By JACK WEATHERLY
HRI Properties LLC of New Orleans says it will not use any of $50 million from a venture capital fund to cap off its financing of its $10.4 million Capitol Art Lofts project in downtown Jackson.
Instead, according to Tom Leonhard, HRI president and chief executive, it expects to get a $2 million state historic tax credit to complete its funding for the lofts that will be formed out of a block of historic buildings on Capitol Street across from the King Edward hotel.
Leonhard said in an interview that “we’re closely monitoring legislation” that would replenish the historic tax credit fund. He said later in an email that the project “is not feasible” without the credit.
A bill that would allocate $50 million for the fund has passed in the Senate and another has made it through the House, though the amount was not included. House Speaker Philip Gunn has said that he would favor allocating $120 million for the credits.
Gunn said he hopes “we can continue to develop this program. It’s such a good deal. So many of our towns depend on it for economic development. We get such a good return on our investment.”
HRI had said it would start work on the project last fall, but the depletion of the fund made that impossible. Leonhard said HRI has applied for a building permit with the city of Jackson. The developer has an oral commitment for $1 million from the city.
A call to the state Department of Archives and History on Tuesday about HRI’s application status was not returned.
The Capitol Art Lofts calls for 31 apartments geared to be affordable for creative persons, ranging from artists to those working in the healing arts of medicine.
Rent for 26 apartments are set for whose income is no more than 60 percent of the area median income, according to HRI. Rent for the other five units is restricted for those whose income is no more than 30 percent of the area median income.
New York City-based Almanac Realty Investors said in a release that it has already invested $150 million in HRI projects.
HRI partnered with local developer David Hawkins on the renovation of the King Edward and Standard Life building, though he is not teaming with HRI on the lofts.
Founded in 1982, HRI completed 70 large-scale projects and describes itself as “a national leader in the adaptive reuse of historic structures and redevelopment of neighborhoods.”
It currently has nine projects under development.
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