KALAMAZOO — The Michigan Strategic Fund board has approved gap and brownfield funding for a highly anticipated, years-long effort to redevelop a vacant property near downtown Kalamazoo into housing and a child care facility.
Jamauri Bogan, doing business as Bogan Developments LLC, has been working for the past three years to remediate a brownfield site at 315 E. Frank St. Plans call for a 12-unit apartment building and a second building that would house a 2,000-square-foot child care facility and one live-work unit.
The child care facility, which will be operated through a partnership with the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo, will have the capacity to accommodate about 30 to 35 children.
The developer’s plans call for more than half of the apartment units to be accessible to households earning incomes between 60 and 120 percent of the area median income, according to a briefing memo filed with the MSF board.
The scope of the project, known as “Zone 32,” has changed somewhat since Bogan first started pursuing the development in 2020. That includes adding four more housing units “to make the project stronger, and help with the marketability of the project,” Bogan said.
Bogan purchased the property from the city of Kalamazoo in December 2022 for $40,443, according to property records. Construction started in January this year, and is expected to be complete this fall, Bogan added. Portage-based AVB Construction LLC is serving as the contractor for the project, which was designed by Grand Rapids-based architecture firm TowerPinkster.
At its Tuesday meeting, the MSF board approved a nearly $1.1 million performance-based grant through its Michigan Community Revitalization Program for the project. The MSF board also approved a brownfield state capture in the amount of nearly $160,000 to the city of Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority that will go toward the development.
The financial gap for the $4.5 million development is driven by the extensive brownfield conditions on the property, which is a former manufacturing site. Bogan Developments LLC is contributing $130,000 in cash equity and has more than $535,000 in local grant support for the project.
“This is my first development project, but I have an awesome development team that has helped me and they have a ton of development experience and helped me locate, track down and figure these incentives out,” Bogan said.
Support for the Zone 32 project includes local brownfield plan contributions, which is expected to total $245,891. As well, the city is providing a $400,000 loan through its Housing for All program and $50,000 in other local grants. Kalamazoo County also has approved a $400,000 grant for the project through a program that supports mixed-income housing options.
Bogan hopes the Zone 32 development will serve as the catalyst for other projects at the north end of downtown Kalamazoo.
“When I started this in January 2020, I was looking for a site in (the Northside neighborhood) because it is the most predominantly Black, African-American community and the most disinvested neighborhood in the area,” Bogan said. “My hope is that kids will now dream bigger and go about chasing whatever that is for them because I was able to do this.”
Bogan is a Kalamazoo resident and recent Western Michigan University graduate, where he also played football. He said he graduated with zero debt, which allowed him to become an entrepreneur at an earlier age than most. Bogan has renovated 15 single-family homes, but Zone 32 marks his first attempt at a mixed-use development.
If all goes to plan, the project will be the first phase of the broader Zone 32 development, which could include another phase over the next two or three years, Bogan said.
“I can promise it will be workforce, affordable housing again and have great amenities and services for the community,” Bogan said.