A block of Jacksonville’s Downtown Cathedral District could become active again if a developer can get past timing, financing and preservation issues.
Community Connections of Jacksonville Inc. occupied the 1.5-acre site at Duval, Liberty and Church streets and Shields Place.
Originally the YWCA, Community Connections operated at 325 E. Duval St., next to Saint John’s Cathedral. It shut down in December because of financial struggles.
Because the charity is no longer operating, the property is facing foreclosure from the city.
In 1995, the Florida Housing Finance Corp. awarded Community Connections a $288,200 State Apartment Incentive Loan to rehab the building.
The terms of the deal were extended in 2011. The city holds the first lien.
According to letters from Mayor Lenny Curry’s former chief of staff, Kerri Stewart, to the Florida Housing Finance Corp. in April, Chase Properties wants to buy the land and existing debt with hopes to redevelop the block into a residential mixed-use project.
A document with the sale modification indicted the developer would set aside some of the units for affordable housing.
Community Connections Chair Jerry Mallot confirmed that the land had a serious buyer in Chase Properties but declined to comment further.
There are a few issues that could stop the deal.
One of the first steps involved changing a 65-year-old land use restriction agreement on the deed, which required that the building be used only as housing for the homeless.
The Florida Housing Finance Corp. approved the change at its May 5 board meeting in Tallahassee.
The proposal then went to the city Historic Preservation Commission meeting April 26, where it received pushback from several commissioners.