May 9, 2023

Emerald Flats Receives Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation

ICCF Community Homes’ rehabilitation of Eastern Elementary School into Emerald Flats Apartments has received one of the 2023 Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation. ICCF—along with its partners Concept Design Studio Inc., Wolverine Building Group, Designsmiths Inc., and Oasis Community of West Michigan—accepted the award on Thursday, May 4 during National Historic Preservation Month.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from Lt. Governor Gilchrist and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation,” said ICCF CEO Ryan VerWys. “Emerald Flats is a thriving community in the northeast corner of Grand Rapids, and represents our commitment to utilizing and preserving local resources to create affordable places for our neighbors to call home.”

Emerald Flats is now a mixed-use apartment building with 50 income-based housing units and nonprofit office space. The building, originally constructed in 1929, includes 62,500 sq. ft. and is 4 stories at its tallest point. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 and acquired by ICCF the following year. Emerald Flats contains a gymnasium, indoor bike storage, and onsite parking. Several units were designed to accommodate residents with physical disabilities in partnership with Oasis Community of West Michigan. It is located immediately next door to the city-operated Eastern Park.

“Historic resources and archaeological sites tell us about the past and help us define Michigan’s unique identity. Their preservation is vital to Michigan’s present and future as they contribute to vibrant communities and our understanding of the past,” said Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Martha MacFarlane-Faes. “Each year during National Historic Preservation Month, the Governor’s Award program gives us an opportunity to recognize standout historic preservation efforts across the state. Today’s recipients are especially significant because they all demonstrated collaboration, perseverance and long-term commitment to bring their projects to the impactful community landmarks we recognize today. This year’s diverse group of awards brings us places we celebrate in our communities, boosts local economic activity, and helps us learn about our shared past.”

“When Eastern Elementary closed in 2008, the City of Grand Rapids lost a connection point and institution that rooted these blocks of the NE side in community,” said Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids). “Thankfully, ICCF, alongside the City of Grand Rapids, MSHDA and MEDC, have helped bring new life into a gorgeous historic school building, renewing not just the building, but also contributing to the sense of place and community connecting Highland Park Neighborhood. The project has met the urgent need for more income based housing, supported with social services. I am proud to be a member of a community that, once again, has come together to create something that will benefit all of us. I thank ICCF, MSHDA, MEDC, Oasis Community of West Michigan, and all those involved for their dedicated work on this fantastic project over the past eight years.”

ICCF Community Homes

ICCF Community Homes is the oldest non-profit affordable housing provider in the state of Michigan. Active in the Grand Rapids area since 1974, ICCF serves over 2,000 households a year through its programs and services. Program offerings include Family Haven emergency shelter, over 700 units of affordable rental housing, newly constructed homes for purchase, homeownership education and financial counseling.

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