City OKs $64M plan for housing


The city of Grand Rapids has approved almost $64 million worth of affordable housing developments.

The city commission recently supported a brownfield plan amendment for the proposed Garfield Park Lofts project to be developed by LINC Up Nonprofit Housing Corporation.

The Business Journal reported in July 2017 that Garfield Park Lofts also was awarded $934,988 in low-income housing tax credits from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The approval of a brownfield plan amendment for Garfield Park Lofts greenlights construction on the $9.4-million, three-story residential building at 100 Burton St. SE. The project includes 36 rental units available to households earning 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) or below. Fifteen of the units will be available to households earning 30 percent AMI or below. The development also will seek LEED Silver certification.

The commission also scheduled two Brownfield Redevelopment Authority public hearings: One for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County’s Plaza Roosevelt redevelopment and another for Inner City Christian Federation’s proposed redevelopment at the former Eastern Elementary School.

Combined, the three projects plan to add 151 units of housing, 136 of which would be available to households earning 80 percent AMI or below. Kara Wood, the city’s managing director of economic development services, said the increased inventory would help the city achieve its goals for Housing NOW!

“These three projects also mark the first significant investment of grants by the city’s Local Brownfield Revolving Fund program,” she said.

The Business Journal previously reported Housing NOW! is a city-led strategy composed of 11 recommendations to grease the gears on affordable housing development in Grand Rapids.

The $40-million Plaza Roosevelt project is a partnership involving area neighbors: Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, Ferris State University, Dwelling Place, Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, according to an earlier Business Journal report.

The plan includes 17 Habitat Kent homes, two 24-unit residential buildings with first-floor commercial space built by Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids, a new Grand Rapids Public Schools high school, and a plaza or park.

The developers estimated the project would provide 32 full-time jobs ranging from $12 to $22 per hour, with an overall average of $18.65 per hour. City officials estimated the project would generate an employment-based income tax of $12,605 and an additional $12,045 of new city income taxes annually, the first year of which would be deposited in the city’s new Affordable Housing Community Fund.

The proposed 65 residential units would be affordable to households earning 80 percent AMI or below. The entire project also will seek LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.

Habitat Kent’s proposal includes 23 parcels generally bounded by Franklin Street SW, Grandville Avenue, Graham Street and Century Avenue. The city commission approved the project in February.

The Eastern Elementary redevelopment is a $14.5-million project at 815 Malta St. NE and calls for renovating the historic former elementary school into a mixed-use development with 50 residential apartments and approximately 2,000 square feet of office space on the ground floor. The project would include residential units available to households earning various incomes relative to AMI.

ICCF bought the property from Charter Development Company for $500,000 in 2016, and the building itself has stood vacant since 2008, according to a previous Business Journal report.

City officials estimated residents of the apartment units could generate an additional $8,705 of new city income taxes per year — the first year of which would be contributed to the Affordable Housing Community Fund. The project is located in the Highland Park neighborhood.

Public hearings for Plaza Roosevelt and Eastern Elementary are set for 7 p.m. Oct. 23 in the ninth-floor commission chambers at City Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW.

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