$150M Factory Yards could include affordable housing

Media Mention

By Kate Klemp August 28, 2023


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Developers of a $150 million project planned in Grand Rapids are working with the city to offer some of the housing units at below market rate.

Factory Yards is a multiuse development planned along Godfrey Avenue near Market Avenue that will include hundreds of apartments, a restaurant space and a fitness center. The project includes renovating a vacant, five-story building first built by a furniture company in the late 1800s.

Developers Ben Smith and Scott Magaluk told News 8 at the Grand Rapids Policy Conference Wednesday that they’re working with the city to offer affordable housing.

“Economic diversity in a project of this size is important as any other type of diversity,” Smith said. “We’re really trying to make this an inclusive project that all different types of people can enjoy. … There’s a housing shortage and we want to make sure we create opportunities for people to be a part of this.”

Magaluk explained they’re working with the city to create an affordability agreement to designate 20% of the housing units in the development as affordable units. Half of those units would be at 80% Area Median Income and the other half would be at 60% AMI.

He added affordable housing was something that was brought up multiple times during their community engagement with neighborhood groups and the city.

“We’re happy that we’ve been able to work with the city and the city’s been great about coming up with solutions that works for everyone,” he said.

Smith said the developers are “excited to start swinging hammers” in the 15-acre space. The five-story building set to be renovated in the first phase of the project will include 382 apartments. A later phase will include new multifamily housing units.

The development is close to the site of the planned amphitheater.

“The next 10 years is going to be really exciting for West Michigan,” said Andy Johnston, the senior vice president of advocacy and strategic engagement for the Grand Rapids Chamber. “Between Factory Yards, amphitheater, potential aquarium, the activation of the river, all these things are going to contribute to that population growth, that economic growth that’s really going to take West Michigan to the next level.”