Vacant Carriage Town apartment complex to get new life

FLINT, Michigan -- Since 2009, there have been at least 40 demolitions in or near the Historic Carriage Town Neighborhood. A new project by Communities First, Inc., will change that trend.

“Too often, my neighbors and I have witnessed demolition and destruction of buildings within the historic district or watched as homes were left to decay due to willful neglect,” said Derek Dohrman, a Carriage Town resident. “It’s very encouraging to see Communities First help reverse that trend and contribute to Carriage Town’s historic legacy.”
 
Communities First held a virtual ground-breaking ceremony for Georgia Manor Apartments, located at 411 Lyon Street, on October 22. The project will convert the three-story building, which was built in 1966 and has been vacant for nearly 20 years, into 26 renovated units that include large windows, patios, and balconies. There will also be an interior courtyard and community space and on-site laundry. And, like all Communities First projects, the goal will be to offer affordable housing to people of all income levels.
 
Founded in 2010, Communities First is a nonprofit community development corporation focused on affordable housing, economic development, sustainability, and quality of life. Other Flint redevelopment projects by Communities First include Oak Street Senior Apartments, Swayze Court Apartments, and Coolidge Park Apartments.

“We believe that everyone deserves a quality, decent, affordable rental and/or home ownership option,” said Glenn Wilson, president/CEO of Communities First, Inc. “Over the last decade, we’ve done our best to bring back equitable development to the city of Flint and try to spread development out throughout the entire community.”
 
Partners in the development include Michigan State Housing Development Authority, city of Flint, Flagstar Bank, Communities of Hope, Inc, the C.S. Mott Foundation and Alliant Capital. The project will help address access to affordable housing, blight elimination, and neighborhood redevelopment and stabilization.
 
Congressman Dan Kildee, who spent part of his career overseeing the Genesee County Land Bank and co-founded the Center for Community Progress in Flint, spoke at the virtual groundbreaking and noted the potential of the property, which is located just a few blocks from downtown Flint.
 
“I always felt like that property was begging for someone to take it on and make a difference there,” Kildee said. “So this development will obviously provide much-needed affordable housing, but it will also change the trajectory of the neighborhood.”

More information about Communities First, Inc., is available online.

Read more articles by Patrick Hayes.

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