Kzoo plan to replace crumbling buildings with ‘vibrant’ housing clears hurdle

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A $13.2 million plan to transform a former industrial site in Kalamazoo into a place to live and work is getting more financial support.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Strategic Fund Board approved Brownfield tax incentives and a $2.2 million performance-based loan for the project at 619 Porter St., between East North and East Ransom streets. The city of Kalamazoo approved a brownfield reimbursement plan for the property in June, worth approximately $785,000.

619, LLC plans to clear and clean up the site so it can build a five-story building containing 52 apartments and roughly 11,000 square feet of commercial space.

Developers say 10% of the apartments will go to tenants with a household income that is 60% of the county’s median income. The remaining apartments will be market-rate, which ranges from $1,290 per month for one-bedroom units to $1,875 per month for two-bedroom apartments.

(A conceptual rendering provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation shows what the development at 619 Porter Street in Kalamazoo may look like.)

In a memorandum to MSF Board members, MEDC staff familiar with the project said the project is “a very high priority” for the city because it redevelops a site with collapsing buildings and brownfield conditions “into a vibrant mixed-use development that will meet workforce housing needs and add new commercial space on the north-side of downtown.”

“I think that one of the things that we’re learning increasingly is that in addition to having tremendous growth for our companies and businesses, we need to have places where people can plan and develop the next great company and also a great place to live. We’ve seen that young people particularly want to have vibrant urban communities or vibrant downtown communities, whether they’re in smaller towns. And I think this allows us to do that and builds upon an increasing brand of Kalamazoo as a place of design and a place of innovation,” MEDC CEO Quentin Messer, Jr. said Tuesday.

The new development is expected to include a common area and amenities, including a rooftop deck. The project also includes improvements to public sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman said developers hope to start demolition within the next couple weeks and complete the project in spring of 2023.

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