Michigan Community Capital (MCC) is a non-profit organization based in Lansing, Michigan. It is a 501(c)3 public charity, a Community Development Entity, and a U.S. Treasury-licensed Community Development Finance Institution. MCC partners with the public and private sectors to complete projects the private sector may not pursue. The Temple Lofts project is one such example. Previous attempts to reclaim this historic property had failed, and the building was holding back the neighborhood.
MCC re-imagined the building’s potential and transformed it into a modern, energy-efficient, mixed-use building while preserving much of its unique, historic character. This major renovation brings affordable housing options to the heart of Old Town Lansing, an urban neighborhood with a creative small-town feel. It revitalizes the community with residential and commercial spaces, featuring 31 apartments, 3,000 square feet of office space, a 960-square-foot commercial suite, and permitted on-site parking. MCC purchased the property in February 2019 with plans to fill the large building interior with four floors of apartments above commercial space.
MODERN LIVING IN A HISTORIC LANDMARK
The Temple Lofts building is a stunning example of how developers and designers can integrate modern living spaces into historic landmarks and invigorate communities. The team behind this project successfully preserved the building’s masonry shell, gutted the entirety of its interior and roof, and refilled the void with beautiful and practical living and working spaces. Along the way, they restored dozens of historic stained-glass units, salvaged and reused thousands of irreplaceable bricks on the reconfigured façade, and saved portions of the heavy timber roof trusses to be used as decorative elements in other projects.
The architectural interventions to the building’s exterior are tasteful and respectful, complementing the building’s original design and providing needed daylight for the new residences and businesses. It is a visually appealing space that draws people into the heart of Old Town Lansing. The Temple’s location is critical for neighborhood and urban connectivity, and the inclusion and celebration of historical elements within the building add to its beauty and charm. From the arched openings to the stained-glass windows, every detail offers connections to the past and delight for those who experience it.
Top Left: exterior view of stained glass windows that were original to the 1904 Church. Bottom Left: Interior view of stained glass windows that predated the current structure. Right: Restored stained glass windows reused in current building.
Preserving the building's legacy, the team kept the old arch structures and added new ones.
The 1917 brick had a distinct texture and patina that modern brickmakers could not replicate. To restore the facade, the team had to fill in large areas between upper-floor windows where the old cornice was removed by carefully and strategically removing bricks from other areas for reinstallation.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN OLD TOWN
MCC developed Temple Lofts, in part, to provide workforce housing in the Old Town neighborhood. Targeting the housing needs of Lansing’s residents, the building offers sixteen units that are specifically priced affordable to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), and the remaining 15 units are priced at the local market rate. Unit floorplans include 22 one-bedroom, one-bathroom lofts; five (5) two-bedroom, two-bathroom lofts; four (4) studio lofts. The residential units achieved 100% occupancy within six months of opening. MCC also made a long-term commitment to the building and community by locating its own headquarters within the ground floor office space.
The contemporary apartment units feature stainless steel appliances, tile backsplashes, soft-close cabinets, luxury wood-like flooring, and in-unit Energy Star-rated washer and dryer sets. Many units are flooded with natural light from the huge half-circle windows inherited from church times. Restored stained glass windows repurposed into art have pride of place on every floor throughout the building. Temple Lofts creates new momentum for an underutilized building and its neighborhood by demonstrating a sincere appreciation for the past and optimism for the future.