Nonprofit plans to redevelop former school


Courtesy Inner City Christian Federation

A local nonprofit is planning to redevelop a former school on the southeast side of Grand Rapids.

Inner City Christian Federation, or ICCF, in partnership with Madison Square Christian Reformed Church, plans to redevelop the building at 415 Franklin St. SE for mixed-used purposes.

Plans for the 72,000-square-foot site include community and office space for nonprofit social services on the ground floor, plus 40 units of affordable housing on the second and third floors.

The building most recently housed the Kent County Department of Human Services and previously home to Grand Rapids Christian High School.

Grand Rapids officials approved the $15-million project plan on Sept. 26.

“We’re excited about the possibility of bringing more affordable housing to that part of the city,” said Ryan VerWys, president and CEO, ICCF. “That building has a ton of potential … and our hope would be that we could see it not remain empty, but become homes for several households in our community.”

ICCF entered an option to purchase agreement with Madison Square church, the current owner of the property, which will allow ICCF to maintain rights to the building as it works on receiving funding through low-income tax credits. Madison Square church Ford Campus will also use a portion of the floor space for worship.

ICCF’s next step is to apply for low-income housing tax credits, which will help finance the project. The organization will be able to apply to the state beginning this month, though VerWys added they don’t expect to receive confirmation until January 2018.

“It’s not rare for a project like this to take multiple rounds,” VerWys said.

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