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(September 15, 2021 10:30 AM) A new affordable apartment complex is one step closer to taking shape in Downtown Jackson. At their Tuesday, Sept. 14 meeting, the Jackson City Council unanimously voted to approve an ordinance that intends to assist in the development of The Blackstone Apartments, a low-to-moderate income apartment development proposed on N. Blackstone Street.

The planned four-story development will feature 45 apartments, comprised of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units, with space for some retail opportunities on the first floor. It will be constructed on a vacant lot owned by the City of Jackson on N. Blackstone Street between W. Pearl Street and W. Louis Glick Highway. This lot is currently green space and ready for redevelopment.  The lot is across Blackstone Street from Steve’s Ranch family restaurant and just west of Lofts on Louis.

The units will be affordable for residents of a low-to-moderate income. The ordinance approved by the City Council, also known as a PILOT Program, greatly reduces the tax liability on the developer, in exchange for a small portion of the rents generated from the property. This support from the City has been successful in getting affordable housing built in the City of Jackson, and allows developers to seek further government funding for construction.

City Manager Jonathan Greene welcomes this collaboration with the prospective developer, MVAH Partners. While plans are still being made for The Blackstone’s design, it will look similar to the recently built Francis Senior Lofts in Downtown Jackson, which was also a project of MVAH. “As we reshape the skyline of Jackson with new apartment developments, it’s important that we make downtown living affordable for people of all income levels and backgrounds,” Greene said. “More people living downtown means further business opportunities and services the entire community can take advantage of.”

Pete Schwiegeraht, Senior Vice President of Development for MVAH, spoke at last night’s meeting about the project. “This pilot helps fill gaps in this $13 million endeavor, but also will also help us with scoring at the State level that will assist in the development. Plans also call for locating Head Start classrooms on the first floor of the building for local children,” Schwiegeraht said.

Final approval of the ordinance and sale of the property will be considered at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

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