DETROIT — City officials are working with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit to turn a vacant parochial school into a mixed-income apartment building.
The effort to convert the former Transfiguration School aligns with Mayor Mike Duggan’s goal to strengthen neighborhoods, officials said.
Detroit’s Department of Housing and Revitalization is seeking proposals from developers to turn the site in the Banglatown neighborhood into 15 to 25 residential units. Because nearly two-thirds of the neighborhood’s residents live at or below poverty level, about 20 percent of those units will be affordable housing, officials say.
“Banglatown is such an important piece of our city’s fabric and a neighborhood that has struggled with a high rate of poverty and abandonment,” Duggan said. “Whenever we can, we are going to find ways to bring new investment into this neighborhood and others like it.”
The project is expected to cost $4 million to $5 million.
Along with a high population of Bangladeshi-Americans, the neighborhood is also home to many African-Americans, Yemeni, Polish and Bosnian families.
“Buildings like Transfiguration were anchors in many neighborhoods and can be again, but with a different use,” Arthur Jemison, the city’s housing and revitalization director, said.
“Working collaboratively to redevelop a building like this makes a lot of sense. It will send a signal to developers that the city is in strong support and engaged, which we expect will encourage more quality developers to submit proposals.”
The former school served Catholics in northeast Detroit for 80 years until its 2005 closing.
“We are pleased to work with the city in re-purposing our unused properties in ways that support the health of the Archdiocese and will help stabilize the broader community,” said Archdiocesan Director of Properties Michael McInerney.
City officials said proposals from developers should include plans for a walkable, environmentally sustainable, mixed-income neighborhood development. The plans should also be able to preserve the building’s historic architecture, while restoring some of the original ceilings and wood work.