Affordable housing targeted for Detroit’s downtown

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — Bedrock and Detroit officials announced Monday an agreement that will create or maintain about 700 affordable housing units in the greater downtown area.

The plan includes affordable new construction and existing units that would have otherwise converted to market rate, giving those with lower incomes an opportunity to live in downtown or in Midtown despite overall rising rental rates.

“It is important that a wide range of housing options, including affordable ones, are available in Detroit’s growing marketplace,” said Dan Mullen, president of Bedrock, in a statement Monday.

The commitment is part of a larger plan to develop up to 3,500 residential rental units in the city over the next several years, officials said.

“This represents the city’s largest developer proactively committing to invest in new affordable housing and preservation in the city’s strongest neighborhoods where it is critically needed,” said Arthur Jemison, director of housing and revitalization for the city of Detroit.

Mayor Mike Duggan has said the city is committed to making sure there is room for everyone every time housing expands in the Midtown and downtown areas.

As part of the agreement, which was expected to be submitted Monday to the City Council, 20 percent of units will be affordable housing for households whose income is 80 percent of the area median income or less. The area median income for Wayne County is $48,100 annually for a one-person household, according to the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority.

Bedrock officials noted that its first two ground-up residential construction projects include affordable housing. The 28Grand in the Capitol Park district will include 85 units for households making 60 percent of the area median income or less. The project is expected to be complete this summer, officials said.

Construction is also underway on a 54-unit affordable development for seniors, as part of the $100 million City Modern development expected to be complete by 2020. The housing at 124 Alfred will be dedicated to seniors whose incomes are between 30 percent and 60 percent of the area median income.

The agreement is a big step forward in terms of creating and preserving mixed-income communities, said Roger Myers, CEO of Presbyterian Villages of Michigan and an active member of the Senior Housing Preservation of Detroit coalition.

“The combined commitments for both preservation and new development could provide long-term stability for individuals of all ages who will benefit from such important housing options,” he said.

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Twitter: @CWilliams_DN