WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A year after breaking ground, a $35 million housing development taking shape on the former site of Studio 28 is entering a new stage.
HO̅M Flats at 28 West started phase two of construction this week. Builders will add 160 more apartments, an indoor dog park, game room, art studio and an indoor-outdoor children’s play area to the seven-acre site.
ANSWERING ‘MISSING MIDDLE’ DEMAND
HO̅M Flats is the first major housing development in downtown Wyoming in recent years. Developer Magnus Capital Partners says the project is aimed at addressing growing demand for “missing middle” housing.
“Over time, we’ve seen as rent goes up, income stays the same for people. So essentially that creates a middle that’s not being addressed,” explained marketing coordinator Dom Rayona. “We want to find that home for them that they can afford and live comfortably with things that the housing crisis is kind of taking away from them.”
A recent report by Self Financial concluded apartment prices in the Grand Rapids rose nearly 40% over the past decade. The city’s growing population helped drive up housing costs, Colliers West Michigan told News 8.
Jenna Morton, director of marketing and business development for Magnus Capital Partners, says the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the need for middle market housing.
“You know, a lot of people losing their jobs, or you know losing hours, getting evicted from their places. We have an affordable price range for those individuals that maybe were paying market price before,” she said.
CHOOSING WYOMING OVER GRAND RAPIDS
While many of the major housing projects underway now are in Grand Rapids, HO̅M Flats set its sights on a “very growing fringe of the city,” according to Morton.
“What we’re trying to do… just didn’t fit within the city’s boundaries,” said Morton. “We wanted people that were working at Steelcase, Gordon Food Service, to be close to home and then have access to downtown, too. Because not everyone wants to live downtown, either.”
Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll said city leaders are “pleased to watch the transformation in Wyoming.”
“We are excited to see the second phase get underway, as we know it will bring additional housing opportunities and further revitalization for our community,” he stated in a Monday news release.
The new community is a win for area businesses taking part in HO̅M Flats’ PASS Partner program. At move-in, residents are given a card for discounts at nearby businesses including Frankie V’s and Mitten Floral.
“We want the money to stay locally with local businesses so we created that program so we can drive that home,” said Morton.
“So while creating our community on the HO̅M Flats level, we are also strengthening the Wyoming community,” added Rayona.
INSIDE THE APARTMENTS
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HO̅M Flats offers a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments each furnished with a washer, dryer and stainless-steel appliances.
The living room area opens to a kitchen that includes an island countertop and cabinets lining the walls.
In the two-bedroom option, the master bedroom comes with a large closet.
HO̅M Flats one-bedroom apartment starts at $1,175 per month and the two-bedroom is $1,375 a month, but rents are adjusted based on resident income.
“We have availability and options for everyone,” assured Morton, adding that water and trash service are included in the price.
HO̅M Flats welcomed its first resident around Labor Day and leased all units in its first two buildings within a few weeks.
In addition to 226 apartments, HO̅M Flats’ added a community cafe and workspace during the first phase of construction.
“A lot of people have been shifted to remote work. We have a space for them to get away out of their apartment, (and get a) change of scenery,” said Morton.
The amenities also include a fitness center and yoga studio that will open late this fall and host classes in spring.
“We try to bring everything that you normally have to make a commute for… (into) your backyard,” Morton said. “So we kind of took all of the great components of suburbs and city living and put it right here in Wyoming.”
Each rooftop will also be transformed into a terrace for residents to gather.
The development will also include dog washing stations in addition to an indoor dog park and outdoor walking paths.
Another HO̅M Flats perk: free on-site parking for residents and guests.
“Downtown you’ll find similar amenities but definitely at higher prices,” said Rayona.
BRINGING BACK A COMMUNITY ‘TREASURE’
Magnus Capital Partners expects to wrap construction on HO̅M Flats in spring. At that point, the firm plans to use the site’s plaza to resurrect the flea market that once operated on the grounds.
“It was a very big community event and treasure, so we want to bring that back for the community,” said Morton.
The people behind HO̅M Flats are also looking into getting involved with local organizations like the Wyoming Chamber of Commerce and major events including the 28th Street Metro Cruise.
“We want people to feel like this is not just an apartment but a neighborhood and a community that they can be a part of,” said Morton.