“There was definitely a demand for the Bailey Community Center, especially for the child care,” said Stephanie Adams, housing coordinator at the partnership. “We specialize in low- to moderate-income families in East Lansing and Lansing.”
The partnership is a non-profit affordable housing provider that started out in East Lansing Housing and N’hood Services. The organization sought out to find reliable housing, as did the PK Development Group.
“I think it was a joint decision,” said Richard Knapp, general contractor for the PK Development Group. “Capital Area Housing Partnership was looking for an older type of housing in this area, and they also wanted to save the school,” he said.
Liberty Hyde Bailey School was built in 1922. The City of East Lansing took over in 1985 and used the building for coordinating school activities and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Since then, the property has been used for child care, classes, and city meetings.
“The new part will actually match the old, so it will all look like the old 1922 building. It will be real interesting,” said Knapp. “So they kind of got together and came up with this, it is kind of a neat idea, actually.”
Decisions are still being made on what will be on the first floor of the addition.
“It’s basically two floors of apartments for residents, 55 years old and older,” said Knapp. “The bottom will become a daycare and other, it’s not set in stone yet what everything else is.”
According to the city’s website, the project is costing an estimated $8.6 million. Finances will come through housing tax credit equity, historic preservation tax credit equity, developer equity, soft loans, and conventional first mortgage debt.
With construction taking over the neighborhood, local resident and MSU law student Abigail Strub has noticed the changes.
“I mean, I understand that construction projects take a long time,” said Strub. “I’m glad that they’re working hard on keeping it contained.”
“They held off on the detour on the road for as long as they could, I think,” said Strub. “It’s really frustrating to go around it every day and then the traffic buildup . . . It makes it really difficult to cross the street over there.”
Despite the addition, the park will be left untouched for neighborhood residents.
“The park is all staying just like it is, they’re doing a minimal amount of taking trees out and so it will be really nice.” Knapp said.