Dowagiac to Stage Info Session on Downtown Loft Living Loans

More and more communities across the nation are discovering the increasing popularity of loft living situations in the central business district of communities far and wide. We recently told you here on Moody on the Market about one community in the region that is stepping up to the window to help property owners who would like to enhance their investment, while developing a second revenue source through creation of upper-floor apartments in the city’s central business district. that community is Dowagiac.

Early last month we told you that private downtown property owners in that Cass County community would be offered the opportunity to apply for funding through the City of Dowagiac to develop such upper-floor apartments, or lofts.

Now, to further identify interested property owners who might like to avail themselves of such a prospect, the Dowagiac Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is hosting an informational meeting on Wednesday, October 16th, for any such downtown property owners interested in applying for the Rental Rehab Program.

Vickie Phillipson, program director for the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and DDA, says the City plans to apply for funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support the development and rehabilitation of quality and affordable rental housing within the central business district.

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The informational meeting will be held October 16th at 6 pm at the Dowagiac City Hall in the second floor meeting room. Marilyn  Smith of Smith Housing, who oversees the City’s Rental Rehab Program, will provide an overview of program guidelines. Qualifying projects may receive up to a $60,000 forgivable loan, per apartment.

Phillipson says, “The continued conversion of unusable, upper floor space into residential housing is beneficial to the property owner and also to the community, as it enhances the vibrancy of our central business district.” The program provides property owners with a forgivable loan up to $60,000 to develop each apartment. Owners contribute 25-percent of the project cost for each rental unit, and at the end of five years, as long as the property owner meets the terms and conditions of the program, the loan is then forgivable.

Phillipson says the program can also be used on existing apartments, when significantly upgrading existing finishes and appliances.

Phillipson notes that, “Within the last 10 years, a number of building owners took advantage of a similar program, however, funding at that time only provided a loan up to $35,000 per apartment.” She concludes, “Today’s program has been significantly strengthened in favor of our property owners.”

Seating is limited for the information session. Those planning to attend the workshop should contact Phillipson at 782.8212 at their earliest convenience.

The photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market is for illustration purposes only and is not intended to represent available options in the community of Dowagiac.