New & Noteworthy

How InnovaHomes Support Low-Income Housing

InnovaHomes are a modular home construction innovation that InnovaLaB has debuted in Kent County that can bring in new construction for far less than the traditional new construction housing prices – $159,000 – $230,000. These prices can help with the “missing middle” housing shortage.  Missing middle, what is that? There is a lot of terminology that is tossed about when talking about housing; “housing affordability,” “low-income housing,” “affordable housing,” “missing middle,” “market rate housing,” the list goes on.  The following are some widely agreed upon definitions for these various labels. Housing Affordability is a calculation used in the industry.  In […]

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Introducing InnovaHomes

“This housing shortage is not only hurting families, but it is crippling the economic development of our community. We need tools that spur new housing development to increase housing stock; we need tools that bring once unproductive land and buildings back to life, we need to ensure current housing is safe and healthy for the families it homes”, said Ken Parrish, InnovaLab Board Chair. “Land Banks need a new approach to how we work. In Kent County, we are using this targeted approach to ensuring developers have the tools they need, while also assisting in the stability of the housing […]

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WZZM – Regional land bank uses modular homes to address housing shortage

By Angela Cunningham, Noah Fromson GRAND RAPIDS, Mich – The Kent County Land Bank is building modular homes in Grand Rapids to curb the local housing shortage. The agency, which changed its name to “InnovaLaB,” announced Monday it will build at least nine prefabricated houses in the city. The homes could sell at prices 30 percent lower than comparable stick-built homes in the market, said David Allen, executive director at InnovaLaB. Read More: https://www.wzzm13.com/article/news/regional-land-bank-uses-modular-homes-to-address-housing-shortage/69-567242528 […]

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Associated Press – Land Bank to Construct 9 Modular Homes in Grand Rapids

Associated Press GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan land bank plans to build at least nine modular homes on vacant properties across Grand Rapids. Kent County Land Bank Director David Allen announced the modular homes last week to address the local affordable housing shortage. He said the agency, which recently changed its name to “InnovaLaB,” could sell the homes at 30 percent lower than comparable stick-built homes in the market. Read More: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/michigan/articles/2018-07-01/land-bank-to-construct-9-modular-homes-in-grand-rapids […]

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Posted in AP

WoodTV – Amid shortage, land bank builds affordable homes

By Evan Dean GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It doesn’t take long for Dave Allen to illustrate the shortage of affordable housing in Grand Rapids. The Kent County land bank executive director searched online for homes listed between $169,000 and $200,000 across Kent County. “There’s 88 homes for sale in the entire county at that price point,” Allen explained to 24 Hour News 8 Monday. “(That’s) shockingly low.” … Read More: https://www.woodtv.com/news/kent-county/amid-shortage-land-bank-builds-affordable-homes/1263363842 […]

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MIBiz – Kent County Land Bank pivots to meet growing demand for modular housing

By Nick Manes GRAND RAPIDS — Advocates looking to alleviate the city’s affordable housing issues increasingly are turning to modular, pre-manufactured housing as one option. To that end, the Kent County Land Bank Authority last month announced its plan to rebrand as Innova-Lab and use its broad set of tools and powers to begin developing modular homes on more than 100 vacant sites it owns around Grand Rapids. For the development of the homes, Innova-Lab has partnered with Champion Homes Inc., a Troy-based modular home manufacturer. “One of the key parts of our strategic plan is what kind of strategic partnerships can we forge where […]

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Grand Rapids Business Journal – County land bank rebrands as InnovaLaB

The Kent County Land Bank Authority recently announced a rebranding effort as a precursor to the organization’s heightened focus on developing more affordable housing, as well as delivering market-rate housing at prices affordable to the “missing middle” buyers. The organization is in the process of changing its name to InnovaLaB to reflect on its new efforts to partner with developers and nonprofits to provide more housing at an affordable rate. “We believe the name reflects what we want to be,” said Ken Parrish, InnovaLaB board chair. “We want to be innovative, and we want to be a laboratory for providing […]

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Kent County Land Bank Authority is now InnovaLaB

InnovaLaB What’s in a name?  Land banks have operated throughout the State of Michigan for 15 years.  If one happens to know about land banks it is usually from the work being done in Flint and Detroit where the local land bank authority owns tens of thousands of blighted problematic properties.  If one has no idea what a land bank is, they often ask “Are you a bank that holds land?” The fact is the legislation that enables land banks to exist states that “The Land Bank Act addresses a need to strengthen and revitalize the economy of this state […]

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