Samaritas converting former Grand Rapids seminary into apartments

Samaritas converting former Grand Rapids seminary into apartments

Courtesy Samaritas

The nonprofit Samaritas is spending $14.9 million to convert the former St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids’ Garfield Park neighborhood into a 55-unit apartment complex.

Samaritas, which is focused on affordable housing, said last week it plans to offer 47 apartments for seniors and eight apartments for clients with disabilities at the site, at 600 Burton St. SE.

“It’s well-documented that safe, affordable, secure housing is a major social determinant of health, without which a person cannot be healthy," said Sam Beals, CEO, Samaritas. "We are doing all we can to create this situation for all people, so they have the foundation needed for long-term success.”

The 87,715-square-foot facility will feature a community room, library and computer lab, said James Gilbert, executive director of business development, Samaritas.

Each apartment will include energy-efficient appliances, including a frost-free refrigerator, stove, self-cleaning oven and a dishwasher.

Each apartment will also have a garbage disposal, ceiling fan, mini-blinds, wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room and bedroom, individual unit controls for heating and air conditioning and storage areas.

Gilbert said construction is set to begin later this year and be completed near the end of next year.

Leasing will begin at the end of 2019.

Samaritas will be hiring a full-time manager and maintenance person to work at the facility.

Royal Oak-based Schneider+Smith Architects is the architect on the project. Grand Rapids-based Pinnacle Construction Group is the contractor on the project. Huntington is providing project financing.

Samaritas received a $1.3-million federal tax credit from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for repurposing the facility.

Part of Samaritas’ long-term plan is to have 15 percent of apartments designated for clients with disabilities in every affordable housing community it builds and manages.

“With affordable housing being the primary health and human services need in Michigan and across the country, we are seeking to take advantage of our experience, expertise and available resources to meet this need to the greatest extend possible,” Beals said. “At this present time, we would plan to complete two projects per year in the coming years.”

To date, Samaritas has 15 campuses around the state, 12 for seniors, two for families and one for clients with disabilities.

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