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Construction begins on $12M GR housing development with 50 mixed-income units MiBiz photo by Kate Carlson.

Construction begins on $12M GR housing development with 50 mixed-income units

BY Thursday, November 04, 2021 04:41pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Construction recently started on a $12 million, 50-unit apartment complex that’s been in the works since 2017 in the city’s Belknap Lookout neighborhood. 

The Belknap Place development is located at 310 Trowbridge St. NE on the site of a vacant lot owned by Grand Valley State University near the university’s Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall. Plans call for the 50 apartment units to be affordable for a range of household incomes. The university is leasing the land under a long-term agreement with the development team. 

The project is estimated to be completed by Sept. 1, 2022. Pioneer Construction Co. is the general contractor for the project, with Integrated Architecture LLC serving as the designer.

The properties on the block formerly included single-family homes that GVSU purchased and demolished. Belknap Place is a collaborative project between organizations including GVSU, housing developers Third Coast Development LLC and PK Housing and Management Co. 

Third Coast Development and PK Companies responded to a request for proposals from GVSU in January 2017 and were chosen as the project developers. 

“Clearly this project has come about with hard work and is shaping up to be a win-win,” GVSU President Philomena Mantella said at a groundbreaking event today. “A win-win for the citizens in the neighborhood, a win for the city of Grand Rapids having more affordable housing options, and certainly a win for Grand Valley to be embraced as a member of the community. … We are proud to contribute and proud to be members of this community, and we are proud to look at deeper ways to serve.”

The development was previously denied Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, but the project was awarded $906,067 in the June 2020 LIHTC funding round.

“It’s taken us over four years to get the financing, design and project team assembled, and we’re now seeing the building actually take shape,” said PK Development Vice President of Development Jacob Horner.

Securing LIHTC was “definitely the main obstacle,” said Max Benedict, principal at Third Coast Development.

The Neighbors of Belknap Lookout neighborhood association had previously called for the project to include housing for a variety of incomes.

“When we did finally see this design come through, a lot of the parts and pieces were more or less defined by the RFP we had participated in creating, so we’re really excited to see this finally happening and to see the (LIHTC) come through so construction can happen,” neighborhood association Executive Director Elianna Bootzin told MiBiz

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