Affordable Housing Opens in Historic Saint Rita Apartments in Detroit

The newly renovated Saint Rita Apartments, a $7.2-million historic six-story building just north of Midtown in Detroit, opened today. The apartments are available to individuals who are homeless or are receiving behavioral health services and are earning between zero and 30 percent of area median income. Veterans will have priority.
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Saint Rita Apartments
The Saint Rita Apartments in Detroit have been renovated and will house people who were previously homeless, receive behavioral health services, and earn between zero and 30 percent of area income. // Photo courtesy of Central City Integrated Health

The newly renovated Saint Rita Apartments, a $7.2-million historic six-story building just north of Midtown in Detroit, opened today. The apartments are available to individuals who are homeless or are receiving behavioral health services and are earning between zero and 30 percent of area median income. Veterans will have priority.

Located at 35 Owen St., the apartments offer 26 one-bedroom units that are each 750 square feet. The main entryway and hallways were restored with tile and imported marble from Greece. The building also will offer a community room, computer lab, library, and common laundry room. The Georgian Revival red brick building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Central City Integrated Health (CCIH) will provide on-site supportive services to help residents maintain their housing status and contribute to the community.

“After 100 years from its creation, the historic Saint Rita Apartments are being brought back to life, not for the wealthy, but for those most in need,” says Ryan Lepper, president and CEO of CCIH. “We have diligently worked to ensure that these individuals can live with the dignity and respect that they deserve as they continue to rebuild their lives.”

Apartments will include new, stainless-steel refrigerators and kitchen appliances, refurbished hardwood floors, tile floors, and new cabinetry and countertops. They also will be furnished with a new, full-size beds and dining room tables and chairs.

Humble Design, a Detroit nonprofit that helps families that are transitioning out of homeless shelters, will design and furnish two apartments.

“As a former employee, I can attest to the remarkable work that is being done at CCIH,” says Shelly Watts, chief development officer at Humble Design. “I helped to secure funding for Saint Rita, and I couldn’t be prouder that Humble Design is partnering with CCIH to furnish units for veterans that have experienced homelessness.”

The building will retain its terra cotta and plaster detail work. It was constructed in 1916 and converted into subsidized housing in 1990. It was closed in 2005, and a fire damaged its interior soon after. It had been slated for demolition by the City of Detroit. CCIH broke ground on the development in September 2017.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) awarded CCIH with low-income tax credits to help fund the project. Cinnaire, a full-service community development financial partner that supports community stabilization and economic development, purchased the low-income and historic tax credits and served as CCIH’s investor and limited partner on the development.

The City of Detroit also provided more than $1.3 million in home funds.

Joseph Early of Early Construction was the general contractor and Bob Zinser was the development consultant.

CCIH is a federally qualified health center that provides medical and behavioral health treatment and services in tandem with creating housing opportunities to Detroit’s most vulnerable populations. It provides about 345 housing units to homeless and special needs residents through MSHDA project-based vouchers and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-funded permanent supported housing grants.

The Saint Rita Apartments are the fourth affordable housing development in Detroit for CCIH. Others include Peterboro Place Apartments at 8 Peterboro, Clinton House Apartments at 99 Kenilworth, and The Charlotte Apartments at 644 Charlotte St. Peterboro Place soon will undergo a $5-million renovation.

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