City, developer reach deal to ensure affordable housing at redeveloped luxury Detroit high-rise

The City of Detroit has reached a deal with a local developer, ensuring that 20 percent of a soon-to-be renovated apartment building will maintain below-market rates.

Construction is set to begin on the old Elmwood Park Plaza this month, an 18-story apartment tower located just east of the city center. The 202-unit building is being converted into "affordable luxury" apartments, according to developer City Club Apartments.

A new name, City Club Apartments-Lafayette Park, reflects the change.

City Club Apartments is investing $25 million in a top-to-bottom renovation of the nearly 50-year-old building. New amenities will include a heated swimming pool, fitness center, and green building enhancements, among many others.In order to buffer the transition from affordable to affordable luxury, the City of Detroit offered developer and property owner City Club Apartments a 12-year, $1.46 million tax abatement in exchange for a guaranteed amount of affordable housing units.

The developers agreed to the terms of the tax abatement, dubbed the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act exemption, which means that current residents qualifying for affordable housing are offered units at reduced rates.

"Preventing displacement is one of the central missions of our department," says Donald Rencher, director of the city’s Housing and Revitalization Department.

"Creating new homes in new buildings is great, but this announcement means that these Detroiters not only get to stay in the city, they get to stay in the same building."

The deal not only means that residents qualifying for affordable housing may stay in the building, but they'll also benefit from the many upgrades and renovations planned.

City Club Apartments is investing $25 million in a top-to-bottom renovation of the nearly 50-year-old building. New amenities will include a heated swimming pool, fitness center, and green building enhancements, among many others.

City Club Apartments chairman and CEO Jonathan Holtzman’s family first managed the tower when it opened in 1974. The Carl Koch-designed tower was built as a Housing and Urban Development-financed project for senior citizens.

City Club Apartments-Lafayette Park is located at 750 Chene St. in Detroit.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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