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Jax Daily Record Friday, Apr. 27, 201805:30 AM EST

Eureka Gardens becoming Valencia Way

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City is reviewing $17.3M in renovations for apartments.

Owners of Eureka Gardens Apartments, a subsidized apartment complex in West Jacksonville that struggled with conditions, seek city approvals for $17.26 million in renovations and a new name — Valencia Way.

NEI General Contracting Inc. of Ocoee is the contractor. Dimit Architects of Lakewood, Ohio, is the architect.

Plans show 38 apartment buildings and a clubhouse, laundry and maintenance facility will be renovated at the 1214 Labelle St. project.

Permits submitted for review describe a “moderate rehabilitation” equal to about $22,500 a unit.

A project summary shows the project will consist of the renovation of units in 38-two-story apartment buildings on about 23.6 acres. 

Work will include several parking lots, a community building, maintenance building and laundry building.

It said that upon completion, the complex will comprise about 400 one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Daily Record news partner WJXT TV-4 reported in February 2017 that the troubled Eureka Gardens apartment complex and other subsidized housing properties were under new management as the Millennia Group took them over.

Ohio-based Millennia Group was buying the portfolio of properties from Global Ministries Foundation. 

A rendering of the Valencia Apartments, formerly known as Eureka Gardens.

Building-permit applications list the owner as GMF Jacksonville Pool LLC, based in Cordova, Tennessee, while plans identify the owner as Millennia Housing Development Ltd. of Cleveland, Ohio.

Millennia Companies, founded in 1995, specializes in the acquisition, rehabilitation and management of affordable and market rate properties, TV-4 reported.

The news station said Global Ministries Foundation was under scrutiny since its reporting team exposed living conditions at the apartments that led to a city code enforcement raid that found crumbling staircases, gas leaks, mold and other problems. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had the property re-inspected and the conditions led to visits to the property by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and a meeting in Washington, D.C., between city leaders and HUD officials, Channel 4 said.

WJCT 89.9-FM reported in October that City Council unanimously voted to authorize the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority to issue up to $90 million in bonds for Millennia to buy and rehabilitate four Jacksonville low-income apartment complexes, including Eureka Gardens. 

The four complexes were owned by Global Ministries Foundation and were being managed by the Millennia Housing Management, which WJCT reported was the company set to close on the purchase of the complexes.

Millennia has been overseeing the complexes since December 2016, according to the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority. WJCT reported that bonds should be issued this spring to finance the rehabilitation of the projects.

A Housing Finance Authority financial adviser said Millennia would invest an average of $50,000 per unit into rehabilitation.

Plans show the almost 400 units will consist of 93 one-bedroom, one-bath units; 186 two-bedroom, one-bath units; 98 three-bedroom, two-bath units; seven accessible one-bedroom, one-bath units; seven accessible two-bedroom, two-bath units; and six accessible three-bedroom, one-bathroom units. Eight units for hearing-impaired tenants also are provided.

Each of the two-story, masonry-clad and aluminum siding apartment buildings will be renovated and improved for new windows and doors, it said.

The plan said new roofing, entry porches and stairs, exterior cladding and trim, landscaping and site amenity work.

“New covered entry stair/porch/balcony configurations will be provided to create a variety of building looks throughout the complex,” plans show.

Interior renovations will include complete unit interior upgrades with new furnaces and central air conditioning, eco-friendly cabinets and countertops, EnergyStar appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting and finishes.

For the community, a renovated community building, gardens, small trellis structures, fences, lighting, signage, site furniture and landscaping, walking paths, dumpster pads and fences, two mail kiosks, playgrounds and a recreational playground for older children will be among the site improvements.

Eurekagardensapts.com shows that rental rates for one-bedroom units are $574-$653; for two-bedrooms, $701-$725; and for three-bedrooms, $810.

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