$150M housing development breaks ground in Detroit's Lafayette Park

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — City leaders and developers broke ground Tuesday on a $150 million residential development in the historic Lafayette Park.

Lafayette West, a 318-unit condominium and apartment community, is expecting to open in the spring of 2023 offering a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom floorplans.

Units will range in size from 436 to 1,223 square feet, with secured and enclosed parking, a fitness center, swimming pool, electric vehicle charging stations for all spaces, co-working spaces and club rooms for residents.

A render of Lafayette West, a 318-unit condominium and apartment community, expected to open in the spring of 2023 offering a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom floorplans.

Starting price for condos will be $232,000. Rent prices for apartments will be released in the fall.

Of the 230 apartment units, 46 apartments will be affordable housing.

Rendering of the five acre campus overview at Lafayette West.

"We saw this as an ideal opportunity to develop a unique community to contribute to the lives of the Lafayette Park neighborhood," said Mark Bennett, owner and developer, who purchased the property in 2018. "We anticipate about this time next year, you'll see moving trucks in this parking lot."

Rendering of Lafayette West.

The development received Brownfield Tax Increment Financing, which allows the project to recapture a portion of the investment as the property value increases. Through tax reimbursements, the project will recoup $11.2 million over 30 years. It’s also grandfathered-in for taxes in a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone, meaning those who purchase a condo are locked in at that value for 15 years. Both are incentives to attract tenants, Bennett said.

Rendering of the club house at Lafayette West.

Lafayette West is located in a neighborhood that was bulldozed to make way for Interstate 375, displacing thousands of Black families in the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

"The ditch that was dug through this city," Mayor Mike Duggan said of the freeway. "I-375 did an enormous amount of damage. It's time to knit the community back together."

At-large City Councilman Coleman A. Young II joined Duggan and developers in placing shovels in the ground of the future development. Historic photos of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley in its prime will be placed in the new towers at Antietam Avenue.

Rendering of a residence at Lafayette West.

"I always wanted to be the mayor of a city where housing units have to come in hundreds at a time (to) accommodate everyone that wants to live here, but it's even more important not to push our longtime resident out," Duggan said. "The neighbors wanted to make sure that parking, lighting of these apartments were plentiful but did not take away from the beautiful view."

Duggan said the development is following his executive order on the hiring of Detroiters with a construction workforce made up of at least 51% Detroit residents and 30% of all construction-related contracts going to Detroit-based businesses. 

Mayor Mike Duggan describes the importance of the residential development Lafayette West in Detroit on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

Through a Community Benefits Agreement, the project has promised to redevelop the nearby Lafayette Plaisance Park and has given a cash gift to the Chrysler Elementary School.

Mark Bennett is also co-developer of Exchange, a high-rise 165-unit residential development under construction in the Central Business District and lead equity investors in DuCharme Place, The Griswold, The Corner, The Kahn and Central Park Apartments.

"This will lay the foundation for future economic development from Lafayette West to downtown. We look forward to seeing the continuous impact of this project for decades to come," said Dominic Romano, an official with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Lafayette West partnered and collaborated with a dozen organizations including Parini, a women-led interior design team, and has more than 100 financial investors.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_