GRDadof3

The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

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On 2/23/2019 at 10:45 AM, joeDowntown said:

It doesn’t really shed light on the bankruptcy side of things, but it’s a really interesting read. I’ve liked everything 616 did (minus,maybe, the Michigan Street project). I always had a hard time with all of the “tribe” talk. It sounded very buzzwordy, self serving, and straight out of a TED talk. But I like that he basically admitted that the loud, all PR, all social angle got old and tired (the harpoon and the whale reference). 

It seemed like a pretty honest, heartfelt story (if I’d only paused here, listened here, etc). I like people that can reflect on what didn’t go right, instead of the “all success, wonderful life, and beautiful sunsets” BS we typically see in this day and age  

In the end, Grand Rapids is much better off than before 616 started. I think his success on the first few projects brought other developers to the table, and they did rehab some of the building that seemed unlikely to be rehabbed (the Kendall building on Monroe was a huge victory in my books). 

Joe

Edit: n/m

In other news, 1 bedroom apartments in this church conversion on the West Side will go for $1350/month.

https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2019/02/vacant-grand-rapids-church-to-be-converted-into-apartments.html

More details from back in November:

https://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/topic/116840-new-projects-on-the-west-side/?page=46&tab=comments#comment-1560037

 

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On 2/23/2019 at 10:45 AM, joeDowntown said:

It doesn’t really shed light on the bankruptcy side of things,

The article oddly titled - given that he was gone before everything began to unravel.  Agree that it is an interesting read, and notably reflective.

22 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

1 bedroom apartments in this church conversion on the West Side will go for $1350/month.

Given the boutique nature of the project that sounds about right. 
And lest anyone take that for something like "normal" I just found a unit in the heart of Heritage Hill, for a family member, that rents for $750/mo.  That's with off-street parking.
[merely preempting the thing that happens - where someone finds an expensive unit and then asserts that is the price of living in a given neighborhood - which seems to be how many in The Salon and other forums do "research"]  ... alternatively maybe some people are just really bad at searching for apartments?

On 2/23/2019 at 10:45 AM, joeDowntown said:

had a hard time with all of the “tribe” talk. It sounded very buzzwordy

So this.  I wish people were better at stepping out-side their clique and hearing how absurd that stuff sounds.

Edited by whitemice

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49 minutes ago, whitemice said:

The article oddly titled - given that he was gone before everything began to unravel.  Agree that it is an interesting read, and notably reflective.

Given the boutique nature of the project that sounds about right. 
And lest anyone take that for something like "normal" I just found a unit in the heart of Heritage Hill, for a family member, that rents for $750/mo.  That's with off-street parking.
[merely preempting the thing that happens - where someone finds an expensive unit and then asserts that is the price of living in a given neighborhood - which seems to be how many in The Salon and other forums do "research"]  ... alternatively maybe some people are just really bad at searching for apartments?

So this.  I wish people were better at stepping out-side their clique and hearing how absurd that stuff sounds.

You can still rent an entire 3 bedroom house with a yard for $1400 in the GR area. $1350/month just sounded high to me, especially since it's hard to get roommates to share a one bedroom. 

But I agree with your Salon comments. "Prices here are higher than in Denver and Chicago!!" ie I found an apartment here that is more expensive than an apartment I saw online in Denver. :P

Although I will concede that new construction and land pricing for a new mid rise apartment building here is going to be pretty similar to Denver. So in a comparable apartment complex, they may be very close to each other. 

 

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2 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

You can still rent an entire 3 bedroom house with a yard for $1400 in the GR area. $1350/month just sounded high to me, especially since it's hard to get roommates to share a one bedroom. 

$1350 is pretty much inline with the neighborhood.    Might even be cheaper depending on if the developer is going to charge for parking or not.  People who live in these places are willing paying a premium location(I am one of them lol).    Were the places you checked in Denver and Chicago in equivalent "high demand/trendy neighborhoods" with amenities?  I question a price point on a transit friendly,  walkable neighborhood with retail and nightlife being cheaper in Denver vs. Grand Rapids  but I wouldn't know where to look.

 

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53 minutes ago, MJLO said:

$1350 is pretty much inline with the neighborhood.    Might even be cheaper depending on if the developer is going to charge for parking or not.  People who live in these places are willing paying a premium location(I am one of them lol).    Were the places you checked in Denver and Chicago in equivalent "high demand/trendy neighborhoods" with amenities?  I question a price point on a transit friendly,  walkable neighborhood with retail and nightlife being cheaper in Denver vs. Grand Rapids  but I wouldn't know where to look.

 

A bit anecdotal, but I had a buddy renting a new construction one bedroom just a few blocks from Coors Field in Denver. $2000 a month, and that was back in 2013. 

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1 hour ago, MJLO said:

$1350 is pretty much inline with the neighborhood.    Might even be cheaper depending on if the developer is going to charge for parking or not.  People who live in these places are willing paying a premium location(I am one of them lol).    Were the places you checked in Denver and Chicago in equivalent "high demand/trendy neighborhoods" with amenities?  I question a price point on a transit friendly,  walkable neighborhood with retail and nightlife being cheaper in Denver vs. Grand Rapids  but I wouldn't know where to look.

 

I don't know if I would call where this church is located as a "premium location?" Maybe I'm wrong.  There are still a ton of run-down homes all throughout that area between Seward and Stocking. 

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2 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

I don't know if I would call where this church is located as a "premium location?" Maybe I'm wrong.  There are still a ton of run-down homes all throughout that area between Seward and Stocking. 

A premium for location. :)    The area around 4th and Stocking is showing some life, and it's only a few block walk from BSM and everything else on Bridge.    To be fair their price point is lower than the new apartments directly on Bridge.  I definitely agree the area is in a transition zone.  I do think the proximity to Bridge is still close enough that they will fill those spaces at that price point. 

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Well, for ADUs it looks like the conclusion is the Qualified Review, as expected.  So, it is basically a ~$500 dollar discount on the application process, and one should still plan on it taking 5 weeks, and could still get killed by your friendly Neighborhood Association.

https://grandrapidscitymi.iqm2.com//Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=5337&MediaPosition=&ID=8289&CssClass=

That's a wrap;  Housing NOW was BAD for ADUs.

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Yet the poison pill remains:

Quote

The following ADU use regulations shall not be waived or altered by the Planning Commission.

 

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On 3/1/2019 at 10:06 AM, whitemice said:

Well, for ADUs it looks like the conclusion is the Qualified Review, as expected.  So, it is basically a ~$500 dollar discount on the application process, and one should still plan on it taking 5 weeks, and could still get killed by your friendly Neighborhood Association.

https://grandrapidscitymi.iqm2.com//Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=5337&MediaPosition=&ID=8289&CssClass=

That's a wrap;  Housing NOW was BAD for ADUs.

Horrifying for ADUs.  They killed them.  How foolish.  Do they even realize what they've done?  

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As an FYI, email boxes are probably lighting up with friendly neighborhood opposition to the proposal to make two family dwelling status available by right on corner lot houses.   The battle has begun!  Do your Urban Planeteer duty and write a letter of support to yer commish!  Of course, the NAs won't admit that they are elitists, so the Heritage Hill NA ginned up the same old ridiculous old heap of bulls---, claiming that adding apartments just results in more expensive dwellings and has no effect on prices at all.  :rolleyes: I'm sure Eastown and the rest aren't far behind.  Apparently, basic math, supply and demand curves and virtually every single study ever done on the topic have managed to completely elude these people.   One wonders whether they are actually this stupid, or lying intentionally.   

If they want to oppose apartments in residential neighborhoods, fine--have at it.  Why can't they just admit they are homeowner elitists who dislike renters, and stop trying to gin up opposition with an argument that is arguably fraudulent?  I suppose the cognitive dissonance when they realize they're as bad or worse than the greedy land developers would probably be just too much to handle... :rofl:  

For the letter writing among you, let's do some friendly maths: 

$250,000 loan at, oh, 4.5%.  Let's tack on property taxes, insurance.  About $1770.00 a month.  But--oh--maintenance!  And water bills!  Better tack on about $4000 a year minimum for maintenance in the old place (roofs, furnaces, and all the other good stuff) and $1000 for water.  So another, what.. $400 a month?  So we're already at $2200 a month to live in "their" neighborhood before we even deal with saving up that little down payment problem.  Let's go FHA on that thing with only about 3.5% down and.. What's this?  $9000 minimum to move in?  Plus other closing costs and charges?  So the price of entry to BUY in Heritage Hill is easily $10,000 to get in, and then $2200 a month.  And what if we need a "real" down payment?  $25,000!  Let me tell you who often (but obviously not always) doesn't have that kind of money, statistically speaking:  MINORITIES, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS, SINGLE MOTHERS AND WORKING CLASS FAMILIES.  But who often CAN come up with $1200 a month?  Oh.  The same people that can't afford to buy.  Yeah, that's right.   It's just a retreaded, gussied up argument to make sure that only rich white people can get in, littered with phony concern.  Arguably, they are basically advocating redlining the less well-off.    Hypocritical, assuming they are your typical "social justice" types with yard signs proclaiming their virtue.  Which a large number of them are., since I have seen their signs.   At least the people in East and FH have the decency not the declare their concern and virtue while stomping on you and proclaiming how much their boot is for your own good.

Now, this is perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek and exaggerated, but it's also, um, basically true.   "You gotta be rich(ish) to get in, even though we really, really feel for you.  You just have a little too much money to quality for our full sympathy... we'd rather have some real poor people who don't work (which we know we won't get because no one turns houses into low income housing projects)."  Now, who wants to be the first to draft an email calling declaring that CDBG funded neighborhood associations opposing more rental units are racist anti-immigrant thugs who hate women, the working class, and the poor, and are really just doing the dirty work of the big orange-haired boogey man and ICE?   Ain't me.  I'm just droppin' bread crumbs, people.  A+B=C, and all...  :whistling:

Edited by x99
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15 hours ago, x99 said:

Do your Urban Planeteer duty and write a letter of support to yer commish!

Yes!

15 hours ago, x99 said:

o the Heritage Hill NA ginned up the same old ridiculous old heap of bulls---

The Heritage Hill NA will never ever support anything at all.  That is very clear.  I've heard their opposition in person: their person said, directly, that while it won't impact Heritage Hill very much they will oppose it anyway.

To be fair Easttown had no opinion at the meeting I was at, and NOBL (Belknap) said "it conforms to our ASP".

15 hours ago, x99 said:

let's do some friendly maths

Yeah, they do not have specific enough objections to refute, it is a waste of time to try.  Time is best spent finding people who are supportive and making them speak up - - - and I know how very hard that is.
A short concise generously toned letter will do more than an "explanation".
Also please consider sharing

On 3/6/2019 at 2:53 PM, x99 said:

Horrifying for ADUs.  They killed them.  How foolish.  Do they even realize what they've done?

I had a productive [I think, we'll see] conversation with a City Commissioner.  This might still be open.  I ask to please consider writing in that you are concerned about the additional restrictions creating regarding ADUs and that they are unjustified given that the "by-right" component was not included.  These additional restrictions are not in keeping with the intent of the original proposal.

Edited by whitemice

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On 3/20/2019 at 3:57 PM, x99 said:

Now, who wants to be the first to draft an email calling declaring that CDBG funded neighborhood associations opposing more rental units are racist anti-immigrant thugs who hate women, the working class, and the poor, and are really just doing the dirty work of the big orange-haired boogey man and ICE?

Well, it looks like Minneapolis is taking a step in that direction! :)
https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2019/02/07/minneapolis-aims-to-diversify-its-70-neighborhood-associations/

Fortunately, at least based on last night's City Commission meeting, the Great Master Planning process is looking like it may not arrive until 2022-2023.  Meaning it will not be happening under the current Commission, and possibly no the current mayor - which is excellent news for anyone hoping Grand Rapids will move towards successful urban policies.

In the long run the control of the Neighborhood Associations will turn over.  It is already turning over, and by ~2022 it will have turned over even more.  I am confident younger boards will be, to some degree, less into the Fear-Uncertainty-Doubt game.  I have not heard that many people under 40 wringing their hands about parking - most appear to be shruggy concerning the subject.

But for now it is over!!! What was left of the Housing NOW Zoning recommendations passed; all greatly diminished and the ADU recommendation completely neutered. 
So, after all that noise we got:
(1) duplexes on corner lots,
(2) reduced minimum unit width,
(3) it is maybe easier to build row houses
(4) some complex bonus stuff it may or may not be worth it for anyone to use. 
Wow, that ain't much. A tremendous waste of energy.

Edited by whitemice

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On 3/27/2019 at 7:41 AM, whitemice said:

But for now it is over!!! What was left of the Housing NOW Zoning recommendations passed; all greatly diminished and the ADU recommendation completely neutered. 
So, after all that noise we got:
(1) duplexes on corner lots,
(2) reduced minimum unit width,
(3) it is maybe easier to build row houses
(4) some complex bonus stuff it may or may not be worth it for anyone to use. 
Wow, that ain't much. A tremendous waste of energy.

The duplexes are a start, I suppose, but I always though that recommendation was completely stupid.  It seemed to be mostly arbitrary, and probably should have been heavily attacked on those grounds.  Unfortunately, that would have mean supporting the logical alternative:  Allowing up to  a quadplex everywhere by right within 300 feet of a contiguous commercial area of a certain size, and allowing them by right on all major city streets which have a certain traffic count, provided that parking minimums of 1 space per unit can be met.  Most of those areas are already heavily populated by split up houses, and it's a logical place for more.  Why every corner lot in the city should have a duplex never made sense to me.  Unfortunately, the neighborhood associations chose to attack them on a completely asinine basis, and from what you are saying, lost.

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The census shows that rental vacancies shot up to 13.2% in the 4th quarter of 2018. GR MSA had been hovering around the 3.0% range, one of the lowest in the country. Will be interesting to see what 1st quarter 2019 data shows, and how much has been absorbed since then. 

Makes sense why we haven't seen very many new apartment projects announced this year. Indianapolis had the same spike, as well as Memphis and a couple of other metros (that probably overbuilt a bit). 

It would be cool if some local organization did a rental inventory report, much like the commercial real estate reports that come out. 

I wonder if this will put pressure on rent prices. 

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54 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

I wonder if this will put pressure on rent prices.

Anecdotally, it seems like it has.   As someone who shops for rentals, as I have have a steady flow of friends-n-family moving into the city, the number of incentives has certainly increased;  things like first month free, waived security deposit, etc...  Those kinds of things seemed way less frequent 2016 - 2018.  So, who knows, maybe markets work? :)  [at least for the 80% - 120% AMI].   Finding an apartment in the $750 - $950 range is currently also easier;  availability has clearly increased.  My unsubstantiated gut feeling is that a glob of people have moved from those units - mostly duplexes or subdivided-previously-oneplexes - into the modern, much nicer, amenity laden commercial developments,  freeing them up.

Potential downside of the city's recent overly complicated rental application regulations may be that landlord's are now
discouraging potential tenants who may be on the edge from filling out the application, to prevent having to provide a reason of denial.  In the end it may have some effect of pushing some housing discrimination off-book.

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On 4/13/2019 at 8:49 AM, whitemice said:

Anecdotally, it seems like it has.   As someone who shops for rentals, as I have have a steady flow of friends-n-family moving into the city, the number of incentives has certainly increased;  things like first month free, waived security deposit, etc...  Those kinds of things seemed way less frequent 2016 - 2018.  So, who knows, maybe markets work? :)  [at least for the 80% - 120% AMI].   Finding an apartment in the $750 - $950 range is currently also easier;  availability has clearly increased.  My unsubstantiated gut feeling is that a glob of people have moved from those units - mostly duplexes or subdivided-previously-oneplexes - into the modern, much nicer, amenity laden commercial developments,  freeing them up.

Potential downside of the city's recent overly complicated rental application regulations may be that landlord's are now
discouraging potential tenants who may be on the edge from filling out the application, to prevent having to provide a reason of denial.  In the end it may have some effect of pushing some housing discrimination off-book.

I have noticed more "for rent" signs on homes recently, assuming that people are moving into the newer places that are giving away incentives. The job market is still hot and population keeps growing so I'm assuming the 3000+ apartments that hit the market late last year in the metro area might have something to do with it. It's good to see townhouses becoming more popular in this market. The ones on Spaulding in Forest Hills have opened and they look to be filling up fast. It used to be that very few buyers liked them and very few builders would build them. 

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