Developer Eyes Jacksonville's East Side For Affordable Housing Project

May 19, 2016

An international developer wants to build affordable housing in Jacksonville, just east of Springfield.

A drive down Third Street is a mixed bag of newly remodeled homes, next to worn ones — and in between some of those homes — next to vacant lots.

One overgrown property between Palmetto and Spearing streets might soon become an affordable home. The development group Kairos wants to build there.

The company is hoping to receive some of the city’s surplus properties, which are up for donation.

Jacksonville has 436 properties that can be donated to developers and individuals, as long as the properties are made into affordable houses. The properties that end up there are foreclosures.

Michigan-based Kairos has created low-cost housing projects in Africa. The group told City Council members Thursday it’s targeting three lots on Jacksonville’s housing-donation list to build sample homes, which are in Councilman Reggie Gaffney’s district.

“The plan that I have shows that the average house would cost anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000, and those are affordable homes to individuals that I know that live in some of the communities that we have identified,” Gaffney said.

Gaffney said the developers are eager to transform his community and he’s excited about it.

According to Kairos’s website, the homes use Structural Insulated Panel technology, meaning the homes are built in a factory and assembled onsite.

He said he’s also happy the company wants to hire locals to build the homes.

Kairos representatives at the meeting said they want to eventually build houses throughout Jacksonville.