Affordable apartments attract more people to downtown Jacksonville

Groundbreaking marks start of 3rd Lofts community

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With new loft-style apartments becoming hot spots for Jacksonville residents, construction has begun on another new residential community in the heart of downtown. 

A groundbreaking Thursday marked the start of the third Lofts community built by Vestcor.

The Lofts at Jefferson Station on Water Street will have 133 units, as well as a fitness center, computer cafe and a dog walking area.

Several Jacksonville City Council members told News4Jax that there is a proven need for affordable housing downtown. In less than 30 days, the Lofts at LaVilla filled all of its units.

The Lofts at LaVilla opened in December and the Lofts on Monroe, another similar community, has reached 80 percent capacity before its completion. 

Councilman Reginald Gaffney said it's all about affordable housing made possible through tax credits, subsidies and grants. An increase in the number of people living downtown will boost the Jacksonville economy.

"It's fulfilling a goal for me, making sure, within the next five years, we'll have over 10,000 people living down here," said Gaffney, who represents District 7.

Nischelle Williams is one of those people. She lives at the Lofts at LaVilla.

"One of the things that drew my husband and I to this place was the affordability, the price and location," she said.

Williams said the new builds are attracting more people to follow suit and move downtown.

"I hope they continue to do it and build more things that people can enjoy downtown, bring downtown some life," Williams said.

Vestcor, JAXUSA and the Downtown Investment Authority already have plans to build another Lofts community in the Brooklyn area.

The Lofts at Jefferson Station is expected to be completed by fall 2019. 

Rendering of Lofts at Jefferson Station (Courtesy: Vestcor Companies)