DIA Approves $ 8.28M for Apartments in Union Terminal Warehouse Jax Daily Record | Jacksonville Daily Record
The Downtown Investment Authority’s board of directors voted 6-0 on May 19 for a $ 8.28 million incentive agreement for Columbia Ventures LLC’s $ 60.8 million plan to convert the historic Union Terminal Warehouse into apartments.
The Atlanta-based developer plans to convert the 108-year-old warehouse on the outskirts of Downtown and Eastside in Jacksonville into 228 apartments and more than 35,000 square feet of commercial space.
Incentives include unsuccessful and deferred home loans under the Downtown Preservation and Revitalization Program. The agreement must be approved by the city council before Columbia receives the money.
Board member Jim Citrano abstained from voting due to ties to Columbia. Members Bill Adams and Craig Gibbs were absent.
The 7.35-acre Union Terminal Warehouse Package extends across the DIA’s border, but is still eligible for downtown incentive funding.
Steve Kelley, DIA’s director of downtown real estate development, said May 19 that access to Hogans Creek and the proposed 30-mile Emerald Trail makes the southern edge of the property an integral part of the city and DIA’s development goals .
Columbia managing partner Dillon Baynes said the company is working with Emerald Trail project leader, Groundwork Jacksonville, on how the multipurpose route could go through subway tunnels at Union Terminal that were once used for cargo loading.
The 7.35 acre Union Terminal Warehouse at 700 E. Union St. (Google)
Baynes said on May 19 that he and Kay Ehas, CEO of Groundwork, believe tunnels will “create a moment” on the Emerald Trail.
Since the Union Terminal building is outside the Downtown Zoning Overlay District, the DIA project does not require DIA approval by the Downtown Development Review Board.
Ryan Akin, director of development for Columbia Ventures, said May 17 that the building’s National Register of Historic Places requires the building to meet US Department of the Interior standards.
Before the DIA Strategic Implementation Committee voted 5-0 for the Union Terminal deal earlier this week, board member Oliver Barakat said the quality of the project outweighed concerns that the property is “barely” within DIA’s boundaries.
“It’s a great historical rehab project, and because of its size, it’s important not to simply call it the Springfield Project or the East Jacksonville Project,” said Barakat.
“It’s big enough to guarantee a label that it will be a downtown project, regardless of what the package does or not.”
On April 13, the council voted to designate the 330,000 square meter Union Terminal at 700 E. Union St. as a local landmark. This makes Colombia’s project suitable for the DIA program to close financial gaps in historical adaptive reuse projects.
Columbia said it also got National Park Service approval under certain conditions.
The developer wanted $ 9.179 million from the city but negotiated a $ 8.28 million deal with:
• $ 4,246,963 Historic Restoration Loan.
• Forgivable Loan of $ 2,381,671.
• $ 1,657,159 deferred principal loan.
In his report, DIA employees said only $ 52.9 million of the project cost is eligible expense under the program, resulting in less incentive offer. According to the report, $ 7.9 million includes developer fees, expected tenant improvements, and reserves.
The loans would mean that public incentives would make up 13.6% of the total project costs, according to the DIA.
Columbia documents indicate that 70%, or $ 41.21 million, of the workforce and affordable housing project is funded by a 40-year fixed-rate mortgage from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The DIA summary states that $ 10.04 million would come from developer and federal equity for historical tax credits, which is 16.5% of the total project cost.
According to the DIA report, rents in at least 220 housing units are set at or below the HUD maximum of 120% of the region’s median income, according to the DIA.
No less than half of the units will have an initial rent at or below the HUD maximum for 80% of the region’s median income.
Kelley said this qualifies as labor housing, but HUD does not require Columbia to keep rental rates low over the long term.
Past and future
Columbia plans studio, one, two, and three bedroom apartments in the warehouse ranging from 582 square feet to 1,473 square feet.
The communal commercial space will include broker / artist studios within the warehouse to serve 44 tenants, the DIA report said.
Columbia officials said the main building is about 70% leased as of April and is occupied by creative loft space for artists, woodworkers, makers, and manufacturers, according to Columbia.
Ryan Akin, Columbia development director, said these tenants will have to move during construction, but Columbia wants to keep as many makers and artists as possible.
Columbia said Union Terminal will also have 4,205 square feet for a restaurant and coffee shop.
According to the DIA employee report, Columbia plans 292 parking spaces, including 56 covered parking spaces.
If approved by the council, Columbia would have to begin construction under the Economic Development Agreement within six months of receiving its HUD funding.
The company plans to close the federal mortgage by November 26 and lay the foundation by the end of the year, according to documents Columbia filed with DIA.
Turner Construction Co. built the Union Terminal Warehouse from 1912-13. The developer says it was once the largest commercial building in Florida.
According to the report, it was empty for a short time in the 1970s.
The property documents show that the location in E. Union St. 640-648 was expanded until 1990.