Vacant Holcomb Elementary to become affordable senior co-op living

A blighted Detroit school ready for renovation, but it won't be students walking the halls in the future.

The vacant Holcomb Elementary in the Old Redford neighborhood is turning into a 32-unit senior cooperative housing community via St. Matthew Cooperative. The $6 million project will renovate the school that stood abandoned for nearly 10 years, along with parks, walking paths, and open space for the public.

The City of Detroit selected the development team of Anchor Team and DDC Group for this project and the community helped choose a proposal. Holcomb, located at 18100 Bentler Street, is the first of 77 vacant Detroit Public Schools the city acquired from DPSCD in 2015 to be put back into use. 

The neighborhood surrounding the project is buzzing with the likes of businesses including Sweet Potato Sensations and Motor City Java House, and is within walking distance of the new Meijer grocery store along Grand River.

As for the housing, the 32 units -- 29 one-bedroom units and 3 two-bedroom units -- will be available for residents aged 62 and older making 80 percent of the area median income, which is about $39,760 a year for a single person household according to federal housing rules.

The redevelopment will also include a community kitchen, café lounge, fitness center, outdoor patio, salon, two courtyards and indoor reading alcoves.

"The community engagement process for the Holcomb School Development has not just yielded robust conversation between the city and neighborhood but also contributed to the reinvigoration of inactive community groups and block cubs," said Tommie Obioha, community representative on the proposal selection committee. "It has helped foster a renewed spirit of collaboration in the neighborhood. It means that the community can play an active role in deciding the course of its future."

Developers have to settle on a final design through the community engagement process but expect to break ground as soon as summer 2019, slated to open summer 2020.