West Village site to be 1st from $30M neighborhood fund
Detroit — Construction crews will break ground next month on The Coe at West Village, the first new development financed by a $30 million fund designed to drive “inclusive economic growth” in the city’s neighborhoods.
The 12-unit complex will add eight townhouses, four apartments and about 1,200-square-feet of retail space to the corner of Van Dyke and Coe in the West Village neighborhood. Three of those units will be designated as affordable housing.
The building will be constructed on a vacant lot around the block from a recently redeveloped strip of restaurants and stores in the growing east-side neighborhood, which joins an area of southwest Detroit and the Livernois-McNichols area on a list of three neighborhoods the city and private nonprofits have targeted for investment through the Strategic Neighborhood Fund.
Dave Blaszkiewicz, president and CEO of Invest Detroit, one of the nonprofit organizations involved in the project, said the fund will spur at least 12 separate projects throughout those neighborhoods. Those projects will range from developments on a par with The Coe to four-story apartment complexes, to improving infrastructure in the neighborhoods.
The goal, Blaszkiewicz said, is to stabilize those neighborhoods and build the mixed-income housing and mixed-use buildings that will bring in new people and businesses to the neighborhoods.
“We’re way ahead of schedule,” Blaszkiewicz said Wednesday.
He joined Mayor Mike Duggan and representatives of JPMorgan Chase & Co. to announce a $5 million contribution from Chase to the neighborhood fund. About $17 million in commitments have come from the private sector, Blaszkiewicz said. He expects another $12 million to come from the city and state.
The money helps boost the creation of the Duggan administration’s idea for “20-minute neighborhoods” — areas of the city where residents can “enjoy all of the amenities of a vibrant urban lifestyle within a 20-minute walk or bike ride from home.”
Clifford Brown, managing partner of Woodborn Partners, will be the developer on The Coe. Broder and Sachse Real Estate Services, which Brown worked with on another project in Brush Park, will be the property managers.
The Coe will open in September, Brown said. He was excited to be working in another neighborhood in Detroit where, while far from down-and-out, would see immediate benefits from new investment.
The neighborhood fund is touted as an example of Duggan’s and private developers’ attention to Detroit’s neighborhoods rather than downtown.
“We are making progress on something Detroiters have waited for for a long time,” Duggan said.
Peter Scher, head of corporate responsibility for Chase, said Wednesday that as downtown and Midtown see massive investments and development projects, “People are pushed out, and it’s very easy to forget about the neighborhoods.”
Scher and others speaking Wednesday pointed to Midtown as a sort of guide for the neighborhood funds investment. The mixed-use buildings, bustling shopping avenues, restaurants and living spaces there can be emulated around the city, they said.
Reginald Johnson, 57, is already seeing some perks from the pending construction. Johnson has lived in the area for about 15 years, he said. On Wednesday, he painted a multi-family house next to the vacant lot The Coe will occupy.
He’s worked on about 15 houses on home improvement projects in the last year.
“I love it,” Johnson said. “Everyone is trying to take care of their property now.”