JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Construction is underway to build a new multifamily apartment community providing workforce housing in downtown Jacksonville.

The Lofts at Cathedral at 325 and 327 E. Duval St., will include a total of 120 apartments. The project calls for the renovation of the historic former YWCA/Community Connections building plus the construction of a new apartment building on the same block, according to developer The Vestcor Companies of Jacksonville.

The YWCA/Community Connections building will be transformed into 28 apartments. An additional 92 units will be located in a separate building under construction nearby, Holly Hepler, marketing manager for Vestcor, told the Times-Union. There will be 20 studio apartments, 74 one-bedroom, one-bathroom units plus 26 two-bed, twobath apartments.

Duval St. in a sale recorded on Sept. 10, 2019, and paid $20,000 for the site at 325 E. Duval St. in a sale recorded on Feb. 17, 2020, according to the records.

General contractor Summit Contracting Group of Jacksonville is leading the construction. The architect is Group 4 Design, also of Jacksonville.

Hepler said the total construction cost is estimated at $27 million.

The project is expected to be completed in Summer 2024, she said.


"Lofts at Cathedral is a workforce housing community with 84 units reserved for individuals who make less than 80% of the area median income or below, and 36 units are at 100% of the area median income or below, Hepler said.

Hepler said amenities at The Lofts at Cathedral will include a fitness center, Internet cafe, resident lounge and a community garden.

The total development cost is estimated at $39 million, according to the Downtown Investment Authority.

Vestcor specializes in multifamily and workforce housing. The Lofts at Cathedral will join the developer’s similar apartment communities including Lofts at Monroe, Lofts at LaVilla, Lofts at Jefferson Station and Lofts at Brooklyn -all in Jacksonville.

Historic building Built in September 1950, the former Community Connections/YWCA building was "a haven for small-town girls in the big city," according to a 2016 Times-Union article.

The four-story red-brick building has a basement, spacious lobby, TV room, laundry room, exercise machines and a cafeteria, which was later replaced with a kitchen on each floor, the article states.

Community Connections closed there in 2016. The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission designated the building a historic landmark in 2017. New lease on life "The renovation of the YWCA building will transform a dilapidated building into a beautifully restored building with the historic design and features incorporated," said Hepler. "Most importantly, Lofts at Cathedral provides the opportunity for those working downtown to be able to live affordably downtown."

Vestcor, via its affiliate VC Cathedral LLC, bought the property in two transactions recorded in 2019 and 2020, Duval County property and court records show.

The developer paid $1.38 million for the tract at 327 E.