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$8M apartment complex breaks ground in heart of Whitehall

Posted By: mlive on January 7, 2024.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

Construction has begun on an apartment building in the heart of Whitehall designed for those who work in Whitehall but can’t find housing there.

The 32-unit Harwood Flats is being constructed on Lake Street at the end of Colby Street. In addition to market rate apartments, every one of which will have a balcony with a water view, the building has commercial space.

The $7.9 million project is being constructed at the site of the former Pinheads Bowling Alley and adjacent to Goodrich Park on White Lake.

After years of planning, ground was broken in December 2023, Chris Veneklasen, CEO of Veneklasen Construction, told MLive/Muskegon Chronicle.

“We’re excited to be moving forward and excited for what this can do for the community,” Veneklasen said. “It provides a need for people who are working in the community but living outside of it.”

The project received its final needed boost with the Nov. 14, 2023, approval of a Commercial Rehabilitation Act tax abatement by the Michigan Tax Commission.

The abatement freezes the property’s taxable value to the amount established prior to construction. That 10-year abatement is expected to be worth about $733,000, according to a previously released city estimate. Local and state education taxes are not part of the abatement.

The project also received a $1.5 million grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The grant restricts rents for three years.

Anticipated rents will range from $1,325 to $1,375 for one-bedroom units, $1,700 to $1,725 for two-bedroom units and $1,850 to $1,900 for three-bedroom units.

Construction is expected to be completed this fall, Veneklasen said.

Edward Jones financial advisers will take up some of the commercial space, Veneklasen said.

The project will include lower-level covered parking as well as electric vehicle charging ports for residents and the public, he said.

The developer originally hoped to include a restaurant, but attempts to find one to locate there proved unsuccessful, Veneklasen said. The triangle-shaped Brownfield site at 115 Lake Street is next to the White Lake Pathway paved trail and is on a hill overlooking the lake, the park and the city’s marina.

A planned “West Colby Promenade” park connecting the lake to downtown will traverse the front of the property. That park, which will include property on which Big John’s Pizza currently sits, is expected to be developed in 2025.

The building is named after the Harwood family, the original owners of the property who operated a hotel at the site.

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