60-unit workforce housing complex breaks ground in Petoskey
An apartment complex that broke ground on Friday will be set aside for workforce housing with income restrictions focused on an often overlooked group.
The $16.6 million development will be built at a former lumber yard that’s been vacant for nearly 30 years. It’s called the Lofts at Lumber Square and it's been years in the making.
All units will be reserved for eligible low and moderate income households earning between 30% and 120% of the area median income — what advocates often call “the missing middle.”
The land was purchased by the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation last year. David Jones is executive director.
“I said about a year and a half ago, ‘We now own dirt.’ And we still do. Hopefully in a year and a half or so it will be an actual building and not just dirt,” he said.
The project is within city limits and walkable from downtown Petoskey. Rents will range from a low of $316 per month for a one-bedroom unit to a high of $925 for a three-bedroom unit.
The project experienced setbacks in 2021 when developers were denied a low-income housing tax credit from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. But the Michigan Strategic Fund awarded the project $7.2 million in economic incentives over the summer, putting the project back on track.
“This is not just a groundbreaking for a building but a groundbreaking moment for the entire Petoskey community,” said Gerald Haan of Haan Development “We are honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of bringing this vision to life and working collaboratively with all stakeholders to make this project a success. Together, we will create a space that fosters a strong, vibrant, and thriving local community.”
The complex helps to ease a greater housing crisis in the region. According to data from the nonprofit Housing North, Northwest Michigan needs around 31,000 new units to keep up with new demand.
The report surveyed 10 counties: Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford counties.
Out of 130 apartment complexes surveyed, representing over 7,000 individual units, only 51 units were vacant. That's a 99.3 percent occupancy level — well above the typical range of 94 to 96 percent.
What could be one of the largest housing projects in the region is also planned for Petoskey in the brownfield site of the Michigan Maple Block Company. The site was chosen to eventually become an apartment complex with approximately 200 units.
The Petoskey City Council decided to move forward with the project at its Sept. 18 meeting.