Big Renovations Approved By Council For 4 Jacksonville Low-Income Apartment Complexes

Oct 25, 2017

Updated at 6 p.m. on 10/23/17
Updated at 11:30 a.m. on 10/25/17

The Jacksonville City Council unanimously voted to authorize the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority to issue up to $90 million in bonds for a company to acquire and rehabilitate four Jacksonville low-income apartment complexes, including Eureka Gardens. 

The vote of 17-0 happened at Tuesday's meeting. Council members had voted in favor of the bill at two committee meetings last week.

The complexes affected -- Eureka Gardens, Moncrief Village, Washington Heights and Southside Apartments -- are owned by Global Ministries Foundation, but are being managed by the Millennia Housing Management, which is the company set to close on the purchase of the complexes by the end of the year.

Millennia has been overseeing the complexes since December 2016, according to the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority.

At last week’s Neighborhoods, Community Services, Public Health & Safety Committee meeting, Councilman Greg Anderson was optimistic about the future of the apartments.

“They’re going to rename Eureka, they’re going to rebrand all these. They’re going to significantly invest in this,” Anderson said. “This is great news."

Housing Finance Authority Financial Advisor Mark Hendrickson said at the meeting, Millennia will be putting an average of $50,000 per unit into rehabilitation. There are about 768 apartments. He said Global Ministries had budgeted just a few thousand dollars a unit for rehabilitation on properties.

As News4Jax reported, Global Ministries has been under scrutiny after a city code enforcement raid found deplorable living conditions at some of its complexes, including mold and gas leaks.

Housing Finance Authority Director Laura Stagner said Millennia’s investment will be vetted by a third-party credit underwriter.

“The underwriter will review the experience, the stability and ability to proceed, as the developer is going to review all the construction cost to make sure that the construction that’s being done actually brings projects up to where they need to be,” Stagner  said.

She added the credit underwriting report will be the basis for the authority to close this transaction.

Hendrickson said after completion of credit underwriting, the third party would become a loan servicer.

“When there is rehabilitation the developer or owner advances their money each month,” he said. “In order to get reimbursed, our credit underwriter will need to approve it so there will be an inspection.”

Bonds should be issued sometime in the beginning of March to finance the rehabilitation of projects.

The city did not select the Ohio-based Millennia company, it was chosen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

News4Jax contributed to this report.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.