Jacksonville Housing Authority raises first bond money to buy Westside apartments

The 256-unit Westwood Apartments will be upgraded and leased to individuals or families meeting median income guidelines.

The Jacksonville Housing Authority acquired the 256-unit Westwood Apartments at 1171 Lane Ave. S.
The Jacksonville Housing Authority acquired the 256-unit Westwood Apartments at 1171 Lane Ave. S.
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The Jacksonville Housing Authority announced Feb. 13 it raised $41 million in its first general revenue bond offering. 

Proceeds from the sale are being used to acquire and renovate the 256-unit Westwood Apartments at 1171 Lane Ave. S.

The authority paid $35.85 million for the property Feb. 12, buying it from Interwest Capital Group, which owned the site through Deerfield Intervest Holdings LLC, Deerfield MBFT LLC and Deerfield JS LLC, all of La Jolla, California.

Interwest Chairman and CEO Alex Roudi signed the deed.

Westwood, built in 1989, comprises 17 apartment buildings, a clubhouse, leasing office and maintenance building on 25.3 acres.

It has 120 one-bedroom units, 120 two-bedroom units and 16 three-bedroom units.

“This really is a momentous occasion for the Jacksonville Housing Authority,” said JHA Vice Chair Heather Horovitz in the news release.

“Issuing bonds is an innovative way for us to finance our mission, which is to provide much-needed affordable housing for the city’s low- and moderate-income residents.”

The release said the bond issuance marks a significant milestone in the authority’s mission to address the affordable housing crisis.

“With the support of dedicated investors and partners, we have successfully secured $41 million in bond funding, ensuring a substantial resource that will empower us to revitalize and expand affordable housing offerings,” the release said.

The 256-unit Westwood Apartments at 1171 Lane Ave. S.

Mayor Donna Deegan said in the release that one of her administration’s top priorities is to address Jacksonville’s housing crisis. 

“As we launch new programs and implement new strategies to tackle this challenge on all fronts, we welcome projects like this one that will increase the supply of affordable housing within our community,” Deegan said.

Authority acting CEO Vanessa Dunn said in the release that the venture represents its vision for affordable housing.

“By issuing these bonds, the JHA underscores its dedication to fostering a fair and vibrant community for all residents, irrespective of income,” Dunn said.

The authority and its development partner, Atlanta-based The Integral Group, will make upgrades to heating and air conditioner units, appliances, flooring, stairways, roofing and the pool.

City Affordable Housing Director Joshua Hicks said it is “vitally important that we increase the affordable housing inventory in Jacksonville.”

“Repairing and rehabilitating existing properties is one of the key tactics to reach that goal as quickly as possible,” Hicks said.

The authority will manage the property and be responsible for leasing, maintenance and marketing. 

About 82% of the units will be rented to individuals or families earning less than 80% of the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area average median income and the balance to those earning less than 140% of median income, the release said.

The release said the net operating income from Westwood Apartments and the Jacksonville Housing Authority general revenue will be used to repay the bonds. The city is not responsible for the repayment of the bonds, it said.

Piper Sandler & Co. served as underwriter. Bryant Miller Olive served as bond counsel and disclosure counsel. 

Established in 1994, JHA provides about 2,311 public housing units and 1,000 affordable housing units to low- and moderate-income residents in developments and scattered sites around Jacksonville. 

It also administers about 8,300 housing choice vouchers.

The mayor appoints the seven-member board of commissioners that governs the authority.

Dunn is acting CEO after former CEO Dwayne Alexander submitted his resignation letter Jan. 29 to the board of commissioners more than a month after he came under fire following the release of a city investigation into the agency.

His resignation followed the resignation of two housing authority board members.

A city Office of Inspector General report released in December said the agency wasted government funds when it loaded money onto Jacksonville housing tenant utility reimbursement payment cards but the money wasn’t spent on utility expenses.



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