The Palms at Juban Lakes, a new Denham Springs apartment complex, is getting a $1 million investment from the East Baton Rouge Mortgage Finance Authority — the first time the organization has teamed up as an equity partner on a development.

The authority’s board of trustees voted for the investment Thursday. The decision still needs final approval from the authority’s legal counsel.

Mike Airhart, the http://theadvocate.com/home/9494871-125/airhart-new-head-of-ebr">executive director of the East Baton Rouge Mortgage Finance Authority, said one of the goals of the board is to look for investment opportunities.

“Our goal is to help get these projects placed in service,” Airhart said. “We’re not interested in being long-term property owners.”

The idea is for the authority to invest in the development, get it built and then sell its interest, he said.

Construction on The Palms at Juban Lakes is set to begin in spring, said Tom Delahaye, managing partner of CST Land Developers. The 180-unit development will cost about $22.2 million to build.

While the Mortgage Finance Authority was created as a self-supporting mortgage loan funding source for primarily low- to moderate-income, first-time home buyers, The Palms at Juban Lakes is a market-rate development. Rents will start at $915 a month for a one-bedroom apartment and go up to $1,225 for a three-bedroom, Delahaye said.

CST has done several developments in metro Baton Rouge and New Mexico, including The Reserve at Jefferson Crossing and The Village at Juban Lakes.

The Village at Juban Lakes is at 11000 Buddy Ellis Road in Denham Springs, next to where The Palms at Juban Lakes will be built. Both properties are located across from where the Juban Crossing mixed-use development is being built.

Delahaye said this is the first time CST has asked other investors to come in and have equity on one of its developments.

“We believe it’s a home run,” Delahaye said, noting that the Village at Juban Lakes, a 144-unit luxury apartment complex that opened in 2011, has an occupancy rate above 98 percent.

“This isn’t a home run; it’s a grand slam,” said Robert Gaston, a member of the authority’s board of trustees. “It’s going to be beautiful, it’s going to be fantastic and the demand will be there.”