Officials celebrate the opening of the Flats in historic Brush Park

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — When Leonard Walker learned two years ago that affordable housing was being built in the historic Brush Park neighborhood, he was determined to make it his new home.

Walker wrote Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert at Bedrock, whose company is heading up the 8.4-acre City Modern development. He also spoke with city staff to ask for their help.

The effort paid off when earlier this month, Walker, 60, became the first tenant of the Flats at 124 Alfred, a 54-unit building for residents 55 years and older.

The Flats at 124 Alfred is the first of six apartment buildings in the City Modern Development to be completed.

“I just love it,” Walker said. “It’s very convenient. It’s safe. It’s clean. I can walk anywhere I want to go, get on the QLine or either catch a bus. It’s wonderful.”

Bedrock and city officials on Tuesday celebrated the opening of the Flats, the first of six apartment buildings to be completed as a part of Bedrock's City Modern development. The development sits on Alfred Street east of Woodward and is within walking distance to Little Caesars Arena and Comerica Park. 

Officials said the building is designed to provide quality, affordable housing for residents like Walker, a retired flight attendant and lifelong Detroit resident. Every unit is for residents earning between $15,000 and $30,000 a year, officials said. Rents start at $400 a month.

“We want longtime Detroiters who maybe are at the point in their lives where they don’t want to maintain a house anymore but still want to be a part of the city ... want to be a part of redevelopment,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. "These units are for those individuals.”

Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield at the completion ceremony of the Flats at 124 Alfred on Tuesday.

Bedrock broke ground on the multi-building City Modern development in late 2016, and at that time, it was estimated to cost about $100 million for the mix of housing to include flats, townhomes and carriage homes. Officials declined Tuesday to give project costs for the Flats.

Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates designed the building, which includes one- and two-bedroom units featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, walk-in closets and stainless steel appliances.

The building has a fitness center, a lounge for residents and an outdoor terrace. There is also gated underground parking.

Bedrock CEO Bill Emerson said the Flats represents Bedrock's commitment to dedicating at least 20 percent of its units to affordable housing. 

"We were aware of the urgency around affordable housing, and so that's why we decided to build this particular apartment building first," he said. 

In 2017, Bedrock and Detroit officials announced an agreement expected to create or maintain about 700 affordable housing units in the greater downtown area. That expectation remains as Emerson said Tuesday that Bedrock will complete a total 3,500 residential units in the city in the next three or four years. 

Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield said the Flats was much needed as the city gets calls every day from seniors looking for new housing. 

"This is probably the project I'm most excited about and most proud of because it puts a priority on our senior citizens to make sure they have quality, affordable housing in Detroit," she said.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN