Downtown housing designed for artists, med workers - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Downtown housing designed for artists, med workers

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The buildings will be renovated into 31 affordable one and two bedroom units for artists, medical workers and veterans. The buildings will be renovated into 31 affordable one and two bedroom units for artists, medical workers and veterans.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With up to a year's wait on downtown housing, one group is looking at that demand as a way to eliminate blight while generating commerce.

The abandoned structures on Capitol Street could soon be home to city dwellers, and where the people go developers hope businesses will follow.

HRI Properties, the New Orleans company that transformed The King Edward Hotel and the Standard Life Building, wants to create an artists' haven. The group wants to turn seven vacant buildings into the Capitol Arts Lofts.

"We think this artist housing and the kind of vibrancy the artists will bring in will help take that to the next level and really helps all this retail fronts give some pop and some excitement to downtown," said Joshua Collen Vice President of Development for HRI Properties.

The buildings will be renovated into 31 affordable one and two bedroom units for artists, medical workers and veterans. Artists will be given housing priorities, with space included for a gallery and artist's studio.

The monthly rental costs will be $550.00 one bedroom apartments and $670.00 for two bedrooms.

Wednesday's public hearing announced HRI's intentions to apply for Mississippi Tax Credits to help fund the $11.7 million project.

Jack Thomas attended the public hearing to find out about minority contractor participation. He is the Director of Minority Business for the Jackson Airport Authority.

"I was interested in what was going on here in the City of Jackson. The buildings across the street from The King Edward are blighted. It seems like a great opportunity for some additional residential growth and eventually some retail which is really needed," said Thomas.

The developers will find out in October if the Mississippi Home Corporation approves their tax credit application providing more than $5 million toward the project.

"We've been working in Jackson for seven years. We have about 900 employees across the country over 100 of which are here. This is a great city to work in," added Collen.

If approved, HRI hopes to begin construction in February of 2014 with anticipated completion of the apartments by December 2014.

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