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Feds OK $17M loan for Detroit homes, art

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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Feds OK $17M loan for Detroit homes, art

Money to help pay for theater, studios and 70 apartments near Medical Center

By R.J. King / The Detroit News

DETROIT - The Department of Housing and Urban Development approved a $17-million loan guarantee last week to help fund an emerging housing and arts project in the Garfield Historic District near the Detroit Medical Center.

The money will be used to help underwrite $35.6 million in improvements, including 70 apartments in three vacant buildings near Woodward and Garfield, expansion of the G.R. Namdi Art Gallery on East Forest near Woodward, along with a 270-seat performing arts theater, visual arts studio and dance studio. The latter facilities will be overseen by the Arts League of Michigan.

"The loan guarantee was something I talked personally about with HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson," said Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. "We're taking some dilapidated buildings and converting them into housing for low- and moderate-income families, adding three parking garages and a great deal of landscaping."

The Garfield Historic District fell on hard times following the exodus of more than 1 million residents to the suburbs, starting in the 1950s. But in recent years, community groups and private developers have been adding urban lofts, stores and restaurants in the area.

In turn, several cultural attractions like the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Science Center and Max M. Fisher Music Center have been renovated or expanded in recent years.

The Garfield Historic District is expected to take three to four years to complete.

"Together we can develop vital neighborhoods that attract artistic and commercial activity, create jobs and provide affordable homes for lower income families," Jackson said in a prepared statement.

You can reach R.J. King at (313) 222-2504 or [email protected]

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