Sylvia Gets a Makeover

“Affordable housing” is no mere buzzword at Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO)-it’s a vital part of the group’s mission and the neighborhood’s personality.
That is one important reason why DSCDO went after funding to restore the Sylvia building. “Affordable housing is important to us,” says Jennifer Spencer, DSCDO’s Project Manager. “We’re creating an opportunity for people of all means to live here and enjoy what the neighborhood has to offer-the Arts District, Gordon Square, public transportation, Edgewater Park. We really pride ourselves on this kind of project.”sylvia
When the Sylvia’s owner died in 2009, utilities were shut off and most tenants left the 24-suite apartment building. Yet, it was still viewed as a “strategic building,” Spencer says. “It’s in the heart of the Franklin Boulevard Historic District, one of the most walkable parts of our neighborhood.”
The Sylvia was placed into receivership and DSCDO was named receiver by the Cleveland Housing Court, paving the way for the group to rehab the apartment building – the 14th such building owned and rehabbed by DSCDO as an affordable housing project.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank and its Consortium partners, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, arranged for a $2.35 million grant of federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to cover most of the work, including reconfiguring the apartments and reducing the number of units from 24 to 18, making them more spacious. “We’re really grateful to the Land Bank for helping us restore the Sylvia to its former glory,” says Jeffrey Ramsey, DSCDO’s Executive Director. The apartments’ hardwood floors, Tudor arches and built-in cabinetry all will be renewed.
“Not only will this project create more affordable housing for disabled citizens, but the Sylvia Building is another step forward in our three-decades-long effort to improve historic Franklin Boulevard,” Ramsey says. “And it helps to eliminate more blight caused by the foreclosure crisis.”
Ramsey expects the Sylvia’s rehab to be completed in the spring and apartments to be ready for leasing this summer.

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