Woodward Corridor Venture Seeks to Meet Housing Demand

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tApplications have been rolling in from developers for the Woodward Corridor Investment Fund, designed to support Detroit’s revitalization by financing housing that is in demand along Woodward Avenue in the heart of the city.

t“We’ve been very happy with the response we’ve gotten so far,” says Ian Wiesner, a senior loan officer at NCB Capital Impact, who notes the fund is still in the process of accepting applications. “We’re waiting to have a critical mass (of applications), where we can evaluate the projects together and prioritize which will have the biggest impact on the corridor.” The loan fund began accepting applications at the beginning of October for projects that will start construction prior to the end of 2014.

tThe Woodward Corridor includes Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, where residential occupancy rates exceed 95 percent and demand is high for hundreds of additional units. By focusing on the Woodward Corridor — home to many of Detroit’s largest institutions and employers — the fund is designed to attract residents and commercial activity, establish a model sustainable district, and expand economic opportunity.

t“The goal of the fund is to increase the amount of residential rental units available on the corridor to keep up with demand,” Wiesner says. “We’re certainly excited to work with mixed-use project, but everything we’re looking at should have a residential component.”

tThe $30.3 million fund, backed by NCB Capital Impact and the Kresge Foundation, among others, will provide long-term fixed rate loans under terms not currently available through traditional financial institutions. The effort allows for a single loan source rather than numerous layers of capital, which can be time consuming and difficult to assemble.

t“We know from market studies and from our revitalization work that there’s pent up demand for mixed-use, mixed income, transit-oriented projects in Detroit’s core,” says Laura Trudeau, who leads the Kresge Foundation’s Detroit Program. “The Woodward Corridor is a diverse and vibrant area, but broader economic conditions have created conditions that have discouraged lenders.”

tThere will be an informational event about the fund at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit at 4 p.m. on Nov. 5. Those attending the event are asked to RSVP to Wiesner at 734-929-4224 or 
iwiesner@ncbcapitalimpact.org

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