This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's series on solutions to affordable housing and housing the unhoused. It is made possible by a coalition of funders including Kalamazoo County, the ENNA Foundation, and the Kalamazoo County Land Bank.
KALAMAZOO, MI – State and local officials say Kalamazoo County needs more affordable housing. Jamauri Bogan is focused on making that happen.
His first solo development project, a 12-unit apartment complex at 815 N. Pitcher St., began taking residents in mid-December. And he plans to start a 36-unit second phase of the project later this year.
“I think the goal still remains the same because the need is still so great,” says Bogan, a former Western Michigan University running back whose interest in business and money management helped him as he jumped into real estate development after graduating from WMU in 2019.
Zone 32 is the name of the new residential and commercial complex owned by Bogan Developments LLC on Pitcher Street, just north of Frank Street. Taking its name from the number Bogan wore on the football field, it includes a two-story, 7,800-square-foot residential building at 815 N. Pitcher St. and a 2,500-square-foot commercial building at 315 E. Frank St. Built at a cost of about $4.7 million, they reclaim part of a 1.4-acre former Brownfield site in the city’s Northside neighborhood.
A large part of the commercial space is now home to the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo’s Early Learning Center. It currently has 18 pre-schoolers enrolled.
With its integrated modern fixtures, flooring, and appliances, Bogan says Zone 32 is intended to be a satisfying place for anyone to come home to. Architectural work was done by the TowerPinkster architectural firm. Construction work was done by AVB Inc. The property is being managed by the Lukeman Group.
“We have eight studios and four two-bedroom/two-bathroom units,” Bogan says. Through this week, he says, “Five out of the 12 are occupied.”
The units are intended to help individuals and families who make 60 to 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Kalamazoo County. Qualifying renters must make between 60 and 120 percent of AMI.
Sixty percent of the annual AMI for an individual in Kalamazoo County is $38,520. Eighty percent of AMI for an individual is $51,360 per year. Sixty percent of the AMI for a family of four is $55,020. Eighty percent for a family of four is $73,360.
Available for occupancy are six studio apartments and one two-bed/two-bath unit. Each studio is about 460 square feet and rents for $875 to $900 per month. Each two-bedroom unit is about 1,000 square feet and rents for about $1,500 per month. Each unit has its own clothes washer and dryer and access from outdoors. Second-floor units have balconies.
“All of them are sub-80-percent of AMI, so they are very affordable,” Bogan says. “Our studios are at 60 percent of AMI basically.”
Inquiries about rental units may be made by contacting The Lukeman Group at 269-254-8561.
“I think it’s really spacious and it’s nice,” Angel West says of her two-bedroom apartment. “It’s enough room for me and my son. He’s 3 years old. So it’s a good room for him.”
Although she was not hamstrung by local rental rates, the 23-year-old says she was happy to find the new living space. On a recent day, she says things seem to be working out well as she transfers from Chicago to Kalamazoo to take a new job.
After having an apartment in the Windy City, West says she had to move back in with her mother there a while ago. She was impressed with how leasing agents helped her here. And she says others should consider relocating from the big city to find opportunities.
“I was born and raised there,” West says of Chicago. “But it was hard for me to find jobs, find somewhere to stay, and stuff like that. So I really feel blessed to be coming here.”
She was also looking forward to enrolling her son in the YMCA Learning Center.
“They also have the YMCA over there,” West says, referring to the YMCA Early Learning Center. “So everything is kind of convenient for me. So it works out.”
“I’m overjoyed honestly,” Bogan says of having the Early Learning Center as a tenant of the commercial building. “The child-care center is affordable for parents who may need additional assistance. And the Y is always typically pretty flexible depending on folks’ situation, which is awesome.”
He says the Y was looking for a new location for the program, which provides preschool instruction to youngsters ages 3-5, and requires about 2,000 square feet of space. He is using the balance of space in the commercial building as an office for Bogan Developments.
Bogan, 27, is a New Jersey native who used his football talents to win a football scholarship at WMU and play for former Head Coach P.J. Fleck. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in personal financial planning (2017) and a master’s degree in business administration (2019). Zone 32 is his first solo project, after working since 2020 in real estate and as an associate of Hollander Development Corp. With Hollander, he also has been working to help create Mt. Zion Baptist Church’s Legacy Senior Housing, a $26 million housing complex that is expected to provide 70 apartment units for senior citizens at 740 N. Burdick St.
Phase 2 of Zone 32 will use about 0.6 acres of undeveloped land on the east side of Pitcher Street that is currently owned by the City of Kalamazoo. It will be a three-story structure with 36 apartments.
“Bogan Development is going to continue to provide affordable housing to low- to moderate-income families,” Bogan says, “and our goal is always to pair it with neighborhood amenities” like the YMCA Early Learning Center in Phase 1 of Zone 32.
In Phase 2, Bogan says he is looking to include other services, commercial tenants, or recreational opportunities that would benefit the community.
Creating housing that is considered affordable for low- to moderate-income families requires a lot of planning to offset construction and maintenance costs. It involves coordinating financial resources from local, state, and federal sources, local developers say.
“It’s so hard right now to build a project,” Bogan says. “Typically these projects have to go through the Low-Income Tax Credit Program. It takes several years for one to get a reservation. Several months or years to close, and then several months or years of building. So you’re having projects that need to come online today but they’re taking five to seven years to actually get done.”
From concept to completion, Zone 32 happened more quickly. It took about three years. Ground was broken in February of 2023 as the community rebounded from the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also managed to skirt some problems and stay on budget.
“We didn’t build exactly when everything was kind of out of whack,” Bogan says. “We didn’t break ground until 2023, so we had a little bit of time when everything slowed down for us, and to try to get real costs and work closely with AVB on that.”
But Bogan says he has enjoyed the process and will continue the work.
“Having affordable, high-yield, elite housing is very important just to stabilize yourself,” Bogan says. “I always feel that when you get home from work, you want to come home to something that you have some pride in. And if we can design something that when folk come home they can sigh and say, ‘I can relax. I can feel comfortable. I can feel a sense of security.’ That’s what we want to do in every project we build. I think we kind of make that happen a little bit here and we’re going to keep getting better as we look at projects in the future