GRAND RAPIDS — The developer behind a Grand Rapids workforce housing project that recently broke ground seeks to replace 10 ground-floor apartments with a daycare center to help address the widespread shortage of child care options.
Magnus Capital Partners’ HoM Flats on Maynard project originally called for 240 units across seven buildings. The developer now requests a site plan change with the Grand Rapids Planning Commission to reduce the total to 230 units, with the addition of a 7,800-square-foot daycare center. An adjacent fenced-in playground would also be included.
The $51.5 million multifamily housing project is located at 526 Maynard Ave. NW on the city’s west side, and broke ground in December. The Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the amendment on April 13.
“HoM Flats (projects) have always strived to be innovative in what they offer. It’s been a workforce housing platform,” Magnus Capital Partners founder and CEO Vishal Arora told MiBiz. “Given the acute need for child care, we think this is the next logical step. We’re at the exploration stage.”
Magnus Capital Partners has developed two other workforce housing projects in West Michigan: HoM Flats at 28 West in Wyoming, which opened in phases in 2020 and 2021, and HoM Flats at Felch Street in Holland Township, which opened in 2021. All of the completed HoM Flats projects were fully leased as of February 2023, Arora said.
The Maynard project calls for a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that cater to renters making between 40-80 percent of the area median income.
Arora now hopes the project can help address widespread child care needs. In a recent West Michigan Works! survey of more than 1,400 people, more than three-quarters of respondents indicated that accessible and affordable child care is a barrier to employment. The average cost of infant care in Michigan is $10,861, or $905 a month, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute.
The lack of in-person schooling at the height of the pandemic came as child care facilities also shut down. The pandemic also caused women to drop out of the workforce to care for their children at a higher rate than their male counterparts over the past couple of years.
“We hope to make this available to anyone who needs child care,” Arora said. “Obviously our residents, who are predominantly in the workforce, will also have a need for child care. COVID put a magnifying glass over that need for all of us.”
Magnus Capital Partners plans to meet with surrounding residents in the coming weeks to discuss the proposed addition of a daycare facility, Arora said. Pending city approval, the developer will then work to formalize a partnership with a child care operator, Arora added.
“We think this logically goes with a strong workforce housing project,” said Arora, who added that the revenue implications of removing 10 apartment units in exchange for a child care center are still unclear.
Rohde Construction Co. Inc. is building the HoM Flats at Maynard project, and Hooker DeJong Inc. is the architect. Construction is expected to take 22 months to complete, although the first units likely will come online in the spring of 2024.
The project will include amenities such as a fitness and yoga studio, cafe, rooftop lounge, indoor and outdoor play areas, indoor bike storage and repair space, a game room, indoor and outdoor dog parks, a pet spa, walking paths and green space.