City plan to keep affordable housing options available in Corktown begins: Left Field breaks ground

What’s happening: A groundbreaking ceremony was held late last month for Left Field, a 120-unit housing development on the site of old Tiger Stadium in Corktown. The $42 million development will be built in two phases at the corner of the Fisher Service Drive and Cochrane Street, with the first 60 units expected to open by the end of 2023 and the second 60 units expected to open in 2024. The apartments will further complete the redevelopment of the historic site, which already features apartments, condos, retail, and the Detroit Police Athletic League’s youth sports stadium.

What’s planned: The Left Field development will feature studios, and one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartment units. 40 percent of the development’s 120 units will be reserved for what’s being considered affordable housing, the breakdown of which includes 43 units at or below 60 percent AMI (Area Median Income), which is approximately $1,000 per month for a one-bedroom, and five units at 50 percent AMI, which is approximately $840 per month for a one-bedroom. For those at or below 50 percent AMI, there are 29 of the 48 affordable units available with rental assistance contracts. Left Field is being built by the Detroit-based American Community Developers, which also owns the nearby Clement Kern Gardens.

A Corktown first: Construction of the Left Field development marks the beginning of the city implementing its Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) for the Corktown and North Corktown neighborhoods, representing $203 million in residential development projects. The greater Corktown area will see 842 new housing units built over the next six years, and at least 60 percent of those units, or 504 units, will be reserved for affordable housing. The city secured a federal $30-million HUD CNI grant in 2021 in its effort to provide affordable housing options in the rapidly developing Corktown area.

What’s next: As part of the city’s Corktown plan, the 87-unit Section 8 Clement Kern Gardens, designed to be isolated from the rest of the neighborhood, will be demolished in favor of a new housing development that rebuilds the street grid and better connects residents to the neighborhood. The plan will also construct new infill housing across 143 vacant lots in North Corktown, a community empowerment center, and outdoor learning lab.

Why it’s important: “This has been the most comprehensive and ambitious planning project Detroit has undertaken in a generation,” says Katy Trudeau, deputy director of the city’s Planning & Development Department. “The fact that our plan was chosen speaks to the incredible team of planners, housing experts and dedicated City staff that we have working on designing a Detroit that brings the community into the planning process and helps create a city where all are welcome and all can benefit from the city’s turnaround.”

Click HERE to view the city’s Corktown Choice plan.

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