“Since getting an apartment with LINC, the money I have been able to save from having affordable rent has allowed me to do more activities with my five-year-old grandson. I love my apartment and the fact that everything is new.”  - Southtown-Square Resident (2015)

Place is powerful.

From the neighborhoods where families set their roots to the storefronts where they create their economic independence, places provide tangible evidence of prosperity. Thriving, revitalized places are the cornerstones of a community's pride. LINC UP reveals this pride by focusing on recovering places that people care about and re-imagining the potential of places to serve the community.

  • In 2014, the completion of Southtown Square II brought 44 units of affordable rental housing to the Madison Square neighborhood including a 4-story 24 unit building, 20 townhouses and 6000 sq. feet of commercial space
  • Made improvements to over 700 homes to be sold and rented throughout Kent County 
  • Added and developed 32000 sq. feet of commercial space for sale and lease as part of our efforts to revitalize the economic base of communities

LINC UP's Real Estate Development efforts include:

Community driven design processes that lift the community voice into guiding the future development of their neighborhood. Past and future projects include Madison SquareEastern AveSouthtown Square and Kentwood.

Homes for Sale 

LINC renovates homes for sale throughout Kent County.

Homes for Rent

LINC offers quality housing of choice throughout Kent County.

Commercial Space 

For sale and lease as part of our efforts to revitalize the economic base of communities.

*City, State and Federal partnerships fund rehabilitation and lead remediation efforts.

Madison Square

"It feels different. Nice. When you walk along the street you feel free."  - A community member commenting on the changes along Madison Avenue

In 2011, our work in the Madison Square corridor hit new strides and continued to catalyze the planning and investment efforts that began in 2005 with the community design process "Shape the Square." The quarter-mile stretch between Hall and Garden reflects $10 million in improvements, from building renovations and new business opportunities to streetscapes and housing.

Key improvements in Madison Square include:

LINC UP Development Center

  • $1.7 million renovation of an abandoned building
  • Launch of the LINC Opportunity Center
  • Launch of Urban LINC cowork space
  • Opening of LINC UP Soul Food Cafe
  • Home to LINC's offices

IMPACT: A LEED-certified hub for LINC and a resource for the community. Over 50 people work here, including 15 cowork members, LINC UP Cafe staff, and LINC's 35-person team.

Business Incubator

  • $80,000 renovation of the former C&J Plaza
  • Eight new businesses opened by community members

IMPACT: Revitalization of a highly visible corner of the neighborhood, access to new shopping and services for neighbors, and eight business owners discovering their potential.

Quality Housing

  • 10 senior living residences built
  • More than 12 townhomes created for individuals and families

IMPACT: Housing that is affordable and high quality, providing more community members with a safe place to call home.

Street improvements

  • New streetlights
  • More benches, tree-lined streets

IMPACT: A more inviting space for neighbors to live, work, and play

Related documents: Madison Square Park Final Plans

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Eastern Avenue

The stretch of Eastern Ave SE between Franklin Ave SE and Wealthy Street forms the border between Baxter and Madison Area Neighborhoods. Both of these neighborhoods suffer from historic marginalization and show significantly higher averages of unemployment, lower educational achievement, and poverty levels, when compared to the City of Grand Rapids as a whole.

With funding from Dyer-Ives, LINC is leading a community-driven area planning and opportunity mapping project for the neighborhoods surrounding Eastern/Franklin and Eastern/Wealthy. This project will assess the resources currently present and gaps in opportunity in each of these areas, while providing a plan to guide future physical and social development.

In true LINC fashion, all of this work will be completed through robust partnerships with other non-profits, churches and stakeholders and the project will be guided by the 'voice of the community' as residents work together to identify their hopes for the future of their neighborhood.

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Southtown Square

Construction on our most recent affordable housing development Southtown Square II is complete. The $10.5 million development consists of a 24 unit mid-rise at 413 Hall and twenty (20) townhouse units on five scattered sites on Umatilla and Gilbert Streets.  This newest development in the Southtown neighborhood offers comfortable and modern - and affordable - units.  The Southtown project was a joint venture between LINC UP, City of Grand Rapids Community Development Department, and Michigan State Housing Development Authority Program. Two previous phases of sixteen (16) townhouses total bring the overall Southtown Square total unit count to 60 new units in the Madison Square neighborhood since 2012.

Southtown Square is located in the heart of the Madison Square neighborhood and is pursuing LEED certification. LEED is a designation of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. An important first step in the process is the choice to build green and promote a more sustainable lifestyle for the occupants of a building. LINC and their partners made this choice for this building, the residents, and the community. 

The USGBC created the LEED rating systems to support the choice to build green and to provide third party certification for the green building initiatives professionals incorporate in the design and construction of buildings. Southtown Square is registered under Green Building Design and Construction, specifically LEED for New Construction and Major Renovation. We anticipate a Silver level certification. 

This designation identifies buildings that have taken a leadership role in implementing green building strategies. Green building strategies help protect the health of our natural ecosystems and preserve natural resources. Building green also means that the health of people is protected within the ecosystem and within the building. Indoor Air quality is protected during and after construction, so people can breathe easily. An energy saving heating and cooling system means less is spent on utility bills. And the location of the building with access to public transportation and a variety of services improves the quality of life for all who call this green building home. 

So, how does Southtown Square align with the LEED rating system? First, it is important to know that the LEED rating systems are organized into categories and each category includes credits that are worth a varying amount of points. The point total determines the level of the certification. Below are the categories with the credits and a description of each credit that has been achieved by your new home. 

Sustainable Sites (SS): Where the building is located matters 

SSc1 Site Selection: The project meets requirements for responsible land use. 

SSc2 Development Density and Community Connectivity: Living in an urban environment offers many benefits and opportunities. You can bike to a café for lunch, stroll through the local shops, or meet a friend for a show downtown. Many of these activities are just a few steps or a short bus or bicycle ride away. 

 SSc4.1 Alternative Transportation-Public Transportation Access: Two bus routes are available within one-quarter-mile walking distance from the project. 

 SSc4.4 Alternative Transportation-Parking: The parking added for this project does not exceed zoning minimums, a reserved low emitting car parking space in a preferred location has been provided and ride share opportunities can be found on the bulletin board in the lobby. Additionally, a reserved low-emitting and carpool/vanpool parking space in a preferred location in the commercial parking lot has been provided for use by the patrons of the businesses located on the first floor. The Carpool Parking space is a preferred space that is reserved for vehicles with two or more occupants. 

 SSc7.1 Heat Island Effect, Non-Roof :The paving in the parking areas and walkways is constructed of concrete. This decision was made, not only to provide a visually pleasing environment and durability, but also to reduce heat island effect. 

SSc7.2 Heat Island Effect, Roof: The roofing material used on the project is white, which further reduces the heat island effect. Heat island effect is the absorption of heat by dark, non-reflective pavement and building components. The heat radiates into the surroundings and artificially raises the temperature by 2 - 10 degrees F compared to undeveloped areas. The light colored concrete and white roof reduces this effect. 

Water Efficiency (WE): Water efficient fixtures save our water resource That's important because all the water we have, is all the water we're ever going to have. 

WEc1 Water Efficient Landscaping: The landscape has been designed to eliminate the need for an irrigation system, which saves 100% of the water used to irrigate a typical landscape design. 

WEc3 Water Use Reduction: Most of the toilets in the building use only 1.28 gallons of water per flush and the lavatory faucets use 0.5 gallons of water per minute. Low flow kitchen sink faucets and shower heads have also been installed. Together the plumbing fixtures save 46.2% of the potable water used compared to typical plumbing fixtures. 

Energy and Atmosphere (EA): Saving energy on heating and cooling EAp1 Fundamental Commissioning A third party quality control check has been performed to assure that heating, cooling, and electrical equipment is installed properly and functions correctly. 

EAc1 Optimize Energy Performance: Overall energy savings for the building due to design and construction equals 58.9% compared to a standard building of this type. That saves about 22.22% of the typical cost of heating and cooling, saves non-renewable resources, and lessens air pollution. 

Materials and Resources (MR): Saving virgin raw materials MRp1 Storage and Collection of Recyclables A commingled waste collection is available and storage of recyclables can be accommodated in the apartment units and in a storage room on the first floor. 

MRc2 Construction Waste Management: 79.15% of the construction waste was recycled instead of being sent to a landfill. Making products from recyclable waste saves on the use of virgin raw materials and reduces the environmental impacts associated with resource extraction, processing, and transportation. The diversion of waste from landfills avoids the need for expansion or new landfill sites. 

MRc4 Recycled Content and MRc5 Regional Materials: Materials used on the project contain 21.85% recycled content. Additionally, 23.76% of the materials used were manufactured and the raw materials extracted within 500 miles of the project site. Both of these strategies help reduce the many impacts that material use has on the environment. As mentioned in Construction Waste Management, recycled content saves on the use of virgin raw materials. Using regionally sourced materials supports local economies and reduces energy impacts associated with transportation to the project site. 

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ): Providing clean air (it's all about people) 

IEQp2 Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control: The LEED rating systems include prerequisites along with credits. This is a prerequisite; you can tell by the "p" in the name. Prerequisites are required for all LEED projects. To protect the quality of the indoor air, smoking is not allowed in your apartment or in any other area of the building. You may think that air quality does not have a significant impact on your health. The average adult breathes around 30,000 times per day. Each time, your body absorbs elements and filters out particles from the air you take in. Fumes, cigarette smoke, and dust all enter our body each time we breathe. You can breathe easy in your smoke-free environment. 

IEQc3.1 Construction IAQ Management Plan: An Indoor Air Quality management plan was developed and implemented to protect the air quality during construction. The strategies included keeping air handling units turned off, protecting the duct work from contamination, controlling the source of potential contaminants, blocking pathways that could allow for cross contamination, cleaning the site throughout construction, and the delivery and sequencing of material installation was done so as to protect any contamination. 

IEQc4.1, 4.2, 4.3, & 4.4 Low-Emitting Materials: Adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, and flooring systems This collection of credits means that adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, and flooring systems used in the building will not off gas chemicals into the air that you breathe. This protects the health of all the people who constructed the building and will continue to protect the health of all the occupants of the building. 

Innovation in Design (ID): Beyond the standard requirements 

IDc1.1 Reduce Mercury in Lamps: The light bulbs installed in the project have a low mercury content, which helps protect our environment from mercury contamination should any mercury containing bulbs be disposed of improperly. 

IDc1.2 Exemplary Performance for SSc7.1 Heat Island, Non-Roof: Because the project used low reflective material for 100% of the hardscape (parking and walking paths), an extra credit like point is earned that is called exemplary performance. This type of credit acknowledges strategies that go above and beyond the standard requirement for LEED. 

IDc1.3 Green Building Education: The creation and use of a resident manual along with this web page with project information allow for the earning of this credit. 

IDc2 LEED® Accredited Professional: At least one professional knowledgeable about LEED with a LEED AP accreditation worked on this project to guide the process and to earn this credit.

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LINC UP began redevelopment efforts throughout the City of Kentwood in 2009.  Quality housing of choice plays a key role in the sustainability and strength of families and neighborhoods. As the housing market took a downward turn with the foreclosure crisis, LINC UP partnered with local, state and federal to restore the quality and accessibility of housing throughout Kent County with the Neighborhood Stabilization Program

In November 2010, LINC UP led a charrette process in Kentwood for the 52nd corridor between Eastern and Kalamazoo Ave. Over 100 community residents participated and the Area Specific Plan was successfully incorporated into the City of Kentwood's master plan. The early traces of redevelopment are currently taking place.

LINC UP redeveloped 8 units on the corner of 52nd & Kalamazoo Ave and before the paint dried there was a waiting list of residents eager to move in. The 8 units are completely occupied and the revitalization continues.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has just funded the redevelopment of three additional units within Kentwood.

Related Documents: LINC UP Kentwood Design Summary

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1167 Madison Ave SE Grand Rapids, MI 49507
p: 616.451.9140 f: 616.451.0615 e: info@lincrev.org

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