The City of Ypsilanti held a community participation meeting on Dec 16, 2021, to discuss a new 306-unit apartment development at 945 W. Clark Road to gauge community members’ perspectives.
The unit will consist of 154 family affordable units and 150 senior affordable units. These units will be priced based on the Area Median Income (AMI) in Washtenaw County. According to the City of Ypsilanti, 90% of these 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units will be available at 60% AMI and 10% will be available at 40% AMI.
Lincoln Avenue Capital, the development company for the new apartments, has been in contact with the city for the past few months. Kyle Brasser, a developer for the company, presented information regarding the new complex in hopes of receiving a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) at 5% of shelter rates, bringing their annual difference between estimated taxes and a 5% PILOT to $829,520.39 for 30 years.
“Effectively what we’re asking for here is to make a reduced property tax or a payment that compensates for property taxes because for an affordable development like this, in order to finance and get the loan necessary to build the buildings, we can’t pay the full amount of property taxes and not have a large financing gap,” Brasser said.
Lincoln Avenue Capital states that they are dedicated to developing high-quality affordable housing and creating long-term value for residents and communities that their developments serve. However, with housing today only getting more expensive, they are still forced to have limits concerning what can be charged for rent.
“Creating affordable housing requires subsidies,” Brasser said. “The most common subsidy in affordable housing is called the Federal Low Income Housing, that’s a federal resource that is allocated at the state level. The state of Michigan has a housing authority, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and they advocated for a low-income housing tax credit for a project like this."
Many community members left good comments on the new development. However, many were also left wondering whether or not this new development would be affordable after all.
“This does not seem affordable to me for Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti incomes and I don’t understand why. The median income of Washtenaw County is used, but it seems to me that the average income of Ypsilanti should be used to determine what is affordable,” said a Ypsilanti community member.
Lincoln Avenue Capital assured the Ypsilanti community that they understood the concern. Despite the tricky balance of the increased building costs, they state that they are doing everything they can to keep the housing affordable.
Although their timeline is not complete yet, Brasser stated that “we are hoping to start late summer, I would say August. Both buildings, if they started at the same time, would take about 16 months to complete. We will be sensitive to our surroundings.”
To learn more about the 945 W. Clark Road development, visit the City of Ypsilanti webpage.