Grand opening for renovated Murray townhomes near Clark Park

July 23rd, 2021
Sean de Four, President and CEO of Southwest Solutions, speaks at the grand opening ceremony of The Murray on Thursday, July 22.

The historic Murray townhomes had stood vacant for decades before its recently-completed $4.6M renovation. The Murray consists of 12 townhomes, three of which are designated for affordable housing. It is located at on Porter Street, a block east of Clark Park in southwest Detroit. A special ceremony celebrating the grand opening of The Murray was held on July 22. Mayor Duggan, Southwest Solutions CEO Sean de Four, developers W. Emery Matthews and Stan Edwards of Real Estate Interests, and others spoke at the event. In addition to recognizing the significance of The Murray revitalization for the community, Mayor Duggan announced a new $3.3M investment in Clark Park, which will get a new playground, splash pad, fitness area, and walkway and entry improvements.

Read the full press release from the Mayor’s office about The Murray and Clark Park renovations:

Mayor Duggan helps to open The Murray, kicks off renovation of Clark Park in pair of SNF announcements
  • Real Estate Interests LLC completes $4.6 million rehab of long-vacant historic rowhomes in Hubbard Farms in Southwest Detroit; 25% of units are affordable housing at 60% AMI.
  • Clark Park to get nearly $3.3 million in investment that will see a new playground, splash pad, fitness area, and walkway and entry improvements.

DETROIT – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and community leaders joined developer W. Emery Matthews of Real Estate Interests LLC today to celebrate the completion of the redevelopment of a long-vacant multifamily building in the city’s Hubbard Farms neighborhood, as well as kick off a $3.3 million renovation to Clark Park a block away. Both projects in Southwest Detroit are part of the mayor’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund initiative, a partnership with Invest Detroit.

The Murray-Hubbard Farms, located at 4004 Porter St., has undergone a total renovation and is now home to 12 units of modern, efficient housing across 16,400 square feet, including three units that are offered as affordable housing at 60 percent of the area median income. Real Estate Interests LLC (REI), in conjunction with Southwest Housing Solutions, have transformed The Murray and restored the building to its rightful place as a landmark of the neighborhood while maintaining its historic character. The redevelopment cost about $4.6 million.

Clark Park, already one of the city’s most popular and beloved public spaces, will see get a new splash pad and plaza, new playground with accessible features, new frontage along Vernor Highway and entry improvements, a multi-sport/fitness area and walkway upgrades. The work is to begin in earnest in August, with the makeover wrapping up in summer 2022. 

“We are already seeing incredible transformation in these neighborhoods, and that is only going to continue as our city continues to emerge from the COVID pandemic and we get back to work,” Mayor Duggan said. “I’d like to thank Emery Matthews and REI for helping to not only create much-needed affordable housing but also for making Hubbard Farms an even better, and more affordable, place to live. The City is going to continue doing our part to improve neighborhoods and encourage development through efforts such as the makeover for Clark Park.”

The Murray was renovated to retain its historic character while incorporating modern amenities

Located a block away from Clark Park, The Murray was restored to keep with the Hubbard Farms Historic District’s character, and original interior details were preserved where possible. It also fill feature new landscape design and amenities such as outdoor patios and gardens.

Matthews, co-founder and managing principal of REI, said strong community input was a critical feature of the development. The building was built about 1917 and had sat an abandoned eyesore for decades in the otherwise thriving Southwest Detroit neighborhood. Neighborhood residents had consistently identified dealing with the rowhomes as one of their top priorities.

 “This is not only a project of tremendous importance to the community, but also to me personally,” Matthews said.  “I was born and raised in Detroit, and I understand the corrosive impact of vacant buildings. They exact an emotional toll and have a profound negative impact on our communities. 

“For me, this is far more than just another real estate investment. It’s a way for the community to showcase its spirit and resilience. The Murray is going to positively impact so many lives for the better – not just of those who will live there, but of every single member of the community.”

Sean de Four, president and CEO of Southwest Solutions, said, “A vibrant neighborhood requires a healthy mix of affordable and market-rate housing, strong homeownership, and access to opportunities and amenities that provide a good quality of life for all residents. The renovation of the historic Murray townhomes is a significant contribution to the vibrancy of Hubbard Farms and Mexicantown, and Southwest Solutions is proud to partner in this strategic development. We thank all the partners and stakeholders for bringing this project to fruition.”

The renovation of The Murray would not have been possible without a multi-year resident engagement process led by the City of Detroit and Invest Detroit. Critical financing was provided by Capital Impact Partners and Invest Detroit, including the Strategic Neighborhood Fund. The SNF and Detroit Housing for the Future Fund have raised more than $58 million to help revitalize 10 neighborhoods in each of Detroit’s seven City Council districts through affordable housing, beautification of parks and streetscapes and improvements to commercial corridors. 

“A key component of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund is to provide wraparound services and technical assistant to support the careers of local, Black developers and increase their capacity to support long-term, inclusive economic renewal in Detroit,” said Keona Cowan, executive vice president and chief lending officer for Invest Detroit. “We are proud to have Emery in our family of developers on this resident-supported project.”

Added Nicholas Pohl, business development officer for Capital Impact Partners: “We are proud to be involved with and to provide construction financing in support of the revitalization of Detroit’s neighborhoods, which are seeing a high demand for quality, mixed-income housing. Not only does the redevelopment of The Murray add 12 mixed-income homes to the block, it preserves the historic integrity of a formerly vacant structure next to a public high school and park.

“In particular, we are proud to support the unique development partnership approach, led by a developer of color, that it took to complete this beautiful historic rehab.”

In addition to the efforts to ensure that real estate developers of color are able to participate in growth and revitalization efforts, Capital Impact Partners supports real estate developers of color with training, technical assistance, and mentorship through its Equitable Development Initiative. Charting a new path toward inclusive economic opportunity, this initiative supports developers of color to grow their careers and support local communities.

Also part of today’s SNF celebration in Southwest Detroit was the mayor’s announcement of the Clark Park renovation. The park is to be completed late next summer or in the early fall.

This 29.8 acre-historic community park is adjacent to a dynamic commercial corridor and a densely populated, vibrant, multicultural neighborhood. Working with neighbors, business owners, students from the two adjacent schools, We Decide Detroit and the Clark Park Coalition, the community decided which amenities it wanted to see added to the Southwest Detroit gem. More than 530 ideas were generated, and 231 additional participants were engaged throughout the planning process.

Since 2015, 80 of the City’s 298 parks have received full renovations, and 146 others have seen some form of infrastructure or amenity improvement. Nearly 250 parks have seen an increase in maintenance and services. With more than 5,000 acres of parkland across Detroit’s 139 square miles, Mayor Duggan has made it a priority to have an updated park within a short walking distance of every Detroit neighborhood.  

“Every child deserves a safe and quality place to play,” Mayor Duggan said. “That’s why we have made it a priority to give Detroit’s parks much-needed attention the past six years, and we will continue to do so as we work to strengthen neighborhoods across our city.”

 

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