The residents of Madison Square Apartments on Grand Rapids’ Southeast side have endured years of poor housing in a residential community with a less than stellar reputation. But the folks at Dwelling Place
say all that is changing. Dwelling Place purchased the 60-unit, three-story building in June and has since gutted the building in preparation for a complete overhaul. The project, including the building's purchase price, will run some $21M.
Besides new interiors for the apartments -- which include new kitchens and bathrooms -- and all-new common areas, Triangle Associates is building three additions, including a community room large enough to accommodate all residents for special events and a gathering room where residents can meet to for crafts or exercise classes.
“This is a Section 8 property and we’re doing this renovation to preserve the affordable housing in the Grand Rapids area,” says Dwelling Place’s Director of Housing Development Jarrett DeWyse. “We bought the property from MSHDA (Michigan State Housing Development Authority
), who could have sold this to another developer and we’d have lost the affordable aspect of this housing.”
The apartments (500 Hall St. SE) were built as one-bedroom senior housing in 1984, which included housing for persons of any age who had physical disabilities. Forty of the apartments were occupied. Last December, Dwelling Place helped those residents find temporary housing in some 16 locations throughout the city until construction is finished. Most of those residents will opt to return to what DeWyse says will be, basically, a brand new building.
Upgrades include new HVAC, new windows, an outdoor deck and a community garden area for residents. DeWyse says that conversations with service providers such as Senior Meals and Gerontology Network will put services in place for the residents, something they didn’t have before.
The additions do not add any new apartments, but allow space for enlarging 25 of the apartments to about 700 square feet; the remaining apartments run about 540 square feet, says DeWyse.
Residents have been invited to join a contest to give the new building a new name.
Funding for the project came from American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
stimulus funds, low-income housing tax credits and MSHDA, says DeWyse.
“The residents can’t wait to get back,” DeWyse says. “They feel we are invested and we are concerned about them, and they feel really good about that.”
Construction should wrap up in March 2012.
Construction manager: Triangle Associates
Architect: Destigter Architecture & Planning
Source: Jarrett DeWyse, Dwelling Place, Inc.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor