(Plain Press, October 2017) At the September 14th ribbon cutting ceremony for the Lofts at Lion Mills, Detroit Shoreway Executive Director Jeff Ramsey said the building at 3256 W. 25th, built originally as Lion Knitting Mills, will now serve the community with 36 units of affordable housing. Speaking of the $10 million adaptive reuse of the building financed with various tax credits, Ramsey noted how the financing helped to make the one and two bedroom apartments in the building affordable. He said, the least expensive unit in the building will rent for only $215 per month.
Mayor Frank Jackson spoke of the collaboration and partnership involved in the project and noted that development in Cleveland does not have to mean “gentrification.”
Ward 14 Councilman Brian Cummins said he was excited that there would be more affordable housing in the neighborhood. He said the community hasn’t seen the addition of affordable housing in many years.
Doctor Akram Boutros, President and Chief Executive Officer of the MetroHealth System, spoke of the tax credits and efforts by Councilman Cummins, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization and others that have contributed to converting “an old worn out building into a cool west side apartment building.” Boutros said, “as of this morning nine MetroHealth employees and their families are officially Lion Mills residents.”
Boutros spoke of the future of the W. 25th Corridor, noting some projects in the works. He said La Villa Hispana will bring new businesses, homes and parklike green space. He noted the Regional Transit Authority is planning improved public transportation along W. 25th Street. Boutros said the efforts underway will make “MetroWest one of the most desirable neighborhoods in which to live, work and visit.” Boutros said, in two-weeks, work will begin on a 1,500-car garage at MetroHealth Medical Center. He said, for the next five years, MetroHealth will be building along W. 25th -completing the $1 billion transformation of MetroHealth Medical Center.
Michael Taylor, Senior Vice President of PNC Bank noted the bank’s involvement in construction financing, and the process of helping to secure historic tax credits and low income tax credits for the Lofts and Lion Mills.
Guy Ford, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, said he was glad the project replaced the water tower on top of the building. He said, while his agency is involved in helping provide affordable housing for low and moderate income people throughout the state of Ohio, the projects “don’t all have the rich history this project does.”
Jenice Contreras, Executive Director of the Hispanic Business Center, spoke of the partnership of all collaborators in making the 36 units of affordable housing possible. Contreras said plans call for the opening next summer of El Mercado at La Villa Hispana, a year-round Latino market. Contreras says housing, retail and place making plans are also in the works. “Development and new construction does not have to mean gentrification and displacement. The whole community backs me on that,” said Contreras.
Anya Kulcsar, Director of Real Estate Development for the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, noted the Lofts at Lion Mills were the organization’s first development project in the MetroWest service area. She thanked members of the design, construction, and real estate teams as well as the project historian for their efforts.