Vacant Catholic school to transform into housing on east side

- A vacant building in Detroit that once served as a Catholic school for decades is about to undergo a big transformation.

The city is teaming up with the Archdiocese, requesting proposals to transform Transfiguration Academy into mixed income and affordable housing of 15 to 20 units - with an emphasis on preservation like the tin ceilings, windows, floors. And it's not just this building that would be getting a makeover.

"The idea is not only with the redevelopment happening inside this building but on nearby lots, and with nearby structures that need to be taken down and cleared," says Arthur Jemison, Director of Housing and Revitalization.

Jemison says this is the first project with the Archdiocese but more could be in the works. The city also has vacant public schools it's looking to redevelop, but this project is getting started now. The goal is for the first of many families to be able to move in two years from now.

"That'll be so beautiful, that we'll have more occupied house or rebuilt house or whatever they're going to do. Hopefully they'll rebuild," says Franklin.

In this neighborhood that truly needs it.

Julie Franklin has been living in her east side home on Syracuse, looking at vacant, blighted buildings and homes for the past 21 years.

"Everything was so nice and occupied when I got here in August of '96," she says.

Now it's all gone, but a new plan is in the works for this neighborhood near Hamtramck dubbed 'Banglatown' because of the many immigrants from Bangladesh who call the area home.

"There's an abundance of housing. It's really about what quality housing we're providing for Detroiters," says Jemison.

Transfiguration Academy served as a Catholic School for 80 years before it became vacant. 

 

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