During a December Downtown Development Authority (DDA) meeting on Tuesday, December 11th, DDA President Larry Robinson asked for the approval of a $125,000 Department of Community Affairs Downtown Development Revolving Loan Fund Resolution (DDRLF) to be used for the new restaurant JJ’s on River Street located in downtown Ellijay.
“I make a motion that we authorize Larry to execute those documents on behalf of the DDA,”
DDA member Kent Sanford requested in the meeting. The motion was then unanimously approved by the DDA board.
According to DDA Manager and Better Home Town Manager Mona Lowe, the DDRLF will be used for the new JJ’S On River Street, an upscale family restaurant. The restaurant will occupy space in a 7,000 square foot downtown building owned by Andrew Mager. Mager also leases part of the building to Shirley Martin, for her boutique, Glitzy Chix.
Alan Dover, who will help manage JJ's, says the menu for the restaurant will include steak and seafood at night and burgers for lunch. Dover also plans opening an upstairs portion of the restaurant for dining to be used as a music venue.
“Our plan is to open up the restaurant with dining, and then in a month or so try to open up the upstairs portion of it for the music venue,”
However, in order for the restaurant to receive the loan, the DDA had to first approve the DDRLF last week. The plan also requires a certificate of occupancy approved by the city’s code enforcement officer. Once these documents are approved, the borrower will complete a closing with the DCA. And, when the project is completed, the DDA will reimbursement the borrower of the loan with their funds.
“The way it works is that the loan is a partnership between the borrower and his bank, whereas the borrower must first get what is a short term loan from their bank, and then the DDRLF from the DCA provides for what is called permanent funding,”
Lowe explained. Overall, the DDRLF will provide for 40 percent of the overall project cost, and 50 percent will come from the borrower’s private loan, while the other 10 percent from the borrower himself. The borrower must pay the DDRLF off in 10 years.
“It allows the investor to be able to go on with other things such as buying equipment. The DDRLF doesn’t cover equipment. This way, by getting a state loan, the owner of the building can equip a restaurant or whatever project with their own money. It just helps us get more businesses,”
JJ’S On River Street is slated for a mid-January opening.