westwood's entrance is directly adjacent to the (often hourly) Route 13 bus, but Ramona Lofts is essentially at the end of a long alley. We really have to do better with making transit access a key factor in where we're approving housing, especially affordable housing, instead of taking the cheat code of assuming people will just figure out how to afford driving.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

Jax_Developer

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Building a 400+ unit, affordable, site w/ 4-story garden apartments... for $250k a unit is very interesting.

thelakelander

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How low do you think the construction costs per unit should realistically be?
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Jax_Developer

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Two things.. I think the $250k per unit number is all-in costs. But then that leads me the question of.. can't JHA finance projects at government rates? So then that leads me to this..

1st & main.. which was just permitted was at a total project cost of $265k per unit according to the press release. That being an urban project with a 250+ space parking garage, with off-site or underground stormwater.. also remember half the size of the 400+ unit project. Not to mention that project is getting some help so I'd imagine that it isn't an affordable product.

So this 4-story, garden-style apartment project, should easily more than $30k per unit less. I think I'm being generous too. Then that loops me back into my question of... doesn't JHA have better than market rate options for financing? So that gap should be even larger no?

Also this 400 unit project, has no release on the market rate/affordable split which could change my mind. I'm hopeful I'm just wrong and the site conditions are intense.

marcuscnelson

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So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey