New details are emerging about the Ilitch organization's $60-million plan to preserve and create new affordable housing in Detroit's lower Cass Corridor near Little Caesars Arena, where many of the group's past development promises have failed to materialize.
The effort to rehab six apartment buildings and set aside half the units as affordable has earned broad praise for its inclusivity, though some are more guarded in their optimism.
Two of the buildings are occupied and four are vacant. The plan gets particularly ambitious when it comes to the occupied buildings, where the Free Press reports Olympia Development has promised to maintain rents from $300 to $440 and cover relocation costs for tenants before and after renovation. The paper reports there are 45 eligible units, many of which are occupied by seniors on fixed incomes.
Olympia intends to first fix up one of the empty apartment buildings, likely the Claridge at 459 Henry St., and then use it as temporary or optional permanent housing for existing tenants of the Berwin apartments and Bretton Hall, 439 Henry St., which are both occupied.
Development firm Broder and Sachse in 2018 did something similar at 40 Davenport St. Residents in 28 of 93 of that building's units were relocated during a $12-million redevelopment and moved back in with rent hikes of just five percent. Average rent in the building before renovations was $600.
Initially, 44 occupied units were targeted for the rent stabilization, but not all residents returned.
For its planned project, Olympia is teaming up with Cinnaire Solutions, a nonprofit community development group which the Free Press reports has a history of successful projects.