OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — New housing construction in Holland Township hopes to initiate more similar projects in the area. Hо̄m Flats at Felch Street is the first of its kind in more than two decades in the area.
According to Housing Next, Ottawa County's population is growing faster than any other county in the state. They say the county has grown by more than 10% over the last 10 years.
They credit that to more middle class jobs, which means there is a higher demand for affordable living.
"The more middle class households we have and the less middle class housing we have, the more competition drives up price," said Ryan Kilpatrick, Housing Next's Executive Director.
Housing Next also says more than 22,700 households in Ottawa County are cost-burdened. That means they spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs, including mortgage, rent, taxes and insurance.
Hо̄m Flats wants to change that.
"Our overarching mission within Kent and Ottawa counties is to bring workforce housing to the residents," said Jenna Morton, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Magnus Capital Partners, the company who owns Hо̄m Flats.
"We want very high quality workforce housing to meet that demand for housing that people are looking for," Morton said.
Morton said that too often, developers are focused on the high-income and low-income projects, but there is a population in the middle that is now suffering for cost-appropriate living.
"We're focused on the teachers of the world, the policemen," Morton said, "anyone that usually makes between $17 to $24 an hour, which I know there's a lot of us out there."
"That is often a demographic of individuals that is overlooked," she said.
The Hо̄m Flats at Felch Street project in Holland Township is what Housing Next calls a great example of high-quality workforce housing.
"They're bringing new, middle class housing product into the marketplace," said Kilpatrick. "Allowing those rental properties to exist is really important to the long-term economic sustainability in the region."
This project is also the first family-oriented low-income housing tax credit project in Ottawa County in more than 20 years.
Kilpatrick said the support from the township and city is extremely important.
"Having communities that are willing to step up and essentially allow for this kind of housing product to get built to support it and to have the utilities necessary," he said.
And for Hо̄m Flats, they say this may be their first project on the lakeshore, but it won't - and shouldn't - be their last.
"This project alone isn't going to serve the needs of the community, it needs to be not just us but others taking the leap to provide this type of housing," said Morton.
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