City’s efforts to address housing affordability get boost from state

Published on December 13, 2018

MSHDA logo over an image of Plaza Roosevelt plans

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids is joining local housing developers in celebrating more than $5 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) awards for projects that are expected to add nearly 160 affordable housing units and preserve 119 existing units in the community.

In the latest round of federal LIHTC awards, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) selected six projects in Grand Rapids. The local projects accounted for one-third of the 18 total awards and one-third of the $15 million total amount awarded. They were the Edge Flats on Seward, Ferguson Apartments, Franklin Apartments, Grandville Apartments, Tapestry Square Senior Living and West Garfield Apartments.

The City Commission has provided conditional approval of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) property tax exemption for all six projects.

“These projects are critical to our community’s efforts to ensure availability of quality affordable housing in our city,” said Connie Bohatch, the City’s managing director of community services. “We are grateful to our partners at MSHDA for recognizing their importance and for supporting this work.”

Dwelling Place was awarded a total of $1.6 million in LIHTC to build Franklin Apartments and Grandville Apartments as part of Plaza Roosevelt, a neighbor-driven, strategic collaboration between eight partners to transform a two-block area along Grandville Avenue SW and Franklin Street. Franklin Apartments will consist of the construction of 24 units of rental housing. Grandville Apartments will consist of the construction of 24 units of rental housing along with some ground floor commercial space.

The 5.5-acre Plaza Roosevelt site will be further developed to include a high school, expanded medical services, commercial space and units for homeownership.

“The Plaza Roosevelt plan is remarkable because it’s an affordable housing plan that’s greater than the sum of its parts,” MSHDA Executive Director Earl Poleski said. “This project will strengthen health, education and economic outcomes in the area. I’m proud of our partners for gathering local input and creating infrastructure that residents of the Roosevelt Park neighborhood need.”

The other local LIHTC awards were:

  • Dwelling Place was awarded nearly $1.4 million to preserve affordable housing downtown as part of Ferguson Apartments. Dwelling Place will rehab 119 units of affordable rental housing at 72 Sheldon Blvd SE.  
  • Commonwealth Development Corp. was awarded $812,627 to build 34 rental housing units as part of the Edge Flats on Seward at 59 Seward Ave. NW.
  • Inner City Christian Federation was awarded $1.5 million to build 50 units of rental housing for seniors as part of Tapestry Square Senior Living at 424 Division Ave. S.
  • LINC UP was awarded $604,944 for the construction of 26 rental housing units as part of West Garfield Apartments at 1975 Jefferson Ave. SE.

The LIHTC program is the most successful affordable housing production program in U.S. history, forging public-private partnerships between the federal government, state allocating agencies and private sector developers. MSHDA uses the 9 percent and 4 percent credit to assist in the financing of new construction and the preservation of existing structures. This spurs investment in the community, creates jobs and secures new or rehabilitated units of affordable housing. 
LIHTC are federal tax credits administered by MSHDA through a competitive application process. It holds two funding rounds per year, in October and April, each for roughly half of the available $23 million credit. Developers can draw on their tax credit amount annually for 10 years, keeping housing affordable over the long term and sustaining major investments in local communities.

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