Ypsilanti celebrates $17.9M housing development

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of Zac Fosler, executive director of the Ypsilanti Housing Commission.

Ypsilanti — After being displaced from Flint in the midst of the city’s water crisis two years ago, Janea Davis found living in homeless shelters.

The 36-year-old mother of four now has a brand new home in New Parkridge, a $17.9 million affordable housing development in Ypsilanti.

“I was very excited to move into a brand-new-built home,” Davis said Wednesday during a ribbon cutting for the development north of Interstate 94 and west of S. Hamilton Street. “Me and my children love it. We needed that foundation. The fact that I was told that we get to work with case managers to help with barriers for our families, that’s a plus, too.”

Davis joined community leaders and development partners as they cut the ribbon for the 86-unit development consisting of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and townhouses.

The Ypsilanti Housing Commission and Chesapeake Community Advisors developed the project, which replaces the 70-year-old Parkridge public housing complex.

The previous complex was in disrepair and pretty bleak, said Zac Fosler, executive director of the Ypsilanti Housing Commission. Four years ago, the commission took the first step in asking residents what kind of community they would like.

“We went back to the drawing board with that resident input, came up with a site plan and conceived a very different approach to the existing layout,” he said. “What we did was rather than this collection of multi-family buildings where everything faces in and we have these dark spots where crime just kind of festers, we wanted to integrate this development into the fabric of this neighborhood, which is primarily single-family homes.”

Each unit was given parking spaces as well as a frontyard and backyard that residents could call their own and feel a sense of ownership, Fosler said. The units are at capacity with a closed waiting list, Fosler said.

Washtenaw County Commissioner Ricky Jefferson said the development is a good fit for the neighborhood.

“The revitalization of the Parkridge means a lot to this neighborhood, and it greatly improves the housing conditions,” he said.

The development was funded by a mix of public and private dollars. UnitedHealthcare was the largest investor in the development, donating $8 million. The company worked with Cinnaire and Minnesota Equity Fund to utilize Low Income Housing Tax Credits that were approved by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Cinnaire provided a $1.3 million loan for the development and secured an additional $8 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits equity through private sources. The Washtenaw County Office of Economic and Community Development provided $915,000 and the Ypsilanti Housing Commission provided $600,000. Bank of America approved a $13 million construction loan.

“It takes a village,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn. “This project wouldn’t be if we weren’t all there. We’re a team.”

Davis, a direct care worker for a group home, said she’s enjoying her new three-bedroom home that came with appliances. She hosted family for Christmas.

“I’m so glad I have a home now,” she said. “It’s very peaceful.”


Twitter: @CWilliams_DN