Former GR seminary becomes senior living, Samaritas hub

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The former historic St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids is now home to high-demand senior housing.

On Friday, Samaritas celebrated the completion of 53 low-income senior apartments at the corner of Burton Street and Union Avenue SE in the Garfield Park neighborhood.

The transformed space will also serve as Samaritas’ West Michigan headquarters. Three of the organization’s offices will operate in the revamped gymnasium, providing foster care and adoption, family counseling, substance abuse treatment, disability and refugee services.

Construction crews spent nearly a year redeveloping the building to help answer Grand Rapids’ need for senior housing and family services. Samaritas says demand for housing and support for substance abuse and mental health is only growing in the pandemic.

Samaritas says it worked closely with architects to maintain features of the former seminary, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places last year. Contractors replaced the original slate roof with replica slate tile and preserved the chapel, which will serve as a community gathering space.

(A Nov. 20, 2020 photo shows the former St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids, which Samaritas renovated into a low-income senior housing community as well as its West Michigan headquarters.)

The building also includes a library, fitness center, lounge and café.

The living units are all approximately 1,000 square feet. They consist of 37 one-bedroom apartments, seven studio apartments, four lofts and five two-bedroom apartments. Samaritas says six of the units are barrier-free for residents with disabilities.

Local donors and organizations including the Cook Foundation, Thome Memorial Trust and Grand Rapids Community Foundation helped pay for the redevelopment. The project was also granted low-income housing tax credits.