HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A proposed housing development would bring 61 affordable housing units to Holland.

Dwelling Place, a housing development and management nonprofit based in Grand Rapids, is looking to develop two sites near Kollen Park and one site in downtown Holland.

The first site, 345 W 14th St. near Kollen Park Drive, is owned by Community Action House. The next-door second site, 345 Kollen Park Dr. near 14th Street, is owned by the city of Holland. The third site, 100 W 10th St. near Pine Avenue in downtown, is owned by Hope Church.

The proposal includes a three-story apartment building on the first site, which will include 41 one- and two-bedroom units, and five three-bedroom townhomes on the second site. A two-story apartment building with 15 one- and two-bedroom units is proposed for the third site.

Community Action House had already approached Dwelling Place about building affordable housing on its property when the city of Holland started asking for proposals for the site next door, said Mariely Meza, a housing and community development associate for the organization.

Dwelling Place, which has more than 30 properties throughout West Michigan, including one in Holland, had been looking to expand more outside of Grand Rapids. It eventually combined the three sites into one project.

There’s a great need for housing in Ottawa County: One study found that there will be a need for around 50,000 housing units between it and neighboring Kent County by 2027.

Lake Macatawa as seen from Kollen Park on Aug. 8, 2023
Lake Macatawa as seen from Kollen Park on Aug. 8, 2023

“Dwelling Place and Hope Church and Community Action House, we want to partake in this effort to provide … more affordable housing,” Meza said. “Because as the population continues to grow, it will only increase the demand for housing. And we want to make sure to provide not only affordable housing, but also quality affordable housing.”

She said the two sites near Kollen Park offer a unique opportunity, as they’re right next to the lake.

“This is a great opportunity for us to show that affordable housing can be provided really anywhere, as long as we can make it happen, as long as the sites score well, and as long as we can acquire the land,” she said. 

According to planning documents, every unit will be affordable for residents who are at or below 80% of Ottawa County’s Area Median Income, while the average units will be affordable for those at or below 60% of the AMI.

Dwelling House hosted four community engagement sessions to get feedback from the community on the proposal.

A rendering of the housing proposal for 345 W 14th St. (Courtesy Dwelling Place)
A rendering of the housing proposal for 345 W 14th St. (Courtesy Dwelling Place)

“We got really good response from the community. They really want to see affordable housing, they really want to see it happen,” Meza said. “Obviously … we always get some people who are the naysayers and say, ‘Somewhere else, not in my backyard.’ But for the most part, we got a very positive feedback.”

While the projects are constrained by local code, project leaders were able to incorporate community feedback into the designs. Neighbors of the proposed townhome site requested earthy colors, to match the rest of the neighborhood, Meza explained, while the community wanted lake colors like whites and blues for the nearby apartment building. 

A rendering of the housing proposal for 345 Kollen Park Dr. (Courtesy Dwelling Place)
A rendering of the housing proposal for 345 Kollen Park Dr. (Courtesy Dwelling Place)

Designs for the project will be presented in front of the Holland Planning Commission during its Sept. 12 meeting.

Dwelling Place had looked at a fourth site, located at 16th Street and River, but that property is no longer included in the project. Its first application for a Low Income Housing Tax Credit was not successful, so it decided to move forward with the Kollen Park sites and Hope Church site, according to planning documents.

It will be applying for a 9% LIHTC again in December. If all goes well and the project is able to secure the necessary tax credits and funding, construction is expected to start in the fall of 2024.

Meza, who has worked at Dwelling Place for three years, said it’s exciting to watch the progress of developments.

“(It’s) very nice to see it go from an Excel spreadsheet to an actual building,” she said.