Michigan Developers Unveil Affordable Housing Projects with Amenities and Design

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorKalkaska/Jackson, Mich.–Brookstone Capital and Hooker DeJong have completed construction of two affordable housing developments in Kalkaska and Jackson, Mich. Both the projects have architecture and amenities seldom offered in affordable housing projects in the U.S. The Village at Rivers Edge in Kalkaska has 48 walk-up apartments. The exterior features a bold color palette intended to offer residents an alternative to the dominant neutral gray and beige. It also features individual entries with full glass doors, multi-colored siding with eleven different colors, gabled roofs with outdoor patios and decks providing a view of the river and surrounding woods. The units feature nine-ft. ceilings, tall windows, cherry wood cabinetry and appliances with a stainless steel look. In addition, the Village also features a community building equipped with full kitchen, computer learning center and children’s play area. The $4.25-million project was financed partially through MSHDA Low Income Housing Tax Credits.The downtown Jackson project, 310 South Mechanic Lofts, is an adaptive reuse of a 119-year-old Elks Lodge building that has been converted into 18 affordable loft apartments. Originally built in 1889, it was the first Elks Lodge in Michigan. Now the building has undergone a complete interior renovation with exposed brick and ductwork, kitchen cabinetry with crown molding, under-cabinet lighting, stainless steel appliances, washer/dryers in every unit, bright colors, ceramic tile, berber carpeting and solid bamboo flooring.The building’s attic space has been converted into six two-bedroom lofts with exposed giant timber trusses from the original structure, while the basement has been converted into indoor parking. The total cost of construction on this project is $2.8 million. The development was financed through a combination of MSHDA Low Income Housing Tax Credits and a permanent loan through Fifth Third Bank.“Our goal with 310 South Mechanic Lofts was to leverage and enhance the distinct characteristics of the existing structure while adding new elements to give it a fresh, urban feel cohesive with its downtown location,” says David Layman president and CEO of Hooker DeJong Architects & Engineers.“Too many developers of affordable housing see great design and economic feasibility as mutually exclusive. That is not the case and this project proves it,” he adds.Karl Chew, principal of Brookstone Capital, says, “Our goal is to make great design accessible to everyone.”