Grand Haven’s newest neighborhood in the city limits broke ground earlier this month. The 30 single-family home development named Robinson Landing will address an identified housing need by offering new construction homes priced from $139,900 to $279,900.
“This project is responding to a housing crisis we are seeing across the state,” said Marilyn Crowley, vice president of investment for Michigan Community Capital. “With construction prices skyrocketing and a large number of buyers, we are seeing a shortage of housing that is priced affordably for the majority of Michigan’s workforce. It took many partners to bring this project together, and we’re excited to see the result come to life.”
Housing Next commissioned a housing study in December 2018 that identified moderately priced housing as a high-level need in Ottawa County. The report outlines significant growth in households earning an annual income between $40,000 and $74,000 that outpaces the housing supply.
“We are pleased to provide support for a project that is breaking down barriers to housing affordability and availability,” Housing Next Executive Director Ryan Kilpatrick said. “This innovative and transformative project – with owner-occupied units priced below $180,000 – is exactly what we need right now to help solve our region’s workforce housing crunch. Our communities have greater economic prosperity and job growth when families can find affordable housing.”
Formerly owned by the City of Grand Haven, the 7.5-acre parcel on Comstock Street will allow residents easy access to downtown. The project site was transferred from the City to the Ottawa County Land Bank in November 2020. Michigan Community Capital purchased the land at a reduced price of $32,000 earlier this year to encourage affordability of the neighborhood development.
“This project is a model for nonprofit-governmental cooperation,” said Pat McGinnis, Grand Haven’s city manager. “When we all put our full toolbox into play, we can create attainable workforce housing in Ottawa County. The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Housing Next, Ottawa County, BlueWest Properties, Michigan Community Capital, Ottawa County Land Bank, Grand Haven Charter Township and the City of Grand Haven all put this on the front burner and made it a reality. There’s surely more to come.”
The project will cost $7.5 million over two phases. Last year, the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation approved a $1.5 million low-interest investment in MCC to encourage the creation of middle-income housing in northwest Ottawa County.
“Solving the workforce housing crisis takes innovative thinking, and we believe this partnership with MCC is a key step to getting there,” said Hadley Streng, president of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. “We’ve been focused on supporting housing solutions for all income levels in our community for years, and it’s why we helped co-found Housing Next in 2017. We’re inspired by the collaboration of our partner organizations throughout Ottawa County that have brought us to this point.”
Sixteen of the 30 homes in Robinson Landing will be in the Grand Haven Area Community Land Trust, or CLT, program, which is a shared-equity program that allows for lower home prices because the buyer purchases the home, not the land. The CLT retains ownership of the land and enters into a 99-year ground lease with the homeowner. The Grand Haven Area Community Land Trust was created by the City of Grand Haven and is managed by the Neighborhood Housing Services team.
“Neighborhood Housing Services is thrilled to be spearheading the creation of the Grand Haven Area Community Land Trust,” said Rhonda Kleyn, Neighborhood Housing Services’ development coordinator. “The organizing committee has been working for months to create an amazing program for this area. This type of shared-equity homeownership program results in the purchase price being more affordable because the purchaser is only buying the home, not the land. The land will be leased from the CLT at a very low monthly cost. It’s likely the potential CLT buyers already rent or work in Grand Haven, and we are excited to work with them to purchase an affordable newly built home.”
Homes in this program have income restrictions for buyers that target households with incomes between 60 and 80 percent of the area median income – AMI determined by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Homes in the CLT program are priced at $139,900 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home, $159,900 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home and $179,900 for a three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom, two-story home.
The remaining 14 homes are not on a ground lease, do not have income restrictions and are considered as market-rate homes. These market-rate homes are priced at $239,900 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, ranch-style home and $279,900 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-story home.
Built by The DK Design Group, all 30 homes will have identical high-quality finishes and construction that is slab-on-grade with wood-frame stick-built framing. Stainless steel GE appliances are included in the sale price – a value of more than $5,000 that includes a gas stove, dishwasher, garbage disposal, microwave, refrigerator, washer and dryer.
Homeowners purchasing prior to the home’s construction deadline will be able to choose finishes from pre-selected options. These finish choices include cabinetry, countertops, flooring and the exterior package with siding, stone veneer, entry door color and asphalt shingles.
The project will be constructed in a two-phase process. The first phase will span 16 months and consist of site preparation and infrastructure to serve the entire site, as well as the construction of 15 homes. Eight of the 15 homes in the first phase will be in the CLT program. Once 75% of the homes in Phase I are sold, Phase II will begin.
BlueWest Properties, a West Michigan brokerage, is serving as the listing real estate company in the sale of the homes. Driven philanthropically to serve their community, the owner/broker has agreed to a reduced commission, allowing home prices to remain low for buyers.
“The BlueWest Properties team is grateful to have been chosen to represent the City of Grand Haven’s first Community Land Trust development,” said Meghan Heritage, owner and broker at BlueWest Properties. “We know that affordable housing is a paramount part of a successful community and, as our company tagline states, ‘Better Real Estate for a Better Community.’ We are excited to once again put our hands to work to benefit the community.”
More information about this project and the CLT program can be found at robinsonlandingmi.com.
Michigan Community Capital
Michigan Community Capital (MCC) is a nonprofit diversified public-private partnership that supports the mission of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) by aggregating capital and facilitating the financing and development of low-income and attainable housing and the redevelopment of complex brownfield sites within the State of Michigan. MCC is a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and a certified Community Development Entity (CDE). MCC has successfully attracted federal new market tax credits, supported over $900 million in project financing and helped to create over 750 housing units and over 950,000-square-feet of commercial, retail and industrial space to facilitate job creation and expansion. MCC provides products in four key pillars: housing equity, bridge and gap lending, new market tax credits and property insurance for low income housing tax credit projects. For more information on MCC, visit michigancommunitycapital.org.