Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

More Than a Home Complex Meets Needs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

More Than a Home Complex Meets Needs

Article excerpt

Ann Jackson said she was blessed last year when she moved into her apartment off Lem Turner Road.

The new 360-unit apartment complex where Jackson lives, with its computer lab, pool, exercise room, playground, sand volleyball court, community room and bus shelter, cost $15.5 million to construct.

Kendall Court Apartment's one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom unfurnished apartments range in price from about $400 to more than $600 and are reserved for families or individuals earning less than 60 percent of Jacksonville's median income.

Built on land north of the Trout River that used to be woods, Kendall Court Apartments became an apartment development, construction and management company's answer to Mayor John Delaney's pleas for development north and west of the St. Johns River, said Kristen Packard, vice president of Vestcor Development Corp., part of the Vestcor Companies that own and manage properties throughout Northeast Florida.

The complex is also convenient, Packard said. Jackson likes that she is close to a city bus route and grocery stores.

"There was a need there," Packard said.

Kendall Court, which opened in April and has about 300 units occupied, claims to be the Northside's first large apartment complex built in the last decade.

Michael Koerner, a senior planner with the city, said the development was the first of its kind in the North planning district to be permitted in nearly 10 years when it was approved in 1998. Koerner cited a 110-unit complex permitted in 1989 and a 273-unit development in 1988 as the most recent.

"It's been pretty dormant for a number of years; now you're starting to see . . . a definite increase," he said.

A complex with more than 500 units is planned for Dunn Avenue, and others are on the horizon.

Vestcor took advantage of a federal tax program, the Multifamily Mortgage Revenue Bond, which offers below-market interest rate loans to private developers of apartments who agree to set aside rental units for low-income families. In Jacksonville, a family of four earning a combined annual income of $29,000 would qualify, Packard said.

However, she said residents undergo a strict screening process that includes a criminal background check and credit history evaluation. …

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