Housing commission to sell Brewster-Douglass to Bedrock

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — The city’s housing commission has agreed to sell the 18-acre former Brewster-Douglass public housing projects to Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Detroit for $23 million.

The deal, which could close in 2018, is subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Bedrock plans to develop more than 700 units of rental and for-sale housing units at the site with a national mixed-income housing developer and a local affordable housing developer.

“The housing commission looks forward to achieving the goal of both creating additional affordable housing in the greater downtown consistent with last year’s Douglass Transformation Plan and generating resources to be used to improve our existing housing stock, support our current residents and improve the neighborhoods,” Richard Hosey, chairman of the Detroit Housing Commission’s board, said in a statement Tuesday.

“Using gains in one area of the city to support needs in other areas of the city is what we’ve all been working to accomplish.”

The former Brewster-Douglass public housing projects site sits in an area bounded by Beaubien to the west, Chrysler Service Drive to the east, Wilkins and Alfred to the north and Winder to the south. Brewster-Douglass, the largest residential housing project owned by the city, was torn down in 2014.

The impending sale follows a five-year plan released by the city last year for Bedrock to be part of a joint venture to control 1,000 units of housing on the Brewster-Douglass housing project site and portions of Detroit’s Eastern Market.

At the time, a Bedrock-led team was selected to redevelop the site through a Choice Neighborhoods grant application with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Detroit Housing Commission retained the right to sell the site.

Detroit was not awarded a Choice grant last year. However, the housing commission and the city said they plan to evaluate other public housing and eligible rental-assisted properties for the program for the next round.

Bedrock officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In this latest effort for the site, housing officials said the project will require a partnership with the city of Detroit, the Detroit Housing Commission and likely the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

It will include the use of low-income housing tax credits, Detroit affordable housing grant funds and infrastructure investments.

Bedrock has said that it plans to develop 3,500 residential units in the city with 20 percent as affordable housing for those that earn 80 percent of the area median income.

For the site redevelopment, Bedrock has agreed that more than 20 percent of the units will be affordable housing with many of the units available to households earning as little as 30 percent of the area median income, or about $14,500 annually.

Proceeds from the $23 million sale will fund maintenance and improvements to current Detroit Housing Commission properties and resident services, housing officials said.


Twitter: @CWilliams_ DN