Ann Arbor DDA Grants $300K to Public Housing

The Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s Baker Commons building, located in downtown Ann Arbor at Packard and Main, will get an infusion of $300,000 from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority – as a result of action by the DDA board at its March 6, 2013 meeting.

The $300,000 will be used toward a range of capital improvements to the 60-unit building: driveway and sidewalk replacement and repair; installation of energy-efficient lighting; insulation and air sealing; window replacement; adding a second entrance; door replacement; upgrade of fixtures appliances, flooring and cabinetry; replacement of heating and cooling units; generator replacement, elevator replacement, upgrade of common area furniture, and installation of additional security cameras.

This grant for $300,000 to Baker Commons comes in addition to a recent $260,000 grant from the DDA – authorized by the board at its Oct. 3, 2012 meeting – primarily for the replacement of the Baker Commons roof.

Jennifer Hall, executive director of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, estimates that Baker Commons needs about $3 million in capital investments. She made the request of the DDA in conjunction with a request to the city of Ann Arbor – for $500,000. The DDA’s contribution taps its housing fund, which gets its revenue from the DDA’s tax increment finance capture (TIF) fund.

The city of Ann Arbor is being asked to tap the fund balance in the city affordable housing trust fund – for half the $500,000. That use of the city’s affordable housing trust fund has been recommended by the city’s housing and human service advisory board (HHSAB). The other half is hoped to come from federal community development block grant (CDBG) funding, allocated through the Washtenaw Urban County.

The redevelopment of Baker Commons comes in the context of an effort Hall is undertaking to redevelop all of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s 360 units, distributed across the city. Baker Commons is the only AAHC housing complex in the downtown area. The overall redevelopment effort being pursued by Hall would privatize Ann Arbor’s public housing, converting the properties to project-based vouchers, which would make them eligible for low-income housing tax credit financing. For detailed coverage of this effort, see: “Round 3 FY 2014: Housing Commission.

This brief was filed from the Ann Arbor DDA offices located at 150 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 301, where the DDA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]