GRAND RAPIDS — An Inner City Christian Federation-led project to renovate a former Grand Rapids neighborhood school into affordable housing has received a funding boost from the state.
Eastern Elementary LDHA LP, a subsidiary of nonprofit Grand Rapids-based ICCF, was awarded more than $3.5 million by the Michigan Strategic Fund board last week to purchase tax-exempt bonds from Michigan State Housing Development Authority and for a cash flow loan.
The project will rehabilitate a 63,000-square-foot, four-story vacant school building in Grand Rapids’ Highland Park neighborhood. ICCF purchased the property at 815 Malta St. NE. in 2015 for $500,000, according to property records. The developer anticipates a total capital investment of more than $14 million for the project.
ICCF’s goal for the project is to fill housing needs at a variety of income levels, said Jan van der Woerd, vice president of real estate development and management at the nonprofit.
“We’ve heard from the community through advocacy groups and city commission meetings over and over about the lack of affordable housing stock, and the pressure of what was typically stable rental prices in our community that are now unapproachable cost-wise,” he told MiBiz.
“The cost of construction doesn’t allow for affordable rent levels for families above (low income) levels, but who can’t afford new construction.”
ICCF is planning 50 units that will serve residents at making 40 percent to 120 percent of the area median income. Twenty-six of the units will be eligible for MSHDA’s low income housing tax credit (LIHTC), which van der Woerd hoped to finalize this fall. The building will have a mix of studio through three-bedroom apartments.