By JACK WEATHERLY
HRI Properties Inc. announced Wednesday that it has finally closed on the finances for the $10.4 million Capitol Art Lofts in downtown Jackson.
Construction will start immediately, with completion expected in one year, Joshua Collen, senior vice president for development services for the New Orleans-based developer, said in a release.
The apartments — to be created from seven historical buildings on the north side of West Capitol Street across from the King Edward hotel – will be geared to be affordable for creative persons, ranging from artists to those working in the healing arts of medicine.
The project was announced in 2013 but was delayed because of the unavailability of Mississippi Historic Tax Credits.
But the Legislature this year raised the cap on the credits by $60 million, providing HRI with $2 million it was short of having enough for the project, Collen said in an interview earlier this year.
Another obstacle subsequently arose when the city of Jackson did not offer a $1 million low-interest loan because of its budget problems.
However, the Mississippi Home Corporation increased its Low Income Housing Tax Credit, originally $6.66 million, by an additional $741,000 “to allow the project to proceed,” Collen said in an email on Wednesday.
“We are extremely grateful that the state of Mississippi has continued to support this project through thick and thin,” Collen said in the release. “The state clearly saw how this project serves the multiple public goals of affordable housing creation, blight elimination, historic preservation and economic development through stimulating the creative economy.”
Rent for 26 of the 31 apartments are for those whose income is no more than 60 percent of the area median income.
Rent for those units will be $565 a month for a one-bedroom and $675 for a two-bedroom unit, Colleen said. The average one-bedroom unit is about 800 square feet and 1,000 for a two-bedroom.
The other five apartments are for those whose income is no more than 30 percent of the median area income. They will be about $250 for a one-bedroom, of which there will be four, and $295 for the two-bedroom.
The transformation of the buildings dating between 1885 and 1929 in the 200 block of West Capitol will include common areas, art gallery and studio space, a business center and a fitness center, according to the release.
HRI partnered with local developer David Watkins on the renovation of the King Edward and the Standard Life building, though he is not teaming with the New Orleans developer on the lofts.
HRI will post a website about six months before the anticipated completion of the project, and approximately 90 to 120 days before the opening, pre-applications can be filled out online or in the leasing office of the King Edward, according to the firm.
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