Original Lincoln Motor Factory in Detroit to Become Affordable Housing


Dreamtroit, a mixed-use development with affordable housing, is expected to open in Detroit in early 2022. // Courtesy of Dreamtroit

Recycle Here, a recycling center in Detroit, announced plans on Thursday to convert its facilities – an auto-plant recycling center – into a mixed-use community with affordable housing and 38,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. The recycling company remains in the building.

The $ 20 million project, known as Dreamtroit, will transform the 1.5-acre campus at 1331 Holden St. into an 81-unit development that will include a market and restaurant. The aim is to create a space that is home to art and where creative people can gather.

Of the units, 17 are reserved for households with a median income of 50 percent or less, 41 percent for a median income of 80 percent and the remaining residential units with a median income of 120 percent.

The apartments have 13 foot ceilings and large industrial windows. They come in loft units, including one bedroom, two bedrooms, a studio and a studio with a shared kitchen. Additional amenities include an indoor function room, workshop, café and on-site parking. The renovation is expected to be completed in early 2022.

Matt Naimi and Oren Goldenberg took on the project, saying their goal is to protect the art scene if Detroit rents rise.

“We believe that it is the people and the culture that propel our city into the future,” says Naimi, founder of Recycle Here. “In the past 12 years we have brought people together

through public programming, public space, environmental protection and art. We ensure that the working class, artists, and innovators continue to have a home and platform to build the next generation of Detroit’s cultural and technological revolution, while providing affordable housing to those who make Detroit a unique and creative place to be. “

Recycling Here is a recycling organization that has been in Detroit for 15 years. As part of the development, it will be moved to the Lincoln Street side of the property. The improved recycling facility will have a new delivery center, programming and training facilities.

“We believe we should be able to live cheaply in the city of Detroit and be rooted in our city’s amazing culture,” says Goldenberg. “This project is about redefining old structures and helping Detroit reinvent itself and its icons.”

The property is near Lincoln Street Art Park, which has hosted arts and social events since its inception in 2011. Make Art Work, the nonprofit that runs the park and its program, will be responsible for the interactivity and beautification of Dreamtroit.

Dreamtroit is near the Motown Museum, which is currently expanding by $ 50 million, and the College for Creative Studies. The Fisher Building, Wayne State University, and the bars and restaurants in the New Center are within walking distance. It’s four miles north of downtown.

In late February, the Detroit Housing for the Future Fund closed Dreamtroit funding commitments of $ 2.26 million. The mutual fund is working to raise $ 75 million in capital for affordable housing in Detroit. It launched in October with an initial capitalization of $ 48 million, backed by a $ 15 million commitment from JPMorgan Chase and a $ 10 million guarantee from The Kresge Foundation.

The fund is managed by LISC Detroit and is part of the larger Affordable Housing Leverage Fund, a partnership with the City of Detroit’s Housing and Revitalization Division. Dreamtroit is the third project announced since the fund was launched.

Funding for the deal involved a number of financial partners including Invest Detroit, Capital Impact Partners, IFF, Michigan Economic Development Corp. and historical tax credits.

The property was built in 1908 for Warren Motor Car Co. but was taken over by automaker Henry Leland and served as the first Lincoln Motor Factory in 1917. After Leland found the facility was not meeting his requirements, he began building a 600,000 square foot manufacturing facility for Lincoln on W. Warren and Livernois Streets.

After Ford Motor Co. bought Leland in 1922, the plant on Holden Street, south of what is now Henry Ford Hospital, began production of the Model Ts. The Lincoln plant at 6200 W. Warren produced the Lincoln Zephyr and Continental until 1952, when the Production was relocated to Wayne, followed by a new facility in Wixom in 1957.

It was a manufacturing facility from auto parts to refrigerators for several decades. It later served as a warehouse and food distribution center. It has been in Naimi’s family since 1981 and was converted into Recycle Here by Naimi in 2007. The complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in January.


Dusty Kennedy