GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A plot of land on S. Division Avenue south of Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids is mostly used as unregistered parking for people who want a free ride on the Silver Line bus. The corner lot is filled with old chunks of concrete and the occasional piece of inexplicable refuse.

The Inner City Christian Federation has plans to change that.

“We see much more than that here. It’s a beautiful location and it is at the heart of everything we want to help promote,” Ryan Schmidt, the vice president of development for the ICCF, said.

On Thursday, the organization will ask the Grand Rapids Planning Commission for a zoning change that will allow for a seven-story facility to house seniors.

“That will allow some additional height and density on the site, but what that does is allows us to increase the number of units and individuals that we can serve,” Schmidt said.

It will instead serve active, younger seniors who want to be close to downtown and health care.

“They will be very connected to services, health care, entertainment in Grand Rapids right from that Rapid station right behind us,” Schmidt showed 24 Hour News 8 Sunday. “As a community, we want to prioritize development along existing infrastructure.”

For more than half a century, the area around the lot has been in decline, suffering first from the flight of the middle class and then from a lack of reinvestment. But for the last 20 years, the ICCF has been working to create housing that reinvigorates the community. On a parcel adjoining the corner lot at Wealthy and Division, it has built townhouses and mixed-use retail and apartment buildings.

“So that we are breaking down silos of poverty and wealth in our community and developing a place where everyone feels welcome and can call their home.” Schmidt explained. “The real benefit is community connectiveness.”

One of the stumbling blocks for development has been the lack of nearby grocery stores, but with the advent of grocery delivery, that has become less of a problem.

Schmidt the new senior home will include a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, a model that has been successful for the ICCF.

“We effectively have a zero percent vacancy across our portfolio, so as quick as a unit becomes available, we can release it,” Schmidt said.

That is not a statistic the ICCF takes pleasure in.

“That’s actually very sad because that means there’s way more demand than there is a supply of apartments or homes for individuals, so currently ICCF has a 750 person wait list,” he said.

The proposed building probably wouldn’t be ready for residents until at least 2021.