GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A development in Grand Haven is building new homes with the goal of making housing more affordable for working families.

Robinson Landing along Comstock Street near 168th Avenue was designed with smaller homes that are still big enough to meet the needs of most families.

“There’s definitely a gap in the market and we call that ‘missing middle’ because the middle-income population, people who are right in the ballpark of the medium income, new houses aren’t getting made for them,” said Eric Kehoe, a real estate development manager with Michigan Community Capital, the nonprofit developing the community.

The homes are all two- or three-bedrooms. How they are designed is a crucial part of keeping the price in the right range.

“The lot sizes are slightly small. The square footage is slightly smaller,” Kehoe said. “We would say it’s very high-quality material but there aren’t any frills. This is just quality workmanship.”

  • The Robinson Landing development in Grand Haven. (Sept. 1, 2022)
  • The Robinson Landing development in Grand Haven. (Sept. 1, 2022)
  • The Robinson Landing development in Grand Haven. (Sept. 1, 2022)
  • The Robinson Landing development in Grand Haven. (Sept. 1, 2022)

The project would not have gotten the ground without the city providing the land at a reasonable rate. The lots will be leased to homeowners through a community land trust.

Hadley Streng, the president of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, says the organization provided initial funding to support the project.

“The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation provided an impact investment of $1.5 million to Michigan Community Capital, which helped them have access to capital to start the project,” Streng said.

The homes start at $139,900 and go up to around $259,900. Roughly half will be sold at market value and the other half will be sold at a lower rate for people who qualify.

“If you’re someone who makes 80% of the median income, you can buy this house at an affordable price for you and build equity in the house as you live in it and then the land trust shows (that) when you sell the house, you have to sell it at a price that’s affordable for someone in that 80% income,” Kehoe said.

The Housing Next community partnership helped make the project a reality and says the concept can build neighborhoods to meet the need in West Michigan. Spokesperson Brooke Oosterman said that need is only expected to grow.

“In Kent and Ottawa counties, we have 37,000 more units needed,” Oosterman said. “We’re seeing a lot of that demand in our millennial population and older population. They’re looking for these smaller units both for affordability but also from a lifestyle perspective.”