More Apartments Planned
More apartments could soon be coming to the Northside, this time at the Quarter at Lakeland Drive.
Developers are seeking a use permit for the second phase of the project, which will include tearing down several buildings there and building new apartments in their place.
The Quarter is located at 1855 Lakeland. The front five buildings that are home to a wine and spirits shop, a coffee house and 12 second-floor apartments, will not be affected by the construction.
Jackson’s planning board is expected to consider the request at its meeting on Wednesday, April 24.
A permit is needed because the property is C-3 general commercial. Apartments are allowed in C-3 areas, as long as they’re located in renovated, non-residential structures, according to the city’s zoning ordinance.
The project is being built by The Quarter Lakeland (TQL), an affiliate of State Street Group.
TQL Manager Justin Peterson wrote in a letter to Zoning Administrator Ester Ainsworth are in too poor shape to renovate.
“The physical condition after so many years of neglect and vacancy is such that is not feasible for most of the remaining buildings to be renovated into tenable condition for their existing use,” Peterson said.
He went on to say that they will be replaced by apartments, “thereby complimenting the existing apartments and continuing to upgrade the property into one that is useful, attractive and appealing.”
Peterson wouldn’t say how many apartments would be constructed, nor would he say what kind would be built.
He also wouldn’t say how many buildings in all would be demolished. Right now, the Quarter property is home to 18 buildings, including five that were completely renovated in the first phase.
“Those are full. We were given a certificate of occupancy in January and in March they were fully leased,” he said, referring to the apartments completed in the first phase.
“We have about 3,900 feet of restaurant space on the first floor of what we refer to as building E, the old China Belle space. We are actively marketing that for lease,” he said.
TQL purchased the property from out-of-state owners in December 2016.
The planning board meets at 1:30 p.m., on the fourth Thursday of the month. Meetings are held in the Andrew Jackson Room on the first floor of the Warren Hood Building downtown.
City’s Bond Update
The Ridgeland board of aldermen recently gave the go-ahead to move forward with issuing bonds to fund several city projects.
The city has published a resolution of intent to issue more than $19 million in bonds to finance a new city hall, Lake Harbour extension, turf for each field at Freedom Ridge Park and a new parking lot at Walcott Park.
The city is currently in the protest period, which will end at the first meeting of the board of aldermen in May. This is when the city will set the exact amount for the bonds.
Mayor Gene McGee said the city could issue up to $19,960,000 in bonds. However, he said they may not need quite that much.
If no protest is filed before or on May 7 at 6 p.m., the board will move forward.
There has never been a protest when the city has issued bonds in the past, according to McGee.
“We’ve never had a protest, because of the way we issue our bonds. We never issue them when we have to raise taxes,” McGee said. “We haven’t raised taxes in 30 years.”
He credits this to careful planning and the city working within its means.
“After that period passes, you certify that there’s not been a protest and then decide when exactly you will issue the bonds,” McGee said.
Next, the city will advertise. Because of the city’s bond rating, they will get a good interest rate, McGee said.
“We get good, competitive bids,” McGee said. “Then we will look at all the bonds and sell to the best bidder with the best interest rate.”
The city’s debt fund allows them to issue the bonds, pay back the debt and not have to raise taxes.
McGee said he hopes the city will be breaking ground on its new two-story, 30,739-square foot city hall in June.