Atlanta-based Columbia Ventures LLC is negotiating with the city for $ 9.2 million in funding for its proposed $ 61 million adaptive reuse of the historic Union Terminal Warehouse near east Jacksonville.
An April 15 statement from Columbia and documents it submitted to the Downtown Investment Authority describe a 228-unit mixed-use redevelopment of the 108-year-old warehouse at 700 E. Union St.
The workforce and affordable housing will allow Columbia to finance about 70% of the project with a 40-year fixed-rate insured mortgage from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the documents say.
In its report to the DIA, Columbia officials said the market effects of COVID-19 required “a pivot” from private funding to HUD-backed funding.
âSaving this magnificent old building and giving it new life inspired by decades of serving small businesses is a difficult undertaking that took years of planning and work on capitalizing it,â said Dillon Baynes, Managing Partner on April 15 by Columbia Ventures. declaration sent by e-mail.
City council voted on April 13 to designate the 330,000 square foot Union Terminal as a local landmark. This makes the Columbia project eligible for the DIA’s Downtown Preservation and Revitalization Program.
The company says it wants $ 9.2 million from the deferred principal and the forgivable loan and grant program, although DIA’s director of real estate and downtown development Steve Kelley said in an email that the city’s condition sheet for the deal was not complete.
Columbia also plans to pay about 15% of the project through the federal equity historical tax credit.
In search of historical status
The developer states in his report to the DIA that the state’s historic conservation office has approved his application for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
Columbia said it also received approval from the National Park Service under conditions.
Turner Construction Co. built Union Terminal Warehouse from 1912 to 1913. The developer says it was once the largest commercial building built in Florida.
It was vacant for a brief period in the 1970s, according to the report.
Property records show that additions to the 640-648 E. Union St. site continued until 1990.
The Columbia report says the project was on track to start construction with traditional funding in the third quarter of 2020, but experienced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.
If the developer meets its Nov. 26 goal of closing the financing and starting construction, Columbia says the Union Terminal rehabilitation will be completed in the summer of 2023.
Columbia is planning studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments in the warehouse.
The developer also wishes to develop 20,233 square feet of community commercial space inside the warehouse to serve 44 tenants.
Another 24,607 square feet would be designer / artist studios for 11 tenants and 4,205 square feet for a restaurant and cafe.
Columbia intends to keep the water tower as a design element on the rooftop terrace which will include a community garden. He also plans to restore one of the industrial freight elevators inside the warehouse.
Other apartment amenities are listed as washer / dryer connections in the unit; a large fitness studio; individual conference rooms; an arcade room; a DIY store area; and charging stations for electric vehicles.
Columbia officials say the community shopping space is aimed at startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The main building is now 90% leased and occupied by creative loft spaces for artists, woodworkers, fabricators and makers, according to Columbia.
The other buildings have offices, auto repair services and rented storage space.
Baynes said in January he wanted to keep as many creative tenants as possible.
The developer estimates that the commercial space will support 262 permanent part-time and full-time jobs and 150 construction jobs.
Columbia purchased the property in December 2018 through East Union Property Owner LLC for $ 4.6 million.
The company secured a $ 4.5 million mortgage from the Jacksonville branch of Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, as part of its acquisition pre-development loan program.
The property is in a Federal Opportunity Zone. Columbia told DIA staff that it intends to own Union Terminal for at least 10 years in order to reap the full benefits of this program.
The documents show that the project partners include:
â Dasher Hurst Architects
â McVeigh & Mangum Engineering Inc.
â Cabinet of structural engineers Atlantic Engineering Services
â Civil engineering firm Prosser Inc.
â Pilot, McAfee, Hawthorne and Diebenow
â Environmental company Geosyntec Consultants
Part of the city center?
The 7.35 acre Union Terminal Warehouse package straddles the DIA boundary.
While a majority of the site is outside of what the city defines as downtown, Lori Boyer, CEO of DIA, said Union Terminal was still eligible for downtown financial incentives.
Boyer said on April 15 that the downtown preservation and revitalization program was worded so that an entire parcel would be eligible for incentives, even though some might be outside the area. Northbank Town Center Community Redevelopment Project.
Boyer said DIA staff are interested in how the development will interact with Hogans Creek and the future Emerald Trail which are adjacent to the property.
Baynes said the trail helped spark Columbia’s interest in the Union Terminal package.
âWhen we’re done, the historic adaptive reuse will put it on the right track for decades to come,â Baynes said.
âThe potential of Emerald Trail sealed the deal on our desire to own and redevelop the property.â
The project had previously been reported as up to 750,000 square feet of residential and non-residential use in existing or new buildings. This would have allowed up to 473 dwellings.
Baynes said that although the property’s zoning allows for this scale, the latest proposal “indicates the approach for the foreseeable future – massive in itself.”