$30M Investment Fund Focuses on Detroit Housing

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Troy MI-based Kresge Foundation and a Washington nonprofit on Tuesday announced a $30 million effort aimed at building housing along Detroit’s Woodward Avenue corridor.

NCB Capital Impact will team with the foundation and other supporters to provide financing for new mixed-use, mixed income housing projects focused on access to mass transit, high density and walkable neighborhoods in the city’s core. The development area along Woodward would include the Midtown neighborhood around Wayne State University, where occupancy rates exceed 95 percent.

Affordable housing is a key — and thus far lacking — component in downtown’s redevelopment, experts say. More downtown workers, some spurred by incentives from their employers, have been clamoring for apartments and lofts.

“Access to capital is critical to expanding opportunity, strengthening neighborhoods and improving quality of life in our cities,” Rip Rapson, president of The Kresge Foundation, said in a statement.

The project will be called the Woodward Corridor Investment Fund, and will provide long-term fixed rate loans that aren’t now available through traditional financing. The aim is to allow developers to move quickly on construction projects.

“We know from market studies and from our revitalization work that there’s pent up demand for mixed-use, mixed income, transit-oriented projects in Detroit’s core,” said Kresge’s Laura Trudeau, who leads the foundation’s Detroit Program, in a statement. “The Woodward Corridor is a diverse and vibrant area, but broader economic conditions have created conditions that have discouraged lenders.”

The program comes as several other projects are moving to fruition to create a more vibrant Woodward corridor and downtown business district.

The fund also is being supported by MetLife, Inc., PNC Bank, Prudential, Calvert Foundation, Living Cities, and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation. The fund will start accepting applications Oct. 1 and make initial loan approvals by the end for the year on projects that will start construction during 2014.

Source: The Detroit News (link opens in a new window)

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