Homeless veterans, local artists and residents of the Hubbard Farms community all stand to benefit from three different initiatives from Southwest Housing Solutions.
Construction work continues at a brisk pace on Piquette Square, a 150-unit apartment project in Detroit to house and care for homeless veterans. Southwest Housing Solutions (SWHS) is the developer of the $20 million project and will own and manage it. Work had been delayed because of funding and other complications, but the building is now in the plumbing, mechanical and electrical stage of construction.
Piquette Square is situated on the same ground where the historic Studebaker factory near New Center was destroyed by fire in 2005. The new four-story brick building includes 11,000 square feet of common area and commercial space. It is expected to open in the spring of next year. “Piquette will not only provide homeless vets a dignified place to live, but access to supportive services that will enable them to reintegrate into the community,” said John Van Camp, president of Southwest Solutions.
SWHS is embarking on $2 million project to transform the abandoned Third Precinct police station into a cultural arts center. The station is located on West Vernor near the Mexicantown Mercado. The center will provide classrooms, studio and performance spaces, and office and retail space. Construction is expected to begin in the fall and should be completed in a year.
“The Creative Arts Center will focus children and senior citizens in the neighborhood, offering a safe and lively place to learn and grow through exposure to working artists,” said Tim Thorland, executive director of SWHS.
“This is a vibrant community filled with restaurants, theatre, music and beautiful parks,” said Kate Brennan, who lives in southwest Detroit and serves on the SWHS board. “A cultural arts center would be a perfect addition.”
SWHS has formed a Neighborhood Preservation Team (NPT) that is going door-to-door throughout the Hubbard Farms community to survey residents and properties. The team of four SWHS staff persons is gathering detailed data about the housing stock, vacant and foreclosed properties, home repair needs, infrastructure conditions, and quality of life issues and opportunities. The data will be used to formulate and advance community redevelopment plans.
“Ultimately, our goal is to help the community take ownership of itself as a vibrant and growing place to live, enjoy and raise families,” said Dan Loacano, program manager of the NPT.