Parker Durand—A Project Providing Deep Affordability

December 16th, 2019

Mike Smith, vice president of neighborhoods, explains how this new construction, mixed-use building will provide affordable housing for residents in the Islandview/Greater Villages area.

Over four years ago, work began on the Parker Durand (rendering in the image above) to provide the communities in the Islandview/Greater Villages more affordable housing options in the neighborhood. Since that time, we have been working with the City of Detroit and developers The Roxbury Group to finalize plans and financing for the Parker Durand—a $22.5M mixed-use, mixed-income new construction project that creates 92 apartments and first-floor retail at the corners of Kercheval and Van Dyke. Officially announced in November, it joins The Coe down the street as the two original projects in the neighborhood identified as part of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF), the public-private-philanthropic effort between Invest Detroit, the City of Detroit, and others to focus investment in 10 neighborhoods.

Real estate development is a slow process, and this is a good example. The Neighborhood Framework Plan led by the City of Detroit with local residents took a year to host a series of community meetings in which residents identified their hopes and concerns. We followed that by turning the information gathered into actionable plans and projects. At that point, developers were engaged, financing was acquired from multiple organizations, and permitting and approvals followed. As the Islandview/Greater Villages was one of the first three neighborhoods identified for SNF investment, we are excited to see some of the first SNF projects in the City move forward there. We are particularly excited about the Parker Durand because it is the first SNF project to break ground that will have significant residential affordability.

The Parker Durand will supply 92 units of housing with varying levels of affordability. Twenty percent of the units are being offered at 50% Area Median Income (AMI), 30% of the units are at 80% AMI, and the remaining 50% of units are at 120% AMI or below. Though the 50% and 80% AMI units are providing deeper affordability for working-class Detroiters, the 120% units help to encourage mixed-income communities that help sustain the project long-term and provide high-quality housing for everyone in the building. Additionally, the four first-floor retail spaces will be prioritized for neighborhood-serving local businesses.

Resident engagement was a big part of this project. Twelve different local neighborhood groups and organizations offered input that helped shape the affordability levels and retail curation. The site itself required land assembly of 11 different properties along both Kercheval and Van Dyke. The funding needed a number of partners—including Capital Impact Partners’ Capital Magnet Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Community Revitalization Program, and the Affordable Housing Leverage Fund’s HOME dollars managed by Detroit LISC. All of this was ably led by our development partner, The Roxbury Group, long-time Detroit developers of projects throughout the city.

We are incredibly proud of The Parker Durand and the affordable housing options it is bringing to the neighborhoods in the Islandview / Greater Villages area, and we look forward to taking the lessons we learned with this project and applying them in more neighborhoods in the years to come.