Mayor Mike Duggan joined Southwest Solutions on Monday, December 5, to celebrate the completion of the top-to-bottom renovations of two historic apartment buildings, which will offer a combined 40 units of deeply affordable housing in Southwest Detroit.
The 20-unit Savannah and Wilshire apartments are located at 250 W. Grand Blvd. and 388 W. Grand Blvd., respectively. Both buildings had last been renovated in the 1990s and were sorely in need of updates. Southwest Housing Solutions, a subsidiary of Southwest Solutions, served as the developer and project manager.
The renovations and commitment to preserving affordable housing represent an investment of $7.8 million in the Hubbard-Richard community. Importantly, all residents who were temporarily relocated during the renovations will be able to move back into the building, and the affordability has been guaranteed for the next 50 years.
The Savannah has stood on the corner of Lafayette Boulevard since 1926 and was last renovated by Southwest Solutions in 1999. It has three studios, 15 one-bedroom and two two-bedroom apartments, all 20 of which will be at 60 percent area median income (AMI). That translate to rents of $940 a month for a studio, $1,007 for a one-bedroom and $1,209 for a two-bedroom.
The Wilshire, built in 1926 on the corner of Shady Lane, now features four units at 50 percent area median income (AMI) and 16 at 60 percent. There are seven studios and 13 one-bedrooms. That translates to rents as low as $783 a month for a studio and $839 a month for a one-bedroom, respectively. Southwest Solutions previously renovated the then-vacant Wilshire in 1998.
“We have made a commitment to Detroiters that we were going to create and preserve affordable housing in neighborhoods all over our city,” Mayor Duggan said. “I’d like to congratulate Southwest Solutions and thank them for helping our efforts of creating a more affordable Detroit for all.”
“The Hubbard-Richard neighborhood, like many others in Detroit, has experienced quite a renaissance over the past two decades,” said Sean de Four, president and CEO of Southwest Solutions. “We’re proud of role Southwest Solutions played in helping to kick start the revitalization of this area when we first renovated the Savannah and Wilshire over 20 years ago. And, we’re even more proud today that we have secured an affordable option for Detroiters who want to live in this neighborhood, for another generation.”
All 40 units receive new kitchen countertops, appliances, flooring and fixtures; new bathroom countertops, flooring and fixtures; and upgraded HVAC systems as well electrical and plumbing upgrades. The building itself got new or repaired windows, a new roof and landscaping, new hallway flooring, and masonry and foundation repairs.
Residents will begin moving back into the Savannah this month and into the Wilshire at the end of January.
The City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department (HRD) helped facilitate the renovations by doing a loan modification and transferring the existing $800,000 in HOME loans to the new project. HRD also helped secure a 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) award for the deal. Other sources of funding include a sponsor loan of $450,000, a Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) permanent loan of $1.5 million and an additional MSHDA HOME loan of $962,000. MSHDA also provided the nonprofit a tax-exempt construction loan of $4 million.
“The creation of affordable housing is one of our top priorities,” said Julie Schneider, director of HRD. “We want to make sure that all residents, no matter their income, have the ability to live in quality housing in the neighborhood of their choosing. As we continue to see investment in neighborhoods like Hubbard-Richard, the preservation of affordable housing in buildings like the Savannah and Wilshire becomes all the more important.”
The redevelopments of the Savannah and Wilshire compliment progress being seen in Southwest/Vernor area that is part of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF), which is helping to funnel investment that fuels further investment into neighborhoods across the city. Other SNF projects include a $3.3 million makeover for Clark Park; a $4.6 million renovation of The Murray, which saw the long-vacant row homes turned into 12 units of modern housing, including three units offered as affordable housing at 60 percent AMI; and The Brooke, a new-construction, mixed-income development on vacant land on Bagley Street that will see 78 apartments built, 20 percent of which will be at 80 percent AMI.