Two Detroiters—one a gallery owner and another who cut his teeth in New York City finance—are planning a $6.6 million mixed-use development on Grand River Avenue at the edge of Woodbridge. Called the Osi Art Apartments @ West End, plans for the development were revealed in public records submitted to the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority earlier this month.
Plans for the over 26,000-square-foot Osi Art Apartments currently call for around 30 apartment units and ground floor retail, as well as parking behind the building. The site, which was purchased in May this year, is currently vacant and sits next to the Patterson Dog and Cat Hospital between Avery and Commonwealth streets.
Roderick Hardamon, founder URGE Development Group and one of the project’s partners, says he expects at least 50 percent of the units to be available to tenants who make 80 percent of the area median income (around $42,000 per year).
According to its brownfield plan, the developers are seeking just over $360,000 in public financing to remove contaminated soil, demolish the old building foundation, and otherwise prepare the site. Hardamon says they’re also seeking tax exemptions through the state’s Commercial Rehabilitation Act and loans through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
If they’re able to secure financing for the project, construction will begin late this year or early 2020 and take approximately 18 months. Quinn Evans Architects is the architect of record with VolumeOne contributing to design.
Hardamon grew up in Detroit and spent the last 20 years working for Citigroup, most recently as the North America Head for Citi Alternative Investment Services. His partner is George N’Namdi, founder of the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art on East Forest Avenue.
The eye-catching building will have a saw-tooth roof and a red and yellow mural on the facade designed in collaboration with artist Osi Audu. It’s inspired by works of his that appeared in the N’Namdi Gallery.
Hardamon and N’Namdi envision the Osi Apartments as part of a larger arts corridor along Grand River they’re calling the West End Gallery District. A 1,856-square-foot gallery space is also planned for the building.
“The role of the artistic community is important, and most vibrant cities have a strong creative force centered in a gallery district,” Hardamon says. “We believe Grand River could be that area.”
Aside from Motor City Casino, there’s hardly been any new construction along Grand River in decades. Hardamon hopes that this development spurs more along the corridor.