Faith-based organization builds vibrant community hub on Detroit’s lower-east side

Faith-based organization builds vibrant community hub on Detroit’s lower-east side

One of the ways Mack Avenue Community Church (MACC) ministers to its community is through its development arm – MACC Development. What began around the dining room tables of church volunteers eventually created an award-winning literacy program, launched a youth sports league, provided a housing rehabilitation and assistance program, and offered free ongoing legal counseling for community residents.

Now, MACC Development is tackling its biggest project yet: transforming a vacant, 12,000-square-foot former warehouse into a bustling community hub that ties together its services under one roof for the first time.

“We don’t want a headquarters just for the sake of one. We desire to see each of our initiatives building off each other, creating synergy that can add great value to our community,” says Ezekiel Harris, MACC Development Executive Director. “Starting out decentralized allowed us to grow in a very grassroots way and build trust in the community. That’s what makes this so special – we’re neighbors, we’re here, we’re invested in the community. Now we need a place that builds a landmark for the neighborhood to come together.”

The new facility – nicknamed The Commons – will house MACC Development’s headquarters as well as a coffee shop, laundromat, public meeting space, and private meeting/working spaces to be rented out to like-minded organizations. There is only one other coffee shop within a 1-mile radius and one other laundromat within a 3-mile radius of the new facility on Detroit’s lower east side. Revenues generated by the coffee, laundry, and rentals will be invested in MACC Development’s housing, education, and economic development programs.

The Commons has been a labor of love for the organization since it first purchased the building from the City of Detroit for $500 in 2010. Since then, the nonprofit has been piecing together grants and financing to build out their vision for the space. IFF financing was the last piece of the puzzle – $270,000 to complete renovations as well as a $188,000 equipment loan for the commercial washers and dryers. The facility is under construction and expected to open in July 2017.

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