Vestcor seeks a $625,000 DIA loan for Lofts at Cathedral

The $28.8 million multifamily housing development is applying for state tax credits for the 120-unit development.

The former Community Connections building could become the Lofts at Cathedral multifamily housing project.
The former Community Connections building could become the Lofts at Cathedral multifamily housing project.
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The Downtown Investment Authority will consider issuing a development loan to Jacksonville-based Vestcor Inc. for its proposed Lofts at Cathedral multifamily housing project.

DIA’s Strategic Implementation Committee will take up the request Aug. 17 for a $625,000 loan for the $28.8 million new construction and adaptive reuse project at 325 and 327 E. Duval St. 

 The 20-year loan at 1% interest would be through the DIA Northbank CRA Loan Program.

Vestcor purchased the former Community Connections building and adjacent property for $1.4 million in September 2019 and Feb. 28,  2020, respectively, from Billy Goat Hill Inc., a subsidiary of the nonprofit Cathedral District-Jax Inc.

Vestcor bought the 1.25-acre property through VC Cathedral LLC, according to Duval County Clerk of Courts records.

According to the tentative agreement, 90 units would be new construction with the remaining 30 from redevelopment of the Community Connections building.

The DIA loan is a qualification for the project to be eligible for the Florida Housing Finance Corp.’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, the documents state. 

Vestcor told the DIA that 57 of the units will meet the state’s qualifications for affordable housing, 27 units will be workforce housing and 36 apartments will rent at market rate. 

Lofts at Cathedral will vie for $17.7 million in state tax credits for the project and will be scored against 57 other developments, the term sheet states.

Built in 1949, the Community Connections building was part of the Florence Davis YWCA and was awarded local landmark status in June 2017, according to the DIA. Vestcor told city officials it plans to apply for a $400,000 grant from the city Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

The development agreement between Vestcor and the city caps local taxpayer-backed incentives at $1.025 million. 

Vestcor will contribute $9.25 million in debt financing for the development. It will defer its $766,032 developer fee.

If the committee approves the development agreement during its Aug. 17 meeting, it will move to the full DIA board. The deal also must be approved by City Council.

DIA awarded development rights to the Community Connections building to Vestcor in August 2019.




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