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Cincinnati developer wants to build affordable housing in downtown Jackson

Posted at 4:48 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 15:04:05-04

JACKSON, Mich. — The Blackstone Apartments, a proposed affordable housing development in Jackson, is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The development would be on North Blackstone Street between West Pearl Street and West Louis Glick Highway.

The developers are Cincinnati, Ohio based MVAH Partners

Senior Vice President of Development Pete Schwiegeraht said they are looking to build a mixture of 53 one-, two- and three-bedroom units with the goal of serving families of all sizes.

Rent will be either 30 percent, 40 percent or 60 percent of the area's median income. According to datausa, the 2019 median household income in Jackson was $35,464.

“In the end, that’s going to create really six different levels depending on the size and income of the household so that we can really serve a broad spectrum there of low-to-moderate income families,” Schwiegeraht said.

MVAH Partners has worked with the city previously, building the Francis Senior Lofts on 123 E. Wesley St. with the help of a low-income tax credit program.

“When we started those conversations, we really brought forward a vision of a multi-generational housing opportunity where we could serve families of all ages, sizes and types,” Schwiegeraht said. "So, now that is up and operating and 100 percent occupied since we've built it we've shifted our focus into serving our other bandwidth, That being workforce housing."

The City Council approved a payment in lieu of taxes agreement for the development, which says developers will pay the city 6 percent of future rental income. City officials could not provide specifics of how much they otherwise would have paid without the agreement.

Schwiegeraht said the agreement was crucial to getting this project started.

“This is affordable housing. We operate on restricted and reduced rents, which really creates a limited cash flow to the development of this scale. So, having operational expenses that match that affordability and cash flow from that, it really makes for a development that can underwrite and be feasible from a financial perspective as well,” Schwiegeraht said.

MVAH Partners will partner with the Jackson Housing Commission.

"We have a huge need for more affordable housing in the city. That's been something that we've heard from the community and from advocates within the housing space. I think that need has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Hopefully development projects like this that provide low-to-moderate income housing will help service that need," Dobies said.

He believes this will help the working class.

“People that are making anywhere from 15 to 25 dollars an hour, will be able to qualify for those units. That makes rent probably about 400 to 800 dollars a month. It’ll be affordable and I think this council will continue to look for work with Miller Valentine and future developers to build out more quality, safe, dignified affordable housing in the city of Jackson,” Dobies said.

According to Dobies these housing developments that have been popping up in the city of Jackson especially in the downtown area are strategic as the revenue and people that it brings into the downtown area, “future opportunities and future businesses would want to locate there.”

The project is still in its early stages. MVAH partners will apply for state funding in October. If it comes through, the construction will start in the spring or summer of 2022 and have development complete by summer 2023.

9/23/2021 CORRECTION: The original version of this article stated the developer was Miller Valentine. That is incorrect. The developer is MVAH Partners.

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