$36M apartment and retail complex planned across from VA Medical Center
Developers have broken ground on a $36.3 million project that will redevelop a vacant lot into a mixed-use and mixed-income development in Detroit’s Sugar Hill neighborhood, officials announced Tuesday.
When it opens late next year the project from Preservation of Affordable Housing and Develop Detroit will bring 68 apartments, 11,900 square feet of retail and 164 parking spaces to the northwest corner of John R and Garfield streets, across from the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center.
One-fifth of the units will be reserved for residents earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income, including homeless veterans.
"This development not only will become home to Detroiters of all walks of life, but is also one that reflects the needs and desires of our neighbors in the community," said Sonya Mays, president and CEO of Develop Detroit.
An outdoor green space next to the building will connect with other “green alleys” in Midtown for the building’s tenants, area residents and visitors, officials said. Midtown Detroit Inc., will take part in that effort.
The development is a result of the Housing and Revitalization Department releasing a request for proposal in 2016 seeking bids for a project that would include multi-income housing, ground-floor retail and a parking structure for area residents and customers of nearby businesses, officials said.
Sugar Hill was a thriving music and entertainment district in the 1940s through 1960s, with many African-American-owned businesses. It was designated a national and local historic district in 2002.
"This project will help kick off an exciting new era for Sugar Hill and add an inclusive development to the neighborhood that will bring much-needed housing, not only for the growing number of Midtown residents, but also for our veterans,” said Donald Rencher, director of the Housing and Revitalization Department.
The development is one of the last designed by Phil Freelon, a celebrated Black architect who died in 2019. Freelon’s work includes the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington and Atlanta's National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Funding for the project includes a mix of public-private partnerships including $2 million in federal HOME dollars, $1.71 million in community development block grants and $6.7 million from a Section 108 loan for the parking structure.
The project received from the state $4 million from Community Revitalization Program and $2.25 million in Michigan Brownfield Tax Credits.
Other funding includes: $9.8 million in New Market Tax Credit equity from PNC Bank, raised through NMTC allocations from Building America CDE Inc., Michigan Community Capital, Cinnaire and PNC Bank.
Financing includes a $4 million first mortgage from PNC Bank, $5 million through Prudential Financial and $300,000 in social impact financing from the Quicken Loans Community Fund.
The Home Depot Foundation awarded the project $250,000 to assist with housing for veterans.