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Two downtown buildings start renovations, preserve senior housing

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Two more downtown buildings are finally starting much-needed renovations. The Stevens Building and the Louis Kamper Apartments will undergo an $18 million renovation for their 165 combined residential units.

The Stevens Building
Courtesy of the Roxbury Group

The renovation is led by the Roxbury Group—who acquired the buildings in 2016—and Invest Detroit. They intended on renovating when they acquired the buildings, but complications in funding, as well as figuring out how to not displace residents, stalled the start of the project.

Neither building has seen much updating since 1981. Renovations will include upgrades and improvements to major building systems, rehab of elevators, window repair, and renovation of lobbies and common areas. Roof repairs are also included, as well as exterior masonry, as necessary. Of course, residential unit renovation is included and the kitchen and bath updates in the units, we’re told, can take only four hours.

A residential kitchen before
Courtesy of the Roxbury Group
A renovated residential kitchen
Courtesy of the Roxbury Group

Both buildings have been designated Section 8 affordable senior housing through HUD since 1981. According to a press release, the 30-year extension that preserves this status was possible from state tax credits, the city’s federal HOME funding, and private borrowing. The renovations are supported through the MSHDA-sponsored Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

The Roxbury Group also plans on activating the 9,000-square-foot retail space on the ground level.

The Louis Kamper
Courtesy of the Roxbury Group

Louis Kamper designed the 127-unit building that now bears his name (it was known as the Industrial Bank Building). The Art Moderne skyscraper was opened in 1928 as part of the Washington Boulevard plan by the Book brothers in the 1920’s. The 38-unit Stevens Building, designed by Donaldson & Meier in 1901, sits across Grand River Boulevard. The Book Tower, currently undergoing extensive renovations, stands across Washington Boulevard from the Stevens Building.

The buildings are just down the street from Capitol Park, an area of downtown that has seen massive renovations and substantial increases in rent prices in recent years. The Louis Kamper and Stevens Buildings are now two of only four buildings downtown that have Section 8 housing.