Detroit's Transfiguration School readied for housing transformation

Candice Williams
The Detroit News
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The former Transfiguration School is undergoing a transformation.

The city of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department said Tuesday that construction has begun on a $7.2 million project to renovate the historic school building into affordable housing.

Former Transfiguration School will be developed into 19 units of affordable housing in the city's Banglatown neighborhood.

The Transfiguration Place Apartments at 13300 Syracuse is a result of the city issuing on the behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit a request for proposals that would put the building back into use. The developers are Detroit-based Ethos Development Partners and Cinnaire Solutions. 

“This project is about the community coming together to find solutions to both our need for affordable housing and the question on what to do with the many historic but unused buildings that dot our city,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement Tuesday.

The building will feature 19 affordable housing units at or below 60% area median income. The project, expected to be completed next year, involves converting the former classrooms into 17 one-bedroom units and two, two-bedroom units. 

Joseph Heaphy, president of Ethos said, “Once completed, Transfiguration Place will be a model for adaptive reuse of vacant schools to turn them into assets for communities throughout the city."

The building sits in the Banglatown neighborhood, one of the city's Strategic Neighborhood Fund areas. The city says affordable rents are made possible through various funding sources, including: Michigan State Housing Development Authority Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, the HOME Investment Partnership and Community Development Block Grant programs, as well as project-based vouchers through the Detroit Housing Commission. 

The project bolsters the city's effort to preserve 10,000 units of existing affordable housing and to develop 2,000 units of new affordable housing by 2023.

The developers will preserve historical details of the building and will be able to tap historic tax credits due to the building's placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019, officials said. 

The school building was built in 1926 to serve Detroit’s growing Polish population. It also served as the congregation’s house of worship until 1950 when the church opened next door. The parish closed the school in 2005 and leased it to a charter school until about 2014, according to the city.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN

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