A new three-story building with 38 affordable apartments and shops on the ground floor will soon replace a block of old empty buildings in northwest Detroit near the University of Detroit Mercy.
The Black-led development project will be built at 7303 West McNichols in the Liv6 area and will be the first major new construction to take place alongside the recently completed $ 7 million McNichols Streetscape Modernization.
The $ 10.8 million project had an official groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday with Mayor Mike Duggan and the development team of George N’Namdi, Rod Hardamon of URGE Development Group and Richard Hosey of Hosey Development.
The building will be named Sawyer Art Apartments in honor of contemporary Detroit artist Tylonn Sawyer, whose works will be installed inside and outside the building.
“We try to create affordable housing that has an upscale feel, and art does it, and art also adds things to the community as a whole,” said N’Namdi, owner of N’Namdi. Center for Contemporary Art and is development a similar building steeped in art in the district of Woodbridge called Osi Art Apartments.
The 38 residences at Sawyer Art Apartments will be offered at discounted rents for those earning 60% and 80% of the area’s median income, typically between $ 34,000 and $ 45,000. Those asking for rents would start at around $ 750 per month for a studio, $ 800 for a one-bedroom, and $ 1,278 for a two-bedroom.
In addition, the four retail spaces of the 33,000 square foot building will be offered at reduced rental rates.
“When we started this journey… we had one goal,” said Hardamon of URGE Development. “Let’s bring something the neighborhood can be proud of. “
Duggan said the area is experiencing an economic rebound and that he plans to see more storefronts reopened by the end of the Sawyer Art Apartments. The apartments will be available for existing residents, not just for newcomers.
“This is not a city where we are going to evict the people who have stayed in order to create housing for new people,” said the mayor, to the applause of the public of several dozen gathered inside the tent of the event.
Construction will involve the demolition of a block of three side-by-side buildings constructed between 1936 and 1952. The last operating company was Big Mans Auto Repair.
The project uses a variety of non-traditional funding sources that allow below-market rents, including:
$ 3.5 million New Markets Tax Credit from Invest Detroit
$ 4.35 million in funding from Capital Impact
$ 2.5 million from the Strategic Neighborhood Fund
A tax collection of 1.1 million dollars on brownfields
A $ 1.25 million Michigan Strategic Fund subordinated loan
A million dollar state grant through the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority
A tax allowance for commercial rehabilitation valued at approximately $ 63,000.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Affordable apartments named for artist to replace buildings in Detroit