Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan announced Friday a new Midtown housing development, with 25 percent set aside as affordable units, designed by internationally known architect Phil Freelon.
The $32 million project will bring 84 apartments to the Sugar Hill Historic District at the corner of John R and Garfield, across from the John D. Dingell Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Freelon is the man behind the design of the National Museum of African-American history and culture in Washington, D.C., and is also known for his work on the National Center for Civil Rights in Atlanta and the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.
Located on nearly one acre of vacant space, the project will also include 7,000 square feet of commercial space, a nearly 300-space parking garage for residents, and public and green alleyways.
Sale of the land will go before City Council for approval later this year. The developer will purchase 0.79 acres of vacant land from the city for $400,000, pending council approval. The project is expected to break ground in September 2018.
The units of affordable housing in the project are part of more than 1,000 new affordable units in 20 projects spread out across the Midtown and downtown areas, city officials said.
“We continue to make this commitment that as fast as Midtown is growing and prosperity is rising, we are going to make sure there is room for everyone every time we expand housing,” said Duggan, during a project announced at MOCAD on Friday.
Freelon is teaming up with Detroit architect Michael Poris, of McIntosh Poris Associates. Poris is known for his work in preserving and revitalizing historic buildings such as the Park Shelton, the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters and the Garden and Madison Theatre buildings.
“This is an arts community, and so that is going to be a driver for a design. I think it’s important for buildings of this type to be of the community and not just a beautiful building that happens to be in Detroit on a corner,” Freelon said on Friday. “We want to get into the history and see how we can make it part of the Sugar Hill district.”
Sugar Hill district was originally settled in the 1880s by wealthy Detroiters seeking suburban homes out of the downtown area and near Woodward Avenue near Warren.
“This was one of the only neighborhoods where African-Americans and white musicians and patrons could co-mingle,” said David Howell, director of real estate for Midtown Detroit Inc. “This was the center of nightlife and jazz scene in Detroit.”
The development team will be led by Sonya Mays from locally-based Develop Detroit and Rodger Brown from Preservation of Affordable Housing Inc.
“The City of Detroit has been an incredible partner in this process and our team looks forward to working together to create an inclusive community that reinforces the urban vitality of one of Detroit’s most historic neighborhoods,” Mays said. “Plans for this project go beyond building high-quality, mixed income housing options for Detroiters.”
The apartments are made up of studios and 1-2 bedroom apartments. The low-income units will be set aside for renters making around $26,000 to $40,000 a year.
The project will see the construction of the 102,200-square-foot parking garage with approximately 300 spaces. Over 100 spots will be reserved for public parking. The remaining spots will be available monthly for residents of the development, retail visitors and members of the neighborhood.
The construction of a new green alleyway and courtyard will also be included, and feature bike parking and open space for residents.