Lighthouse and Southwest Solutions break ground on affordable housing in Oak Park

July 31st, 2019
At the groundbreaking for Coolidge Place: (left to right) Andy Meisner, Treasurer of Oakland County; Dave Woodward, Chairman of Oakland County Board of Commissioners; Gary Heidel, Executive Director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA); Ryan Hertz, CEO of Lighthouse; Tim Thorland, Executive Director of Southwest Housing Solutions; Jenny Poma, COO of Lighthouse; Alicia Baker, Lighthouse consumer; Marian McClellan, Mayor of Oak Park; Molly Rutzick, Vice President at TCF Bank; Erik Tungate, City Manager of Oak Park; Joe Heaphy, President of Ethos Development Partners; and Russ Russell, Development Director at Lighthouse. At the top is an architectural rendering of part of the Coolidge Place development.

Lighthouse and Southwest Solutions broke ground on a new affordable housing development in Oak Park called Coolidge Place, a $15M project that will provide 64 high-quality townhome and ranch-style apartments for lower-income working families.

Coolidge Place is being built on a vacant 4.5-acre site along Coolidge Highway just north of 8 Mile. Construction is expected to finish by fall 2020.

Tim Thorland, Executive Director of Southwest Housing Solutions, speaks at the Coolidge Place groundbreaking

“Southwest Solutions is privileged to partner with Lighthouse on Coolidge Place,” said Tim Thorland, executive director of Southwest Housing Solutions. “The project represents the perfect intersection of employing our expertise to increase affordable housing options and supporting collegial organizations in expanding their impacts.”

There is a critical need for affordable housing in Oakland County where 20,000 low-income households are rent burdened, paying more than 30% of their pre-tax income on rent, leaving very little to address their other basic needs.

“It is extremely difficult for low-income families to climb out of poverty when housing costs consume most of their income,” said Ryan Hertz, president and CEO of Lighthouse.  “We hope Coolidge Place paves the way for more developments that help level the playing field in terms of equitable access to lower-cost, high-quality housing because everyone deserves a place to call home.”

Rents at Coolidge Place will range from $454 to $989 per month for one- to three-bedroom units. To qualify, the household income of applicants must be at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Of the 64 rental units, 16 will be designated for residents with special needs. The site will also include green space and a community center.

“Affordable housing is hard to find in Michigan,” said Marian McClellan, mayor of Oak Park. “Working a full-time job no longer guarantees you will be able to afford a place to live. This problem has reached crisis proportions nationally, but we are beginning to solve it in Oak Park.”

Ryan Hertz, CEO of Lighthouse, speaks at the Coolidge Place groundbreaking

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) reserved $1,361,400 in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits over 10 years for the Coolidge Place development, providing about $12.5M in equity toward the $15M project.

Lighthouse is a Pontiac-based nonprofit dedicated to fighting homelessness and poverty. Coolidge Place is the organization’s first new construction multifamily development since merging with South Oakland Shelter. Prior to the merger, Lighthouse developed more than 100 units of affordable housing in Pontiac.

Fusco, Shaffer & Pappas is the architect on the Coolidge Place. O’Brien Construction is the general contractor with Ethos Development Partners as the development consultant. KMG Prestige will serve as the property manager.

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