GRAND RAPIDS — Two large downtown sites along Division Avenue will likely remain vacant, at least for the foreseeable future.
While the Michigan State Housing Development Authority awarded two Grand Rapids projects a total of $2.1 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) last week, several other projects failed to secure incentives.
Hudsonville-based Keeler Flats LLC was unsuccessful in its bid to secure about $2.8 million annually over 10 years to build income-restricted housing in the vacant Keeler Building at 56 North Division Ave.
Jeffrey Dombrowski, principal with Keeler Flats, told MiBiz on Friday morning that the company plans to re-apply to MSHDA for the next round of LIHTC funding later this year.
“We’re going full-court press on making this an even better application,” Dombroski said, adding that it was an unspecified technical issue that kept Keeler Flats from receiving the credits this time around. “It’s a very competitive process, but we’re going to go back and put our best foot forward. It’s a very strong project. The project can be daunting, but we have a strong team.”
Likewise, Ann Arbor-based 12 Weston LDHA LLC did not receive its requested LIHTC funding. The company asked for $1.2 million annually to support its plans to build 41 income-restricted units at the vacant lot on the southwest corner of Division and Weston Avenues.
This is the second time the developer — a subsidiary of LC Companies Inc. — has unsuccessfully sought the competitive tax credits.
Bob Jacobson, an executive at LC Companies, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The real estate development firm has an option on the vacant land, according to Charlie Secchia, a principal at Grand Rapids-based Sibsco LLC, which owns the land along with an entity related to Rockford Construction Co. Inc.
Secchia told MiBiz he’s unaware of whether LC Companies will attempt to move forward with the project again. Rockford Construction declined to comment for this report.
Previously, Sibsco proposed a 12-story office tower for the vacant site, but the company put those plans on hold after it did not attract enough tenants to move forward.
MSHDA, the state agency that administers the federal tax credits in Michigan, didn’t give specifics as to why the two projects were denied funding, saying the available credits are not enough to satisfy the demand and that each project must meet a Qualified Allocation Plan.
“The award process for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) is very competitive and in each funding round the credits are consistently oversubscribed, which means there is not enough credit to fund all of the projects that are submitted,” Misty Miller, media affairs manager for MSHDA, wrote in an email to MiBiz. “Based on our review of all the projects in this funding round, the scoring for 12 Weston and Keeler Flats … did not place these projects in a position to receive funding from this round.”