Detroit’s Transfiguration School readied for housing transformation


The former transfiguration school is under renovation.

The Department of Housing and Revitalization of the City of Detroit announced Tuesday that construction has begun on a $ 7.2 million project to renovate the historic school building into affordable housing.

The Transfiguration Place Apartments at 13300 Syracuse are the result of the city’s request to submit proposals on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit to bring the building back into operation. The developers are Ethos Development Partners and Cinnaire Solutions from Detroit.

“This project is about getting the community together to find solutions to both our need for affordable housing and what to do with the many historic but unused buildings in our city,” said Mayor Mike Duggan in a statement Tuesday.

The building will offer 19 affordable housing units with median incomes of 60% or less. The project, which is expected to be completed in the next year, involves converting the former classrooms into 17 one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units.

Joseph Heaphy, President of Ethos, said, “When completed, Transfiguration Place will be a model for adaptively reusing empty schools to turn them into assets for communities across the city.”

The building is located in the Banglatown neighborhood, one of the areas of the city’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund. The city says affordable rents are made possible through a variety of funding sources, including: tax credits for low-income housing agencies from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the HOME Investment Partnership and Community Development Block Grant programs, and project-based vouchers from the Detroit Housing Commission.

The project supports the city’s efforts to maintain 10,000 units of affordable housing and develop 2,000 units of new affordable housing by 2023.

Builders will preserve historical details of the building and will be able to claim historical tax credits due to the building’s entry on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019.

The school building was built in 1926 to serve Detroit’s growing Polish population. It also served as the community’s house of worship until the church next door opened in 1950. The community closed the school in 2005 and, according to the city, rented it to a charter school until around 2014.

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