Commission advances development of $64 million in housing projects

Published on October 10, 2018

Photograph of the former Eastern Elementary building

Affordable housing projects call for commercial spaces and 151 housing units


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids City Commission has advanced several projects associated with affordable housing.

The City Commission recently approved a brownfield plan amendment for the proposed Garfield Park Lofts project to be developed by LINC Up Nonprofit Housing Corporation. The Commission also scheduled two Brownfield Redevelopment Authority public hearings: One for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County’s (Habitat Kent) Plaza Roosevelt redevelopment project and the other for Inner City Christian Federation’s (ICCF) proposed redevelopment project at the former Eastern Elementary School. The hearings are set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23 in the ninth-floor Commission Chambers at City Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW.

“Combined, these projects plan to build 151 units of housing, of which 136 units will be available to households earning 80 percent area median income, or below, helping achieve the goals of the Housing NOW! Initiative,” said Kara Wood, the City’s managing director of Economic Development Services. “These three projects also mark the first significant investment of grants by the City’s Local Brownfield Revolving Fund program.”

Garfield Park Lofts
The Commission’s approval of a brownfield plan amendment for the proposed Garfield Park Lofts project greenlights the 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 building will seek LEED Silver certification and lead to significant public infrastructure improvements along Burton Street SE. 

Plaza Roosevelt redevelopment project
This $40 million project 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. Habitat Kent’s proposal includes 23 parcels generally bounded by Franklin Street SW, Grandville Avenue, Graham Street and Century Avenue. Habitat Kent’s other partners in the project include Ferris State University, Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, residents of the Roosevelt Park neighborhood and the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association.

The project’s developers estimated it 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 will seek LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.

Eastern Elementary redevelopment project
This $14.5 million project at 815 Malta St. NE calls for renovating this historic building – a former elementary school – and converting it as a mixed-use development. The structure would include 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

City officials estimated that 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.