In the News

Lento Authors Two-Part Report on Transformation of Iconic Detroit Building

Provides “Behind the Scenes” Look at How Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits Helped Secure $36 Million in First-Round Financing

September 14, 2012

Rochelle Lento, a senior counsel in Dykema’s Real Estate Practice Group in Detroit who specializes in affordable housing development, authored a two-part report, “NSO Bell Building—Finally A Reality,” that appears in the August and September 2012 issues of the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits. This monthly publication provides news, analysis and commentary for professionals in the affordable housing, renewable energy and historic rehabilitation tax credit industries.

The two-part report, “NSO Bell Building—Finally A Reality,” provides an inside look at the transformation of one of downtown Detroit’s most iconic buildings—the 235,000 square foot edifice formerly known as the Michigan Bell Yellow Pages Building—into mixed-use space that will provide 155 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals and office and administrative support service space for 200 NSO workers.

In part one, Lento documents how the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), a community nonprofit enterprise that has provided human services to Detroit’s homeless population for more than 50 years, applied for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) and historic tax credits (HTC), partnered with another nonprofit organization (FOCUS: Hope) and worked with City of Detroit, State of Michigan and Wayne County officials to line up more than $36 million in first-round financing.

In part two, Lento discusses efforts to secure roughly $104 million in second-round financing (a deal expected to close shortly), outlines the extraordinary environmental issues encountered by developers—and the remediation efforts they required—and provides an update as to how this massive redevelopment project will benefit Detroit’s nearly 20,000 homeless individuals. Lento notes that the transformation of the NSO Bell building serves an exemplary case history of how new uses of historic buildings can help solve the most challenging social issues in distressed metropolitan areas.

Click here to read part one of the report. Click here to read part two of the report.