More housing coming to West Michigan, still more needed

Read the Spanish version of this story in El Vocero.

Thousands of new homes are set to come on the market in Ottawa County in the next 18 months, HousingNext Executive Director Ryan Kilpatrick says.

About a third of those are aimed at low- to middle-income families. All will help area housing prices to stabilize.

“The big issue we have right now is supply,” Kilpatrick says. “The more we add supply, the more we can reduce competition for housing (and prices).”

About 3,000 new affordable housing units are needed before 2025, according to HousingNext. The 1,200 units in the works is a start, Kilpatrick says, but only a start.

HousingNext is a pilot program of the Ottawa County United Way and consists of local nonprofit and government leaders working to address housing affordability in West Michigan.

Area companies are expected to make big jobs announcements in the coming months, putting even more pressure on the housing market, Kilpatrick says.

Local economic development partners — cities, townships, and nonprofits — need to work together to keep housing affordable, he says.

When housing prices become unattainable, it “makes it harder for our businesses to grow,” Kilpatrick says.

These are the projects already underway and planned for 2022.

2021 housing projects underway in Ottawa County

Robinson Landing, Grand Haven — Fifteen affordable homes for sale and 15 market rate homes for sale ($139,900 to $269,900).

HOM Flats, Holland Township — This is the first low-income housing tax credit project approved in Ottawa County in more than 20 years and will provide 114 mixed-income rental units including affordable rental units for households earning 40% to 80% of the area median income. It will be located on a primary MAX bus route and is accessible to the new Grand Rapids Community College Lakeshore Campus and most of the retail and manufacturing jobs in the community. 

Park Vista Place, 40th Street, Holland — Ten homes for sale priced affordably for households earning 40% to 120% of the area median income in a combined effort by Habitat for Humanity and Jubilee Ministries.

Resthaven & GDK, downtown Holland — 21 independent senior living apartments will create new opportunities for older adults who are ready to downsize and reduce their maintenance obligations. Most senior renters will be selling a home they have owned for 10 years or more, making those older homes available for young families. Creating more housing choice, even for market rate buyers and renters, creates a little more slack in the market for everyone else. 

River Caddis, downtown Grand Haven — 133 new apartments and condos. The 2018 Ottawa County Housing Needs Assessment identified a need for nearly 400 additional market rate apartments in northwest Ottawa County. If the community is not able to accommodate those new market rate renters, it creates serious competition for older supply among low- and moderate-income renters and the new higher-income renters. The investment of River Caddis and support from the city of Grand Haven reduces  the competition for a limited supply of housing. 

2022 housing projects

Lakewood Flats, Holland Township — Midwest Construction has zoning approval and is nearing completion of financing to begin construction on 190 units of affordable housing on Lakewood Boulevard east of US-31. The project would include apartments for households earning 40% to 80% of the area median income. It also would have a mixed-use building with shops and restaurants, a community clubhouse, a playground to be designed by the Outdoor Discovery Center, and the preservation of a natural creek and several acres of green space. The project is located on a MAX transit line with access to downtown, the new Grand Rapids Community College Lakeshore Campus, and several job centers.

Vista Green mixed-income neighborhood, Holland — Lakeshore Habitat and Jubilee Ministries are pairing up and fundraising for a 42-home neighborhood on 36th Street in Holland. The City Council voted unanimously early this year to sell the former city-owned parcel to the non-profit development group so it could build a mix of affordable and moderately priced homes for sale. The neighborhood will include single-family cottages, townhomes, and small apartment buildings.

HOM Flats, Holland — A 191-unit mixed-use, mixed-income development on the corner of Waverly and 24th in Holland has been proposed. The project would include retail along Waverly and apartment units behind. The development is on a MAX transit route, close to the manufacturing center on the southeast side of Holland, and within walking distance of the 120-acre Van Raalte Farm Park. Residential units would be available for households earning 40% to 120% of the area median income.

Redevelopment of the out-lots at Westshore Mall, Holland Township — Versa Real Estate has nearly completed the repositioning of the former West Shore Mall to create a new mixed-use hub in the center of Holland Township. The Shops at Westshore now include a wide array of retail and restaurant amenities closer to US-31, while the former mall has been converted to accommodate the new Grand Rapids Community College Lakeshore Campus. Now, Versa will turn its sights to the eastern portion of the property, where it has received preliminary planned use development approval to build a village-style neighborhood that includes apartments, townhomes, small cottages, and single-family homes. The development team is seeking a wide range of price points that could serve households earning 50% of the area median income up to 150% or more.

Read more articles by Andrea Goodell.