The Lofts at Monroe apartments officially opened Thursday with its 108 units occupied and a waiting list.
“What’s amazing about this isn’t just what it’s doing here in this footprint but how it plays into the larger vision of how we change our city,” said Brian Hughes, chief of staff for Mayor Lenny Curry and interim CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority.
Hughes referred to the city and JAX Chamber’s goal of increasing the number of residents Downtown.
“It’s really what will transform our Downtown,” Hughes said. “And if our Downtown is transformed, the whole city gets transformed because economic opportunity will go out in all directions.”
The Lofts at Monroe is the second Lofts project Downtown for The Vestcor Companies. They are affordable housing projects.
The five-story building at 906 W. Monroe St. includes a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units. Rent rates are between $688 to $881.
The project was financed by Wells Fargo through the state’s Housing Finance Corp. tax credit program. Units can only be rented to low-income earners making 60 percent or less of the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area median wage, $69,900.
Summit Contracting Group Inc. built the project in about 13 months at a cost of about $13 million. Residents began to move in Nov. 1 and it was fully occupied within one month, Vestcor officials said.
Amenities include a fitness room, internet cafe, resident lounge and a dog walk area.
Vestcor, which has several affordable housing projects in Florida, has three “Lofts” projects in the LaVilla neighborhood and one in Brooklyn.
The first, also completed, is Lofts at LaVilla, a 130-unit community across from the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
Construction of the third, Lofts at Jefferson Station, began in early October at 799 Water St. The Jefferson Station project will have 133 low-income and workforce housing units. Workforce housing is for residents making up to 140 percent of that median income.
Vestcor President Steve Moore and Ryan Hoover, who leads the firm’s affordable housing division as president of TVC Development, also are working on another Lofts project in Brooklyn at Spruce and Jackson streets.
Moore said the projects would not be possible without the support of the city, JAX Chamber and others.
He said tenants of the 108 units now can “come home to something they are proud of” without having to spend 50 to 60 percent of their income on rent.
JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis said it was beneficial to build workforce housing before “big development takes off.”
“We will have the ability for firefighters, teachers and police officers to have affordable living Downtown,” he said.