The Downtown Investment Authority Board of Directors voted 6-0 on May 19 to support an $ 8.28 million incentive deal for Columbia Ventures LLC’s $ 60.8 million plan to convert the historic Union Terminal Warehouse in apartments.
The Atlanta-based developer wants to reuse the 108-year-old warehouse on the edge of Jacksonville’s Downtown and Eastside neighborhoods into 228 apartments and more than 35,000 square feet of retail space.
Incentives include repayable and deferred principal loans as part of the city’s downtown preservation and revitalization program. The deal must be approved by city council before Columbia receives the money.
Board member Jim Citrano abstained from voting due to dealings with Columbia. Members Bill Adams and Craig Gibbs were absent.
Union Terminal Warehouse’s 7.35-acre parcel straddles DIA boundaries, but remains eligible for downtown incentive funding.
Steve Kelley, DIA’s director of downtown real estate development, said on May 19 that access to Hogans Creek and the proposed 30-mile Emerald Trail makes the southern edge of the property an integral part of the city and its goals. development of DIA.
Columbia managing partner Dillon Baynes said the company is working with project manager Emerald Trail Groundwork Jacksonville on how the multi-use path could pass through the “subway” tunnels at Union Terminal once used for cargo loading. .
Baynes said on May 19 that he and Groundwork CEO Kay Ehas believe the tunnels will “create a moment” on the Emerald Trail.
Since the Union Terminal building sits outside the downtown zoning overlay district, DIA staff say the project design will not require approval from the Development Review Board. downtown.
Columbia Ventures’ director of development Ryan Akin said on May 17 that the building’s National Register of Historic Places designation would require it to meet U.S. Department of the Interior standards.
Ahead of the DIA Strategic Implementation Committee’s 5-0 vote in favor of the Union Terminal deal earlier this week, board member Oliver Barakat said the quality of the project outweighed any concerns that the property âbarely sitsâ within DIA boundaries.
âIt’s such a large historic rehabilitation project and its size makes it important where you can’t just call it a Springfield project or an East Jacksonville project,â Barakat said.
“It’s big enough to warrant a label saying it’s also a downtown project, regardless of what the package does or doesn’t do.”
The Commission voted on April 13 to designate the 330,000 square foot Union Terminal at 700 E. Union St. as a local landmark. This makes the Columbia project eligible for the DIA program intended to fill the financial gaps of historic adaptive reuse projects.
Columbia said it also received approval from the National Park Service under conditions.
The developer wanted $ 9.179 million from the city, but negotiated an $ 8.28 million deal with a:
â¢ Discount loan of $ 4,246,963 for historic restoration.
â¢ $ 2,381,671 rebate loan for code compliance.
â¢ Deferred loan of $ 1,657,159.
In its report, DIA staff said that only $ 52.9 million of project costs are eligible expenses under the program, resulting in a lower incentive offer. The report says $ 7.9 million includes development costs, expected tenant improvements and reserves.
The loans would mean that public incentives pay 13.6% of the overall cost of the project, according to the DIA.
Columbia documents show that 70%, or $ 41.21 million, of the workforce and affordable housing project would be funded by a 40-year fixed-rate insured mortgage from the US Department of Housing and Government. Urban development.
The DIA summary indicates that $ 10.04 million would come from the developer and the historic federal tax credit, or 16.5% of the total cost of the project.
The DIA report says rents for at least 220 apartments will be set at or below the maximum HUD of 120 percent of the region’s median income, according to the DIA.
No less than half of the units will have initial rents at or below the HUD maximum for 80% of the area’s median income.
Kelley said this constituted housing for the workforce, but Colombia would not be forced by HUD to keep rental rates low over the long term.
Past and future
Columbia is planning studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments in the warehouse ranging from 582 square feet to 1,473 square feet.
The community commercial space will include designer / artist studios inside the warehouse to serve 44 tenants, the DIA report says.
Columbia officials said that in April, the main building was about 70% leased and occupied by creative loft spaces for artists, woodworkers, fabricators and manufacturers, according to Columbia.
Columbia Development Director Ryan Akin said those tenants will have to move out during construction, but Columbia wants to keep as many manufacturers and artists as possible.
Columbia said Union Terminal will also have 4,205 square feet for a restaurant and cafe.
The DIA staff report said Columbia is planning 292 parking spaces, including 56 covered spaces.
If approved by council, the economic development agreement would require Colombia to begin construction within six months of receiving its HUD funding.
The company wants to close the federal mortgage by Nov. 26 and take stock by the end of the year, according to documents Columbia filed with the DIA.
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.