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GRDadof3

Uptown Village

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This Uptown Village looks very interesting. Has anyone noticed if this has started yet? Lighthouse Communities looks like they have a lot of great projects going on.

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I'm not sure about Lighthouse Communities, but the Wealthy Kramer building at 922 Wealthy Street has an expected completion date of July of this year. That is also a mixed use development with retail on the first floor, an apartment on the second floor, and a warehouse in the back. Young Life has joined the center thus far and I'm curious to see what else will go in there. I've heard that they are trying to preserve the building as much as constructionally possible, including exposed brick and open ceilings. Hopefully they will be able to maintain that. I could really see an artisan shop going in there.

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This is cool and I can say that I have never heard of this development. It is across from the Bazzani Building and would be great to get rid of that old empty garage and add more life to the street. Wealthy is really bouncing nicely. There are three other small projects (that I know of) on Wealthy. This is great to see.

Joe

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this looks like a really well-done and sensible site plan. glad to see a good project like this. I love the neighborhood already, too.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Is this across the street from where Bazzani has his HQ? If it is, this is going to be incredible. That sight is currently an abandoned car repair shop thats set back from the street by a large surface lot. I drive past it everyday, and say a silent prayer that no one buys the property and try to rescue the building and lot! I'm glad thats not going to happen! :thumbsup:

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GR Urbanist,

Indeed, it is. It is going to add so much density to this area it will be great. I just hope that they improve the look of the Market across the street. Originally, Bazzani was supposed to redesign it, but that never seemed to have come to fruition.

Joe

Is this across the street from where Bazzani has his HQ? If it is, this is going to be incredible. That sight is currently an abandoned car repair shop thats set back from the street by a large surface lot. I drive past it everyday, and say a silent prayer that no one buys the property and try to rescue the building and lot! I'm glad thats not going to happen!  :thumbsup:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Hello All,

Dave Allen here, Executive Director of Lighthouse. I came across this forum by researching Lighthouse Communities web site stats. We have received quite a few referral hits from the forum so I checked it out. I think its a great avenue to talk about urban living and urban neighborhood development.

Couple of points of clarification regaring Uptown Village and the Madison Hall Townhomes:

The Townhomes were developed by LuDell White Developers. Lighthouse raised the funds to do the pre-development on this project and worked with Brad Mathis and James White of LuDell White who developed the project. It is income restricted, but we tried to design it in such a way that one would not be able to tell whether it is market rate or LMI restricted. It was also designed by looking at a lot of developments in Chicago and New York. What excites me about this project and our other projects is we are really raising the bar when it comes to developments for LMI families.

From Lighthouse and LuDell White's perspective working on this townhome project was an extremely positive experience. Consequently we have launched a new company called Midwest Housing Corp. It is a vehicle to do more of these large scale new urbanism style developments, of which Uptown Village is one.

Uptown Village is our first new joint venture project. We hope to hear within the next 10 days regarding our funding.

Our next large project is called La Casa De York which is a factory de-conversion of the old York Band Instrument Company at 1600 S Division (The House of York). This project will be 18 loft style apartments targeted for working class families that are working in the adjacent industry. These 1,2, & 3 bedroom lofts will be designed just like lofts downtown, but be targeted for working families rent will be affordable.

If you have any questions or feedback about our projects we would love to hear from you.

PS I believe so much in the Madison Hall area that my wife and I bought 1153 Madison, which was abandoned for over 20 years and redeveloped it into a loft upstairs and two retail shops below. We moved in two weeks ago.

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Welcome to the forum!.. I think it's great to get some of the developers on board.

Question, and I'm not sure you'll be able to answer at this point, but when you say lofts affordable for working familes, what rental rates are you talking about. I only ask, b/c I am former resident of American Seating Park, and the 650sq ft. studio was $600/month. I know condo living is also fairly expensive in the downtown "loft" style condo's.

I'm assuming that much of the cost is due to the "lifestyle appeal" of these types of living and not so much actual "cost" of the building and convertion? Could you shine some light on this subject if possible anyone?

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Welcome to the forum!.. I think it's great to get some of the developers on board.

Question, and I'm not sure you'll be able to answer at this point, but when you say lofts affordable for working familes, what rental rates are you talking about.  I only ask, b/c I  am former resident of American Seating Park, and the 650sq ft. studio was $600/month.  I know condo living is also fairly expensive in the downtown "loft" style condo's.

I'm assuming that much of the cost is due to the "lifestyle appeal" of these types of living and not so much actual "cost" of the building and convertion?  Could you shine some light on this subject if possible anyone?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Man, I almost asked the same question. It's like we're related or somethin!

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Here are the projected numbers on the La Casa De York project:

3 bedroom apartments will be about 1,200 sq feet and are projected to rent for $675-$750 per month.

2 Bedroom apartments will be about 950 square feet and and are projected to rent for $575-$600 per month

and 1 Bedroom apartments will be about 750 square feet and are projected to rent for about $400-$575 per month.

To qualify you must earn 60% of median income or lower. For a family of 4 that would be about $35,000.

Ammentites include a large community room with a computer lab, wireless internet for all apartments, underground parking, a large play area for the kids along with a gazeboo, grills and picnic area, and laundry facilities in each apartment. All apartments will be designed in a traditional open loft style with exposed duct work and brick work, open floor plan, and large oversized windows. Kitchens and baths will be finished with solid surface countertops and top of the line cabinets.

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I agree with Dave. Just North of downtown Chicago in the River North area, they have been levelling the Projects and have started to redevelop the area. Right in the middle of it all is a giant strip mall with a large grocery store (I think a Plums), which I think looks greatly out of place in an urban setting. It is better than the projects though :thumbsup:

I find it interesting that it seems that the people who have lived here in GR most of their life, or grew up here, are a lot more pessimistic than those who have transplanted here, like my wife and me nine years ago, from other parts of Michigan and the country. When first exploring the city, I was struck by the large variety of great architecture all over the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods. The skyline may not look the greatest from miles away (we're getting there), but when you get into the downtown area, it is a pleasant surprise.

Large glass filled skyscrapers look great from a distance, but can be very cold and un-inviting at pedestrian level.

Sorry for going a little off topic.

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Welcome Dave. Is Uptown Village income restricted or a mixture? Are you looking to do mainly market-rate retail on the ground floor?

I think it will be a great addition to the area. Keep up the good work.

Joe

Hello All,

Dave Allen here, Executive Director of Lighthouse.  I came across this forum by researching Lighthouse Communities web site stats.  We have received quite a few referral hits from the forum so I checked it out.  I think its a great avenue to talk about urban living and urban neighborhood development.

Couple of points of clarification regaring Uptown Village and the Madison Hall Townhomes: 

The Townhomes were developed by LuDell White Developers.  Lighthouse raised the funds to do the pre-development on this project and worked with Brad Mathis and James White of LuDell White who developed the project.  It is income restricted, but we tried to design it in such a way that one would not be able to tell whether it is market rate or LMI restricted.  It was also designed by looking at a lot of developments in Chicago and New York.  What excites me about this project and our other projects is we are really raising the bar when it comes to developments for LMI families.

From Lighthouse and LuDell White's perspective working on this townhome project was an extremely positive experience.  Consequently we have launched a new company called Midwest Housing Corp.  It is a vehicle to do more of these large scale new urbanism style developments, of which Uptown Village is one.

Uptown Village is our first new joint venture project.  We hope to hear within the next 10 days regarding our funding.

Our next large project is called La Casa De York which is a factory de-conversion of the old York Band Instrument Company at 1600 S Division (The House of York).  This project will be 18 loft style apartments targeted for working class families that are working in the adjacent industry.  These 1,2, & 3 bedroom lofts will be designed just like lofts downtown, but be targeted for working families rent will be affordable.

If you have any questions or feedback about our projects we would love to hear from you.

PS I believe so much in the Madison Hall area that my wife and I bought 1153 Madison, which was abandoned for over 20 years and redeveloped it into a loft upstairs and two retail shops below.  We moved in two weeks ago.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Indeed, it was Freddy's idea of wit. Unfortunately he likes to drag conversations down (don't you Freddy?) ;) . What is happening on Madison, Wealthy, Diamond, Division, Cherry and other streets once left for dead is a great example of the tenacity of our great city. Keep up the good work Dave and spread the word about our forum. It helps to have people like yourself on the site to give a fresh perspective on development.

Joe

I am sure your comment about chicken and liquor was meant to point out a stereotype, but it is offensive to me nonetheless.  What I see in my neighborhood on Madison and Hall is neighbors working together to develop real community that has a real thriving local economy.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Welcome Dave. Is Uptown Village income restricted or a mixture? Are you looking to do mainly market-rate retail on the ground floor?

I think it will be a great addition to the area. Keep up the good work.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Uptown Village will also be income restricted. One of the main arguments about the type of development Lighthouse does in changing neighborhoods is that it gentrifies the neighborhood.

We have the philosphy that all development must be targeted, and highly intentionally planned. A neighborhood is like a spider web...touch one area and if affects all areas. Consequently we usually try to establish rental properties first that will ensure long term affordability, then begin very targeted development of key "problem" properties, then provide support for existing homeowners that are struggling and then for the most part the market will take hold.

I really have issue with the gentrification argument. The antithesis is to do nothing and leave them alone. And honestly in many of these neighborhoods things are not working in their current state. We prefer to use the term gentrification with justice.

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Dave,

Can you tell me a little more about the term income restricted? Is this the same thing as subsidized housing? Or are there differences? I don't mean to sound like a snob but the difference between people living there WITH or WITHOUT jobs will make a huge difference in the rebirth of the neighborhood.

There are plenty of people out earning a living that still can't make ends meet. I hope this is the type of housing you are providing. Everyone needs a little help now and then, I just hope it isn't a development for people living off the government dole.

People may take offense to this but it WILL be a deciding factor on the redevelopment of what Wealthy Street becomes.

Joe

Uptown Village will also be income restricted.  One of the main arguments about the type of development Lighthouse does in changing neighborhoods is that it gentrifies the neighborhood. 

We have the philosphy that all development must be targeted, and highly intentionally planned.  A neighborhood is like a spider web...touch one area and if affects all areas.  Consequently we usually try to establish rental properties first that will ensure long term affordability, then begin very targeted development of key "problem" properties, then provide support for existing homeowners that are struggling and then for the most part the market will take hold.

I really have issue with the gentrification argument.  The antithesis is to do nothing and leave them alone.  And honestly in many of these neighborhoods things are not working in their current state.  We prefer to use the term gentrification with justice.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Dave,

Can you tell me a little more about the term income restricted? Is this the same thing as subsidized housing? Or are there differences? I don't mean to sound like a snob but the difference between people living there WITH or WITHOUT jobs will make a huge difference in the rebirth of the neighborhood.

There are plenty of people out earning a living that still can't make ends meet. I hope this is the type of housing you are providing. Everyone needs a little help now and then, I just hope it isn't a development for people living off the government dole.

People may take offense to this but it WILL be a deciding factor on the redevelopment of what Wealthy Street becomes.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Joe,

That's a great question. Uptown Village is not subsidized housing. We already have TOO much of that in GR. At Lighthouse we really try to watch our language. We use Low Income Housing Tax Credits to do much of our development. However, even using the term "Low Income Housing" leads one to stereotypes of the type of renter that will move in. So, we decided to use the term income restricted, or working class apartments. Basically one needs to earn less than 60% of the area median income or less to qualify to rent one of our apartments.

The median income for a family of 4 in Kent County is about $57,000. So to qualify for one of our apartments a family of four must make less than $35,000 per year. What we are trying to do is provide best in class apartments for working families at rates they can afford.

Uptown Village is NOT government housing. It is not even housing for folks without jobs or a means to pay. Our target audience is a family that desires a GREAT place to live withhout having to pay a GREAT price. The cool thing about our porgram is that once a family qualifies to move in, no matter how much their income rises, they stay. We are looking for urban pioneers.

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Dave,

That is excellent! It sounds like it will be a great addition to Wealthy. Could you tell me when you are projecting to start this development? Along with all of the other development of Wealthy, it sounds like this will be an anchor for the neighborhood.

Joe

Joe,

That's a great question.  Uptown Village is not subsidized housing.  We already have TOO much of that in GR.  At Lighthouse we really try to watch our language.  We use Low Income Housing Tax Credits to do much of our development.  However, even using the term "Low Income Housing" leads one to stereotypes of the type of renter that will move in.  So, we decided to use the term income restricted, or working class apartments.  Basically one needs to earn less than 60% of the area median income or less to qualify to rent one of our apartments.

The median income for a family of 4 in Kent County is about $57,000.  So to qualify for one of our apartments a family of four must make less than $35,000 per year.  What we are trying to do is provide best in class apartments for working families at rates they can afford. 

Uptown Village is NOT government housing.  It is not even housing for folks without jobs or a means to pay.  Our target audience is a family that desires a GREAT place to live withhout having to pay a GREAT price.  The cool thing about our porgram is that once a family qualifies to move in, no matter how much their income rises, they stay.  We are looking for urban pioneers.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Just wanted to say welcome Dave, it's good to hear and have developers' voices on the board. I have been working with a company that does affordable housing in Detroit, and I'm excited to see the Lighthouse project take shape in GR. I'm taking notes!

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Dave,

That is excellent! It sounds like it will be a great addition to Wealthy. Could you tell me when you are projecting to start this development? Along with all of the other development of Wealthy, it sounds like this will be an anchor for the neighborhood.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Here is our best case scenario. We hope to receive word on our tax credit reservation within the next 10 days. Once we get our reservation we hope to close on the properties before the end of September and begin construction next spring. At least that's the plan.

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The Press had an article today about Uptown Village. It looks like the planning commission approved the project.

Dave, I didn't realize the project involved knocking down houses (I thought it was only the old garage). How many houses will be removed? I think it will be a great project, kudo's to you and your partners. It looks like some of the housing will be rather large (2200 sq ft)!

Joe

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Development could bring new life to blighted area

Friday, May 27, 2005

By Rick Wilson

The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS -- A partnership between Lighthouse Communities Inc. and a private developer could put a $5 million project featuring affordable housing and new businesses in one of the Southeast Side's most blighted neighborhoods.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission on Thursday recommended rezoning a 41,000-square-foot development at the southwest corner of Wealthy Street and Diamond Avenue SE to accommodate the proposal. It's the first step toward Lighthouse and LuDell-White Development building a mix of condominiums, apartments and commercial space called Uptown Village in an area now littered with abandoned homes and vacant storefronts.

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On a lighter note, speaking of Wealthy Street, when are we going to start seeing demolition of that old garage to make way for this project? I drove by there the other day and nothing's changed :(

I'll post the renderings now that I've figured out how to do that ;) :

75969258_ba4e738c5b_o.jpg

75969259_20debf21fe.jpg

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