JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A ray of hope is emerging for the Dix Ellis Trail area as a developer announced today a massive $29 million investment aimed at transforming three motels into affordable apartments. This significant development comes after years of hardship in the community, as highlighted by a former resident.
Action News Jax’s Nick Gibson was at the scene, where former resident Robin Crofoot who lived in the Days Inn on Dixie Ellis Trail for 4 years said she saw murder, prostitution, and even drugs being sold in the area.
Crofoot shared her perspective on why this transformation is so crucial for the community.
“It’s been downhill so bad over there. A lot of homeless have nowhere to go, and just a lot of gang stuff going on; this should take it all away,” Crofoot stated.
According to the developer’s plans, the project will bring forth 339 apartment units, with an average size of 800 to 1,000 square feet and an estimated monthly rent of $1,000.
Crofoot emphasized stating “I paid $1,400 a month; that’s like 50 bucks a day, and I did that for four years.”
A comparison was made to nearby hotels to highlight the affordability of these apartments. Staying at the Extended Stay of America’s Deerpark location costs nearly $44 a night, amounting to just over $1,300 a month. In contrast, the Knights Inn of Dix Ellis Trail charges $64 a night, totaling just over $1,900 a month.
Crofoot believes that these apartments can be a lifeline for struggling families in the area.
“They’re not really big, but it’s better than where they are at,” she said.
Action News Jax spoke with Jacksonville City Councilmember Raul Arais, who oversees this district.
Arais said that this is a tremendous improvement for his district, but that only time will tell if more dollars in the future will be spent in the area.
“As of now, there is nothing that comes to mind. This is something brand new that just happened and developing. I’m telling you right now... that area is growing, you see a brand-new shopping center, Baymeadows Park... with the First Watch and brewery,” Arais stated.
The investment by Elevate Commercial Group not only promises affordable housing options but also offers a potential transformation of the troubled Dix Ellis Trail area, providing new opportunities for both residents and the community as a whole.
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