Detroit plans new HUD grant application for Brewster-Douglass site
The city of Detroit and Detroit Housing Commission are again embarking on an effort to secure up to $30 million in U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant funding to redevelop the former site of the Brewster-Douglass housing projects.
The Choice Neighborhoods grant would be a key financing piece in the city’s effort to redevelop the 22 acre site, one of the largest residentially-zoned plots of land in an area that has attracted attention from many developers in recent years.
Arthur Jemison, Detroit’s director of housing and revitalization, said Friday that the master plan for the site is being updated and the city and commission are “reviewing team configuration options” with plans to apply for a Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant by the Nov. 22 deadline.
For fiscal year 2017, HUD has $132 million available to be divided up among an expected five recipients. Applicants can request up to $30 million under the program, which is designed to replace low-income housing that has been demolished.
The city selected a joint venture between Dan Gilbert’s Detroit-based Bedrock LLC; Novi-based Ginosko Development Co.; Columbia, Md.-based Enterprise Community Partners; and KBK Enterprises, which has offices in Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh, to develop the project.
When asked if “reviewing team configuration options” meant that one or more of those four companies could be replaced as a member of what’s known as an Implementation Entity, Jemison said: “We are reviewing all options to make our proposal as competitive as possible.” He said Tuesday that a new request for proposals does not need to be issued.
The plan as proposed last year called for 1,037 housing units and tens of thousands of square feet of retail space spread across the following locations:
- The Brewster-Douglass site, which was planned for 850 residential units, the majority of which would have been rentals, although for-sale townhouses could be part of the mix. It would have included 224 public housing replacement units. The site would include 13,400 square feet of neighborhood retail space, plus community and social services space.
- A site at 3480 Russell St. in Eastern Market would have 71 Low Income Housing Tax Credit and market-rate apartments, 24 of which would be live-work units. The project would include 12,000 square feet of first-floor retail space and a 9,000-square-foot light-industrial building that would make possible an expansion of the proposed Detroit Regional Food Accelerator.
- The open-air Shed 4 site in Eastern Market would be enclosed and 20,000 square feet of commercial space, plus 62 workforce and market-rate apartments, would be added on upper floors.
- A property at 124 Alfred St. in Brush Park would be developed with a 54-unit age-restricted building with eight public housing replacement units.
Demolition work at the Brewster-Douglass site was completed in 2014. There were six 14-story high-rises, two six-story buildings and apartment row houses, with as many as 10,000 people living in the buildings at one time.
It is that site that qualifies the city for the HUD grant and will be considered the priority site for affordable housing replacement.