Detroit to turn former Catholic school into housing for the poor

Detroit to turn former Catholic school into housing for the poor

Detroit to turn former Catholic school into housing for the poor

In this March 22, 2017 photo, shows one of the classrooms inside the former 21,500-square-foot Transfiguration School Building in which the City of Detroit in partnership with the Archdiocese of Detroit is looking to redevelop. The former Catholic school building in Detroit near the border of Hamtramck has been vacant since 2005. The project is expected to cost between $4-5 million with hopes of turning it into a mixed-income apartment building with 15-25 residential units, 20 percent of which will be considered affordable. (Credit: Tanya Moutzalias /The Ann Arbor News via AP.)

In Detroit, city officials are working with the Catholic archdiocese to turn a former Catholic school into housing in a neighborhood where two-thirds of the residents live at or below the poverty level, and where the ethnic mix is dominated by Bangladeshi, African-Americans, Yemeni, Polish and Bosnian families.

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.

Latest Stories

Most Read

Crux needs your monthly support

to keep delivering the best in smart, wired and independent Catholic news.

Latest Stories