Housing Commission plans $20M Section 8 apartment complex


A rendering of the Creston Plaza re-development plan.

Grand Rapids Housing Commission Executive Director Carlos Sanchez wants to replace Creston Plaza — the 100 unit, city owned housing development at 1014 Clancy Ave. NE — with about 90 new apartments targeted for low- and moderate-income residents on the same 12.4-acre site and build the rest about a quarter of a mile southeast of the site.

The new apartments will be converted to HUD’s Section 8 program, which gives residents housing vouchers.

The project, which will also include a community center and will be done in two stages, is expected to cost $20.6 million. Sixty-five of the units will be built in the first phase, with the rest going up in the next stage. The first phase is expected to be finished in the fall of 2014 with the entire project being completed the following June. Demolition work should begin this spring.

James Childs Architects designed the project.

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GRHC was recently named one of 68 public housing authorities nationwide to recently receive an initial Rental Assistance Demonstration award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The award, which the agency applied for last year, will let the commission secure the necessary private and public funding to replace the 40-year-old Creston Plaza.

The commission also will apply for federal and state low-income housing credits for apartment complex.

The RAD award allows the GRHC to use tax credits to attract private funding.

RAD is a creation of the Obama administration, and it expects the program will create new construction jobs, save 13,000 affordable housing units and generate $650 million in private capital. Nationwide, HUD estimated there is a $26 billion backlog in capital needs for public housing authorities.

“This innovative and cost-effective approach greatly enhances our ability to confront the decline of our public housing and older assisted housing stock,” said HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan in a statement.

The public housing authorities in Ann Arbor and Plymouth also were recipients of the RAD awards. In fact, Ann Arbor received two.

GRHC, which was established in 1966 to provide affordable places to live, currently operates seven low-income housing developments.

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