SAULT STE. MARIE — Sault Ste. Marie can expect several new apartment buildings to rise from historical sites next year.
Garfield Landing has been home to the Garfield School since 1898. The now empty building is up for consideration to become a historical site, and will also become the future home to dozens of Soo residents.
Community Housing Network (CHN) is a nonprofit housing organization that in the past has worked mostly in the Detroit area to provide affordable housing. CHN is beginning its first project in Chippewa County by renovating the building and land surrounding the building of the Garfield School, which has stood empty sine 1970.
“We’re renovating the inside because we wanted to maintain the historic building. It’s this really cool sandstone building … the outside still looks like it did in the 1800s,” said Shelley Brinkmann, vice president of real estate of the Community Housing Network. “You can tell where the kids would have walked up and down the hallways and where the classrooms were, so it still has that integrity.”
The school itself will be renovated into 14 apartments while still keeping most of the existing structure, in accordance with historical preservation laws. Old classrooms and offices will become housing units without destroying the walls, hallways and doorways that already exist.
In addition to renovating the existing building, construction will also begin on four smaller buildings around the school which will contain up to 22 housing units. This brings the total number of units on the Garfield Landing property to 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments of varying sizes.
All apartments built on Garfield Landing will be priced as affordable housing instead of market pricing to make it more available to low income residents.
The construction on Garfield Landing is part of a larger project which includes the renovation of another building in Sault Ste. Marie into market value apartments following a similar construction schedule.
The project will cost a total of $14 million using money from CHN, a historical site tax credit as well as several community partners, including the Chippewa County Community Foundation, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Central Savings Bank.
“We’re so excited to be part of this community,” said Brinkmann. “We really feel like it’s an honor to restore the building of Garfield Landing and to give new purpose to it and be part of the community.”
CHN invites the community to attend the groundbreaking event, which has not yet been scheduled but will take place sometime in the summer of 2022. Renovations will begin as soon as plans are finalized. Construction is expected to begin in July and finish sometime around the summer of 2023.
“We don’t have an actual date yet, but we are planning on breaking ground in the summer, and then we should be done in about a year,” said Brinkmann.
For more information about this and other projects, visit the Community Housing Network website.