Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Funds Critical to Housing Deal

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Funds Critical to Housing Deal

Article excerpt

With the future of an upscale downtown housing complex hanging

in the balance, a key supporter says Jacksonville's reluctance

to subsidize the deal could destroy it.

Attorney Mark Hulsey said yesterday that proponents of

Cathedral Village do not have any room to budge from the $1.4

million subsidy they are seeking from city coffers.

While Mayor John Delaney supports the idea of downtown housing,

his administration does not want to shell out the $24,000

perunit subsidy that backers say they need to get the 58unit

project rolling.

"That might well kill it," said Hulsey, a member of St. John's

Episcopal Church, which is donating land behind the church for

the development. "We've already been back to the drawing board

five times . . . This is a very fine-tuned amount."

Years have been spent trying to spur residential development

downtown. While office towers, football games and concerts

provide some life, boosters say housing is what creates

communities that support the restaurants, nightclubs, shops and

cafes that revitalize downtowns.

"We could have moved [the church] to the suburbs years ago,"

said Hulsey. "But we said no, we are going to be a catalyst for

downtown."

City Hall officials say they are frustrated in their own right.

While the city has always been willing to spend upward of $1.5

million on streets, sewers and other infrastructure around the

village, officials have deep reservations about chipping in a

lot more, becoming a de facto developer on the project.

"How much is too much?" asked city Finance Director Mike

Weinstein. "Would we like downtown housing? Absolutely. Would we

like to help the area around the cathedral? Absolutely. The

question is where do we draw the line financially."

That line may be drawn rather soon. …

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