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Affordable housing projects underway in Traverse City

Traverse City officials toured the affordable housing complex expected to be completed this year.
Taylor Wizner
Traverse City officials toured the affordable housing complex expected to be completed this year.

Construction workers took a break while Traverse City leaders toured what will soon be a four story affordable housing complex overlooking the Boardman River.

Two Traverse City affordable housing projects are expected to be complete within the year, bringing in more than 100 new apartments. The area is the second fastest growing in the state and is desperate for more year-round rentals.

The Ruth Park building on Eighth and Wellington streets will have 58 rental units.

Craig Patterson, with the developer Woda Cooper Companies, said it took years to find a location that attracted state funding for its walkability and access to a park and library.

“I doubt if these units will turn much — meaning once you’re here on this site overlooking the Boardman ... why would you want to change your address?” he said.

The one, two and three bedroom apartments are eligible for those making between 30 and 80 percent of the area median income. Depending on income, monthly rent and utilities is anywhere from around $600 to $1,400 per month.

The apartment building guaranteed low-cost rents for at least 45 years.

City Manager Marty Colburn says Traverse City historically has struggled to compete for affordable housing grants, but the Michigan State Housing Development Authority recently updated its criteria.

“They’ve been open minded in terms of looking at the policies and practices of how the more rural communities compete with the larger communities so we appreciate that. In the broader picture, we have a lot of work to do.”

MSHDA recently provided more funding to the project to offset rising building costs.

The state agency also approved another affordable housing project by the developer targeting Traverse City-based Coast Guard members. It should be ready in October.

Taylor Wizner covers heath, tourism and other news for Interlochen Public Radio.