By Clint Confehr
NASHVILLE, TN — The Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership president was missing from printed programs at opening ceremonies by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency for its apartment building at 10th & Jefferson.
Asked about that, JUMP President Sharon Hurt, an at-large member of Nashville’s City Council, acknowledged the omission after extensive remarks saying that what amounts to rent-controlled, government-owned housing will have residents who can support nearby businesses.
“I was disappointed that I was not recognized as a significant part of the grand opening as a council member at-large,” Hurt said. District Councilman Freddie O’Connell spoke at the Feb. 15 program. As JUMP’s CEO, Hurt’s job is “to lift up Jefferson Street,” she said. “That’s how I became connected with (MDHA Executive Director) Jim Harbison and told him we needed this. He reacted well and brought his team in.”
In a prepared statement, Harbison said, “This development supports our goal to create mixed-income communities in Nashville. Of the 54 apartments, 15 are set aside for families making less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income.”
This 10-county-area’s median income is $68,700. See www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il2017/2017summary.odn . A family of four with income up to $34,350 qualifies for rent subsidy. Rent payments range from $75 per month to $1,742. The latter is all paid by the tenant. Subsidized tenants pay 30 percent of their adjusted income.
Hurt sees 15 of 52 as an acceptable ratio of subsidized units “because I think we need more people who can afford the rent” and support nearby businesses, she said; “not to say we want to push people out.” All 52 units don’t need to be subsidized. “We have a large number of subsidized rent” units in the area.
When MDHA approached area residents about constructing an apartment building at 941 Jefferson St., Hurt was a community outreach liaison.
Hurt provides “support as we work to revitalize the Jefferson Street corridor,” Harbison said. “She was instrumental in our creation of the Jefferson Street Redevelopment District, and she’s been supportive of [its] projects…,” including street lights. “We are grateful for her continued support of our efforts and her persistence to revitalize the Jefferson Street corridor.”
Hurt has worked to improve the area for 17 years before her election to city council in 2015. “I take this community to heart and have been in the community for 35 years.” In 1994, concerned homeowners, business owners, longtime residents and developers with new construction in mind met to “create a framework for advancing Jefferson Street,” JUMP’s website says.
Not listing Hurt on 10th & Jefferson’s opening program wasn’t the only issue for the event on the building’s roof-top deck on a windy day. A six-foot loud speaker and its metal stand were blown off the building.
The building has three residential floors above parking for residents. Guest parking is behind the building.
Its total budget was $9.5 million. Memphis-based construction con- tractor Mike Poor, president of Levine & Poor Inc., said his contract totaled $7.7 million with changes.
Construction took two years, Poor said. The hardest thing about it was building location; bound by two roads, an alley and a business. The back alley was the access point.
Eight of 30 subcontractors are minority-owned, Poor’s firm told MDHA. They include Aztec Masonry, CMG Contractors, Elite Roofing Co., Magic City Builders, Division 10, Bent Tree Signs, Maid Man Cleaning, and Vera Interiors.
David Kline, Kline-Sweeney & Associates, was the architect. He died two months ago. His widow, Mary Jenkins Kline, provided interior design services for the building, selecting, among other things, neutral colors for the rooms “so people can go in and make them their own home … The corridors are more like … hotels.”
She noted the flying buttress roof. Its design “is from the ’50s. You have these properties with flat roofs and you have to do something that creates a little interest… It’s good for drainage… Their are no gutters except at the corners” where rain flows into scuppers. A Kline Sweeney team worked on this.
The units have nine-foot ceilings, electric kitchen appliances, ceiling fans, carpeted floors and cable wires. Some have balconies. Residents can move in next month. The three-bedroom units were pre-leased. Freeman Webb at (615) 291-2881 is the leasing agency.
The development was supported with a loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a HUD Community Development Block Grant, and Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds.
“HUD is happy to support projects that increase housing options for individuals and families who struggle to secure acceptable housing in their communities,” said HUD Nashville Field Office Director Sernorma Mitchell, noting 10th & Jefferson is in Nashville’s Promise Zone where organizations serving high-poverty neighborhoods improve the impact of their services, and cooperate for revitalization to: increase access to affordable housing; create jobs; increase economic activity; improve educational opportunities; improve infrastructure; and reduce violent crime.