Published in Breaking News

ICCF plans redevelopment in SE Grand Rapids

BY Friday, September 01, 2017 12:50pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Inner City Christian Federation has proposed a mixed-use redevelopment in Southeast Grand Rapids.

The nonprofit real estate and community development organization plans to work with Madison Square Christian Reformed Church — the owners of the building at 415 Franklin St. SE — to redevelop the 72,000-square-foot property. Plans call for a ground-floor worship, community and office space for social service agencies, plus 40 units of affordable housing on the second and third floors, according to documents filed with the city of Grand Rapids and confirmed by the organization.

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

VerWys said there would be a condominium ownership structure between ICCF and the church.

Pending city approvals, ICCF says it plans to apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) either next month or in April. The credits will be targeted at individuals or families earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income (AMI).

VerWys added that the vast majority of ICCF’s affordable housing portfolio sits within a 1-mile radius of the building. The organization is still in the very early development phase of the potential project; VerWys declined to provide an estimated project cost.

The building at the northeast corner of Franklin Street and Madison Avenue SE was previously home to the Kent County Department of Human Services and prior to that, the site of Grand Rapids Christian High School.  

Site:Lab Inc., a Grand Rapids-based art curation group, is using the facility for its 2018 ArtPrize installation through an agreement with the building’s ownership.

Additionally, ICCF plans to construct 12 new homes for sale on the site of a vacant parking lot across Madison Avenue at 349 Franklin Street.

“These 12 housing units are planned for a mixture of household income levels,” ICCF wrote in a letter to the city. “Incorporating homeownership opportunities and serving a broad range of incomes will ensure that a diversity of opportunities for economic empowerment are made available.”

Earlier this summer ICCF began the process of purchasing 177 homes in the Grand Rapids and Lansing areas from Chicago-based real estate investment firm Residential Dynamics Group LLC (RDG), as MiBiz first reported.

VerWys said the organization is still in the due diligence phase of the acquisition, but hopes to have it complete sometime next month.

Nearby, organizations like LINC UP and Amplify GR — backed by Amway Corp. executives and Rockford Construction Co. Inc. — are working on their own affordable housing and workforce development projects.  

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