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- Downtown Development Authority to provide direct financial support for affordable housing for the first time since it was created by Mayor Young in 1976
- Residential developers to be offered low-interest loans in exchange for lower rents
- DDA Board to vote Wednesday to approve final program guidelines and first loans
- District Detroit development would receive first loans to support 139 new units of deeply affordable housing
DETROIT – Hundreds of new deeply affordable housing units could be built in the city’s rapidly developing downtown over the next several years if the board of the Downtown Detroit Development Authority (DDA), votes on Wednesday to approve final guidelines for a new financing tool for qualifying projects within the DDA boundaries, Mayor Mike Duggan announced today.
The move comes as overall demand for multi-family housing Downtown remains high, as evidenced by a low vacancy rate of 5.9%, which is down from a 12.1% vacancy rate in 2020. If approved, the loan program would mark the first time the DDA would target financial support for affordable housing downtown since the DDA was created in 1976 at the urging of Mayor Coleman Young.
“We have a clear vision to create a city, including our downtown, where Detroiters of all income levels can afford to live side by side in the same buildings as people of much higher income,” said Mayor Duggan, who Chairs the DDA and appoints board members. “This new fund gives us the ability to make downtown living accessible to Detroiters of all income levels.”
Under City ordinance, residential housing developments that receive discounted city land or direct support from the City of $500,000 or more are required to set aside 20% of the units for residents earning no more than 80% of the area median income.
Under the DDA program, loans would be available to developments where at least 20% of the residential units will be reserved for households making between 50% and 70% of the area median income. That translates to a household income between $31,350 and $43,890 for an individual or $44,750 and $62,650 for a family of four. The DDA’s new incentive would apply only to developments located in the DDA’s downtown development area that offered rents for residents earning incomes below that level.
In order to be eligible for a loan, the development must:
- Be a multi-unit residential development within the DDA footprint that will include at least 10 affordable housing units
- Set aside at least 20% of its units for residents earning between 50% and 70% of AMI
The maximum loan amount would be $200,000 per affordable unit, determined on a sliding scale, with larger loans offered to developments that makes units available to residents of lower income levels as follows:
Rent Affordability Target Loan Amount
80% AMI No loan available
70% AMI 20% of Hard Construction Costs
60% AMI 30% of Hard Construction Costs
50% AMI 40% of Hard Construction Cost
“This new tool will allow us to create more affordable housing units at lower rents than we could achieve without it,” said Kenyetta Bridges, Executive Vice President of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which staffs the DDA board. “We also are fortunate to have developers who are prepared to use this new loan program immediately to help them reduce rents on these units.”
The DDA board also will vote to approve the first-ever loans under the program, in the aggregate amount of $23,765,000, using the new tool for three mixed-income residential projects to be developed by a joint venture between the Related Companies and Olympia Development of Michigan. Those projects will deliver a combined 139 units of deeply affordable housing at 50% AMI. Providing units at 50% AMI means that an individual living in one of the units would pay about $850 in monthly rent at a time when market rate is closer to $2,400.
|Project||Total Units||50% AMI Affordable Units|
“Although these residents will be paying much lower rents, thanks to this program, they will enjoy the same amenities as those paying market rate, which is the beauty of mixed income housing,” said Bridges.
Loans may be forgivable based on residency
Another aspect of the DDA’s new loan parameters is a pathway to having portions of the loan forgiven based upon occupancy in the affordable units by existing Detroit residents.
“A unique element of this loan program is that developers would give preference to existing residents of Detroit. A portion of the loan may be forgiven where the developer demonstrates that the affordable units are being rented out to someone who has been a resident of Detroit for at least three years,” said Bridges. “That’s a new approach in Detroit we are very proud of.”
Julie Schneider, Director of the city’s Department of Housing & Revitalization applauded the DDA’s announcement.
“The need for quality affordable housing in Detroit is only going to grow as the market rises and rents along with it,” Schneider said. “This new tool means that we can create more deeply affordable housing units than we could without it because we won’t have to use some of our more traditional tools, such as low-income housing tax credits and various HUD funds, for downtown projects. Instead, we can use those resources to create other affordable housing in neighborhoods across the city.”
About Detroit Economic Growth Corporation:
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) is the City’s economic development catalyst. Our team is creating transformational opportunities for residents, local businesses, and new investors – right here in Detroit. DEGC’s mission is to design and implement innovative solutions that attract investment, create jobs and advanced Detroit’s economy for all residents. We are dedicated to inclusive economic development, and we take this responsibility to heart. With a team that is diverse and representative of the communities we serve, DEGC is working to reduce the inequality that can be barriers to economic opportunity.
About the Downtown Development Authority:
The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) supports private investments and business growth through loans, sponsorships and grants, capital improvements to public infrastructure and additional programs designed to increase economic activity.
The DDA was established pursuant to Michigan Public Act 197 of 1975, as amended, which has been recodified into Michigan Public Act 57 of 2018, and supports private investments and business growth through loans, sponsorships and grants, capital improvements to public infrastructure and additional programs designed to increase economic activity. Funding for DDA programs comes from a number of sources such as grants, contracts, interest on loans and captured tax increments – increases in property taxes that result from new investments – on approved developments. Property owners within the DDA district pay a 1 mill property tax to fund the basis operation of the DDA.
The DDA is governed by its Board of Directors who are appointed by the Mayor subject to the consent of Detroit City Council.