Osi Art Apartments to bring affordable housing and design to Detroit’s Woodbridge area

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Artistic rendering of the Osi Art Apartments (Detroit Free Press)

City officials and developers broke ground Thursday on the Osi Art Apartments in Detroit’s Woodbridge neighborhood, where half of the units in the building will be reserved for affordable housing.

Fifteen of the 30 units in the $6.6 million development will be set aside for those at 80% of the area median income, or a $40,000 to $60,000 income range. The exact rent for the units has not been determined yet.

The four-story building at 3820 Grand River Ave. aims to include three studios, two two-bedroom and 25 one-bedroom apartments. The 25,000-square-foot development will also feature 5,000 square feet of rentable commercial space.

The building is slated for completion in early 2022.

The developers are George N’Namdi, who runs the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, and Roderick Hardamon, CEO of URGE Development Group. Their goal with the project is to add more design and bring an arts-oriented building to Grand River Avenue, the pair said Thursday at the  groundbreaking.

“I wanted a housing or building project that has a creative or design component. That’s what I’m hoping we have accomplished here,” N’Namdi said.

With this project underway, Hardamon said he and N’Namdi want to build a pipeline for other development firms to follow in their footsteps.

“How do you figure out how to honor, preserve and empower the communities that we partnered with? That was our goal and mission.”

The Osi Art Apartments received a $470,000 investment from the Detroit Housing for the Future Fund, a $48 million public-private partnership launched last month, making it the first project to close on an investment, Tahirih Ziegler, executive director of Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corp., said.

“When you talk about the financing, it’s hard to bring projects to fruition without some backing,” she said. “The concept of a cultural gallery and affordable housing mixed-use space is really important for the neighborhood.”

Financial support for the project includes:

  • A $1.25-million low-interest loan from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
  • $360,000 in tax increment financing reimbursement from the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority
  • A Commercial Rehabilitation Tax Abatement that reduces property taxes for 10 years
  •  $4.2 million in financing through the Detroit Housing for the Future Fund, which LISC manages alongside the City of Detroit.
  • A $1.6-million loan from Invest Detroit and the Michigan Community Revitalization Program

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the apartment building will keep more residents in the city.

“We are committed to building in all parts of this city. Grand River is starting to come back in a positive way. This is now another step,” he said. “… We believe that all incomes should live in all neighborhoods in this city and affordable housing doesn’t build itself.”

The Osi Art Apartments will be part of the West End Gallery District that aims to celebrate arts and culture with galleries, retail, restaurants, bars and mixed-use housing developments.

The building was designed by Quinn Evans and VolumeOne Design Studio. Lewand Building is the general contractor.

Contact Nushrat Rahman: nrahman@freepress.com; 313-348-7558. Follow her on Twitter: @NushratR. Sign up for Bridge Detroit’s newsletterBecome a Free Press subscriber. 

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