LC Consultants has transformed a condemned historic building into sustainable affordable housing that has helped to bring new life to the Heart Side District of Grand Rapids, Mich.
The developer overcame huge obstacles to convert the old H.E. Shaw Furniture Co. building, which originated in 1897, closed its doors in 1933, and eventually became the Klingman Furniture Warehouse.
Considered a brownfield site, asbestos and lead paint had to be removed. In addition, the development team discovered that some sections of the multi-building project were sinking. The northwest corner had sunk nearly 2 feet below other walls in the buildings, which were constructed between 1897 and 1922.
Rather than raise the sagging corners, the development team decided to stabilize the building by sinking over 700 helical piers—large earth screws made from galvanized steel—down past the peat and surface soil into subsoils and bedrock to bear the building’s estimated weight of 20 million pounds.
The end result is the 83-unit Klingman Lofts, which provides one- and two-bedroom units for households earning between 40% and 60% of the area median income. The development includes parking, key-fob entry, a small garden, an outside shower for those who bike to and from work, community space, a fitness center, and laundry facilities. Residents also have easy access to public transportation and can walk to the new Downtown Market next door as well as to other retail, services, and jobs in the city center.
In addition to Klingman Lofts, LC Consultants completed a historic rehab on another warehouse about a block away. The investment into these developments is having a ripple effect.
“All these things happening together have created a lot of attention and moved energy into an area where it had never been,” says Bob Jacobson, president of LC Consultants.
The $33.9 million development, which was broken into two construction phases and completed in October 2015, was made possible by two low-income housing tax credit awards from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority as well as historic tax credits. RBC Capital Markets–Tax Credit Funds was the syndicator, with JPMorgan Chase as the investor as well as the construction lender.