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Old motel in Kalamazoo being converted into affordable housing

By Anthony SanFilippo
May 2021

The old Knights Inn Motel on Westnedge Ave. in Kalamazoo has been shuttered for some time now. But even with its doors closed it has still been doing and will continue to do what it was built to do – provide shelter.

After spending much of the winter months housing approximately two dozen homeless individuals, the LIFT Foundation took its recently purchased property and has begun taking the steps necessary to convert the motel into affordable housing.

“There is a housing crisis in this country which did not just happen yesterday,” LIFT Foundation Vice President Dave Anderson told Kalamazoo’s Fox 17. “Kalamazoo is not immune from that.”

The plan to convert the motel has been on LIFT’s radar for the better part of two years, and now they are excited to talk about that plan finally coming to fruition.

“It was the idea of ‘what about buying an existing motel?’ And ultimately here is the plan: totally renovating it and turning it into 60 studio apartments, in other words, permanent housing,” said Anderson.

According to LIFT, the new residences will be known as Lodge House and renovations will include new landscaping, repaving the parking areas, replacement of windows, doors, balcony rails, interior finishes, mechanical units, plumbing fixtures, electrical systems, the addition of kitchens in each unit, and a fire sprinkler system.

The renovation project is not cheap, which is why the LIFT Foundation has procured funding through two loans from the city of Kalamazoo as well as large community donations that total approximately $750,000.

Overall, the project costs about $4 million from the purchase of the property through the remodeling. And the plan is to make these high-end quality studio apartments at affordable prices.

LIFT is still accepting donations to the project through their donation portal.

With work having begun in April 2021, the LIFT Foundation is hoping the project will be completed by December.

Since 1966, the LIFT Foundation has quietly and steadily helped people with very low incomes and disabilities access affordable housing in the Kalamazoo area. LIFT is a nonprofit dedicated to building, preserving, operating, and maintaining properties, yet housing alone is not the goal.

LIFT operates and maintains more than 500 apartment homes and properties for individuals and families in the Kalamazoo community.

LIFT said it is finalizing the process on how people in need of affordable housing can apply for one of the 60 residences at Lodge House and will release more information in the coming weeks.


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