The Freelon at Sugar Hill Captures Prestigious Novogradac QLICI Award

Cinnaire’s NMTC Investment Honored as Real Estate QLICI of the Year

Fifteen community development entities (CDEs) that made qualified low-income community investments (QLICIs) into five businesses are the winners of the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits QLICIs of the Year Awards. The awards honor CDEs who strive for excellence in community development. Cinnaire received the Real Estate QLICI of the Year Award for its investment in The Freelon at Sugar Hill, an equitable mixed-use housing and social entrepreneurship incubator in the heart of Midtown Detroit.

“The Freelon at Sugar Hill provides high-quality, modern housing options for Detroiters and supports small businesses, job creation, and contributes to Midtown’s vibrant culture,” said Peter Giles, Cinnaire Senior Vice President, Business Development. “The NMTC provided the financing needed to get this project to the finish line. The Freelon at Sugar Hill demonstrates how the NMTC program brings inclusive and equitable projects to revitalize neighborhoods to become thriving, cultural destinations. We are proud to join our CDE partners including PNC Community Partners, Building America CDE and Michigan Community Capital to receive this prestigious award.”

The Freelon at Sugar Hill, a new mixed-use development located in Midtown Detroit’s Sugar Hill Arts District, includes the revitalization of a vacant lot to create 68 apartments, 11,900 square-feet of retail space, and a 160-unit space parking garage. Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and Develop Detroit joined forces to develop the equitable mixed-use housing and social entrepreneurship incubator in the heart of Detroit’s Midtown. Cinnaire provided $5 million in NMTC allocation in partnership with PNC Bank, Building America CDE, and Michigan Community Capital.

Located across the street from the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, 14 of the 20 affordable housing units were created for veterans served by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HUD-VASH program through the Dingell VA Center. All veterans’ apartments are fully furnished and decorated by the Interior Designers Coalition for Change, a volunteer organization that completed the work using best practices in trauma-informed design. None of the veterans will pay more than 30% of their adjusted income. Six additional affordable apartments serve residents earning up to 80 percent AMI. All residents enjoy access to a community room, lounge, outdoor green space, workout room stocked with exercise equipment, and attached parking.

Located within walking distance to Detroit’s museums, music venues, restaurants, and education and employment opportunities, The Freelon at Sugar Hill provides commercial space supporting local enterprises that are either woman or immigrant led. Current businesses located in The Freelon at Sugar Hill include Cure Nail House, a philanthropic beauty salon providing luxury nail service that works to empower its community through workforce development and training, and Haraz Coffee Housing, a coffee house owned by first-generation immigrants who work to honor their heritage by roasting and serving coffee that is inclusive of all people and cultures and brings people together. Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese, a sustainable fashion business focused on incorporating positive, social and ecological practices into their business, will launch their flagship store at The Freelon in Spring of 2023. The space will also serve to expand Hope for Flowers Art Enrichment Program, a free program designed to engage children and adults in fresh approaches to creating art while keeping sustainability at the forefront of the curriculum.

The Freelon at Sugar Hill is named in honor of Phil Freelon, one of the most celebrated Black architects in U.S. history. He was best known for leading the design team for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and Atlanta’s National Center for Civic and Human Rights. The building was one of Freelon’s last developments that he worked on prior to his death in 2019.

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