It's taken 4 1/2 years to get off the ground, but renovation is now underway at Newberry Hall, the former nurses' housing located on John R at Willis in Midtown. Built in 1898, funded by the Newberry family -- major investors in the Packard Motor Co. -- and designed by Elijah Meijer, the architect who designed the Michigan State Capital among several others, the building has "social importance to Detroit and architectural importance to Detroit," says Ernie Zachary of development and finance consultant firm
Zachary and Associates
. "It's a really important building and to lose this building would be criminal."
Over the past few years, the developer has changed, but the goal has remained consistent: to renovate the structure into housing. There will be 28 rental units ranging in size from 700 to 900 square feet available for $1.30/square foot. Zachary expects construction to take a year.
Federal and state historic and brownfield tax credits -- which are being purchased by Comerica Bank -- are being employed, as is gap financing from the Detroit Investment Fund. "A simple loan with some equity wasn't going to cut it for this project," says Zachary, who credits staffer Amy Anderson with plugging away at the endless forms and legal documents the financing layers required.
A ground-breaking celebration of the renovation is being held on May 6 at 11 a.m. at Newberry Hall, 100 E. Willis. RSVP today, May 4, to University Cultural Center Assoc.
Source: Ernie Zachary, Zachary and Associates
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh