Renovated Bell Building Welcomes First Wave of Residents

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor Detroit’s Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), a private non-profit human service agency looking to provide shelter to homeless people, announced that the first group of residents has moved into the former Michigan Bell Telephone Co. building as a complex revitalization process is nearing completion at the site. Back in April, NSO [...]

Detroit’s Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), a private non-profit human service agency looking to provide shelter to homeless people, announced that the first group of residents has moved into the former Michigan Bell Telephone Co. building as a complex revitalization process is nearing completion at the site.

Back in April, NSO broke ground on a $50 million renovation project at the historic structure at 882 Oakman Boulevard through a combination of private donations, equity financing, tax credits, loans and federal grants. Now known as the NSO Bell Building according to MLive.com, the 255,000-square-foot property includes 155 one-bedroom apartments for homeless adults and offices for NSO staff members who are expected to move in by mid-2013. Unlike other housing facilities for less fortunate residents, the NSO Bell Building offers treatment for drug addiction, mental-health counseling and case management services, a library, arts and computer rooms, a gym and fitness center, a chapel, a laundry facility and recreational space.

As previously reported, each unit is equipped with a refrigerator, stove, garbage disposal, dishwasher, internet connection and central air conditioning, and 90 apartments are fully furnished. All residents must qualify for the Housing and Urban Development voucher; if eligible, they will pay one third of their income for an apartment in the building (or around $650 per month).

The Bell Building was built in 1929 by Western Electric; since then it has been used for a variety of businesses including a warehouse, office, garage and even a publishing house. In 2009 the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Asking rents for Class B/C properties in Detroit have recorded a 2.3% rise in Q3, reaching $722 per month. According to Marcus & Millichap, it is estimated that in the following months effective rents will climb 2.9% to $778 per month, while average concessions will be reduced by two days of free rent.

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NSO Bell Building images courtesy of www.nso-mi.org

Chart credits to Marcus & Millichap