Lofty Solutions for Affordable Housing

Windemuller provided design-build services for a brand-new affordable housing development in downtown Cadillac. The project included electrical work, fire alarms, communications, card access, and a security system.


Cadillac Lofts is a new four-story mixed-use development in downtown Cadillac, Michigan. The project, spearheaded by Lansing-based nonprofit Michigan Community Capital, is intended to bring affordable workforce housing to the Cadillac community. The building includes 15,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, with the upper three stories consisting of 42 residential units. 85 percent of those apartments will have rental rates set at 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), which makes them more affordable than much of the housing in the area. A second phase of the Cadillac Lofts project is set to bring an additional 42 affordably priced apartments to the city in the near future.

Windemuller was proud to play a role in this important project, providing a design-build electrical system, fire alarm system, communication system, and card access/security system. Our crew helped the client develop the scope of the work for the project and carried out all design work on the electrical side—factors that helped the client save money, versus hiring a third party. Collaborating with our industry partner DK Design helped us to come up with a viable, constructable design and to navigate budget issues as they arose. Since budgets tend to be tight for affordable or workforce housing project, those savings proved important for the big picture of the project as a whole. By playing a design-build role, Windemuller was also able to help the project move along more quickly and seamlessly than it would have with a change in hands from designer to contractor.

The Challenge

Being a part of the project from the design stage all the way through to completion allowed our team to plan for and address most major hurdles before they materialized. The exception—and the primary challenge on the project—were the logistics of the site itself. A quarter of the project’s site for was still occupied until late in the game by a local grocery store, which will ultimately relocate to make way for the second phase of the Cadillac Lofts. This business was still present and operational during our work on the first phase. Windemuller and all project partners needed to take care not to let the project’s footprint disrupt the day-to-day business operations of this establishment. The other challenge proved to be the same obstacle that every other crew in the industry is facing: COVID-19. The pandemic hit when we were mid-way through this job and not only delayed construction, but forced us to revamp our protocols in order to keep everyone safe from potential viral exposure.

The Solution

Working closely with other trades and communicating throughout every step of the project allowed us to stage the floors of the project optimally, thereby reducing the impact of our work on nearby businesses. As for COVID-19, this project offered a strong learning experience for everyone involved on how to work together in spite of the pandemic. Every person from every crew or every trade was extremely respectful to one another and collaborated efficiently to get the job done despite the need for social distancing. Ultimately, we were able to stay on schedule throughout the duration of the project, and to leave the worksite with an extremely happy client.

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