GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new affordable housing development in Grand Rapids is now accepting applications from interested homebuyers.
The 2080 Union development, located near Burton Street in Garfield Park, is a project from Dwelling Place that will offer 42 new homes for low- to moderate-income families. The homes are built on a Community Land Trust, meaning the land is owned by the community.
The project is the largest CLT project in the state of Michigan. A CLT home is a middle ground between renting and homeownership: When the home buyer sells the home, it must be kept at an affordable price.
On a tour of the community’s first five homes on Thursday, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said she hopes the development is just the beginning of CLT homes in Grand Rapids.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to use this as a model and scale it up and have it located in different neighborhoods throughout our city,” she said. “We need different types of housing at different price points all over the city, not just one neighborhood. And I think this is a great model.”
She said finding ways to create affordable homeownership in Grand Rapids is a priority to the city, as it helps families build wealth.
It also offers stability, as renters often can’t afford to stay in their homes due to increasing prices.
“It’s easy to undervalue the opportunities that come with consistent place for families,” Dwelling Place CEO Jeremy DeRoo said. “That’s really what this … development is about, is creating that consistency and availability for families to set those roots that allow them to grow.”
West Michigan’s short supply of housing is making it “near impossible” for residents to find a starter home, Dwelling Place said. Like many other communities, Kent County is facing a housing crisis, and a 2022 Housing Next assessment found the city of Grand Rapids needs to add around 14,000 housing units by 2027.
“This is a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Bliss said.
Crews broke ground on the project in August of 2023, creating two new public roads and doing infrastructure work. They started work on the first five homes, which are serving as model homes for the rest, in the fall of 2023.
The three-bedroom homes are all between 968 and 1,335 square feet. They offer 1.5 or two bathrooms and unfinished basements.
Dwelling Place is offering them at 75% of the appraised value, aimed at the “missing middle”: those making between 80% and 120% of Average Market Income. Six of the homes will be offered to those making below 80% AMI.
According to Dwelling Place, a family of four at 80% AMI is making around $75,760 a year, while a family of four at 120% AMI has an income of around $113,640.
Applications for the first 13 homes opened Thursday. Interested home buyers should apply by Jan. 25.
“It is very exciting. This project has been many years in the making,” DeRoo told News 8. “It has taken a lot of effort to both identify how we go about making homes affordable to families, making sure this opportunity is not just available for the first people that buy, (but) this home gets passed on to the next buyer and the next buyer, so that we have a long-term strategy in this community for continuing to have first-time ownership available to residents here.”
2080 Union is the first time Dwelling Place built homes for homeownership. DeRoo said his team has plans to improve or build 500 more homes throughout the Grand Rapids area.
The first 13 homes are expected to be done in late spring. After that, project leaders anticipate finishing a home a week.
“If you are ready to be a homeowner right now, check us out,” DeRoo said. “See if this is what fits well for you.”