GRAND RAPIDS — After acquiring two other Grand Rapids nonprofits over the last year, Mel Trotter Ministries is considering plans for a housing development after purchasing an abandoned property on the city’s south side.
The property at 101 Garden St. SE is across the street from Next Step of West Michigan, which Mel Trotter acquired in July 2020. Mel Trotter also announced a merger with Grand Rapids-based Heartside Ministry in January 2020.
Mel Trotter President and CEO Dennis Van Kampen said the nonprofits are examining how to repurpose the abandoned facility, but noted that housing is a consideration. The property is just east of South Division Avenue, between Burton Street SE and Hall Street SW.
“We’re in the planning phases of development to not only expand Next Step and its programming, but seek to provide more housing for people,” he said. “We anticipate that campus will continue to grow.”
Next Step of West Michigan acquired the property for $100,000 from K&S Enterprises II LLC on Dec. 16, 2020, according to city property records. The parcel includes an 11,466-square-foot commercial building constructed in 1920.
A housing component — which could include affordable and market-rate units — would help fulfill Mel Trotter’s mission to reduce homelessness as the nonprofit begins a 10-year plan to alter its business model. Mel Trotter has a 10-year goal to make 70 percent of its revenue come from social enterprise businesses, transitioning from a primarily donor-based revenue model, Van Kampen said.
“It allows us to fund growth that’s necessary to fulfill our vision, which is ending homelessness,” he said.
A housing component, however, is “not set in stone,” Van Kampen added. The next step is to engage with the surrounding neighborhood to gauge support for any possible development.
“We need to be very respectful of the neighborhood and community that already exists and not come in and build something for our organization that may not be the best thing for the neighborhood,” he said.
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