GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Construction could begin in fall 2022 on two four-story apartment buildings – containing 102 apartments and ground-floor retail space – in the Boston Square neighborhood of Grand Rapids.
The development of the apartments, located on Kalamazoo Avenue SE between Adams and Ramona streets, is led by Amplify GR, a non-profit organization supporting community redevelopment in the areas of Boston Square, Cottage Grove and Madison Square.
“I think we’re very excited with the momentum we’ve got,” said Jon Ippel, Executive Director of Amplify. “I think it really builds on a vision that the neighbors really want to see in their neighborhood.”
The two buildings would cost around $ 37.7 million.
Ippel said Amplify will apply for social housing tax credits this fall from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to fund the project. The tax credits are expected to cover 90% of the cost of the affordable units contained in the development, he said. The objective is also to make available heading 8 titles, reserved for people with very low incomes, for 21 of the dwellings.
Eighty percent of the 102 apartments would be reserved for residents with incomes between 30% and 60% of the median income in the Kent County area, Ippel said.
For a three-person household, 60% of the Kent County area’s median income translates to $ 43,200, according to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. For a three-person household, 30% of the median income for the county area translates to $ 21,600.
Rental rates provided by Amplify show that a three-bedroom apartment would cost $ 1,020 per month for a household at 60% of the median income in the Kent County area. For people at 30% of the county area’s median income, the rental rate for a three-bedroom apartment would cost $ 435.
Amplify GR was created in part by the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation and the Cheri DeVos Foundation. Its founders spent around $ 10 million with its development partner, Rockford Construction Co. to purchase 32 properties spanning 35 acres in the Boston Square, Cottage Grove and Madison Square neighborhoods. The aim is to create new jobs, better housing and better educational opportunities in the area, according to Amplify.
Ippel said residents of Boston Square value the racial and economic diversity of the neighborhood, and Amplify’s goal is to ensure that new developments in the area maintain that diversity.
Amplify has worked, through meetings with neighborhood residents, to ensure that its development plan “enhances the way the neighbors have described both what the neighborhood is today and what they hope it will be in the future, ”Ippel said.
“Our commitment is mixed in terms of how we try to facilitate housing,” he said. He later added that Amplify “also recognizes the larger context of housing affordability issues in Grand Rapids in general.”
Four structures would be demolished to make way for the two apartment buildings. These structures include two single-family homes, the Amplify GR office at 1480 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, as well as the former Standard Kitchen building at 1450 Kalamazoo Ave. SE.
The two apartment buildings are part of Amplify’s larger redevelopment plan for the neighborhood.
In total, the development would include 270 mixed-income housing units, 20 of which would be owner-occupied condominiums. It would also include a park, commercial space for a bank, grocery store and dining room, and office or commercial space for neighborhood entrepreneurs.
This development, which would take place in an aging 9-acre stretch of the Boston Square neighborhood, could take more than 10 years.
Ippel said the two apartment buildings will be built with at least “30% local construction companies, owned by minorities or women.” He said this is important because “the work we do is really about getting more equitable results” and leveraging construction dollars to benefit local businesses is part of that strategy.
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