At a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for Vestcor Companies Inc.’s third apartment complex in LaVilla, community leaders spoke about the increasing need for workforce housing in Downtown Jacksonville.
Vestcor President Steve Moore said he hopes the project – Lofts at Jefferson Station – and plans for additional communities like it will fill that gap.
Vestcor’s first “Lofts” project – Lofts at LaVilla – was built for people making less than 60 percent of the median income, $69,900 in Duval County. Rental rates range from $686 for a studio to $1,015 for a three-bedroom unit.
The Lofts at Jefferson Station at 799 Water St. will have a different mix. Of its 133 units, 80 will be reserved for lower-income residents and 53 will be workforce housing for residents making up to 140 percent of that median income.
For example, a family of four couldn’t make more than $97,860, according to the Florida Housing Finance Corp. Vestcor officials said rental rates have not been set for Lofts at Jefferson Station.
The Florida Housing Finance Corp. sets rental rates in addition to the income limits for affordable and workforce housing. A family of four couldn’t be charged more than $1,837 a month for a one-bedroom apartment or $2,544 for a three-bedroom unit.
New JAXUSA Partnership President Aundra Wallace said the income ceiling describes people like waitresses, secretaries, accountants and project managers who desire to live and work in an urban environment.
Lofts at Jefferson Station is estimated to take about a year to build, said Moore and Ryan Hoover, the president of Vestcor’s TVC Development.
They hope to have it ready by the fall of 2019.
Amenities will include a fitness center, internet cafe, resident lounge and a dog park. There will be a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
The construction cost is $17 million. Summit Contracting Group Inc. will build the five-story, 189,642 square-foot building.
Moore and Hoover said the company knew there was demand, but didn’t realize how much until they built the first Lofts project, which is adjacent to the newest building on Water Street.
The company’s second project, Lofts at Monroe, should be ready for renters by Nov. 1 and will have a similar mix of affordable and workforce units.
Moore and Hoover said the company is working with city officials and others on the Lofts at Brooklyn at Spruce and Jackson streets. If approved, that project would also be a mixed-income property, they said.