Above: Officials cut the ribbon in the drive way of one of the three new homes in Brighton Heights. (Photo by Kelsey Shea).

The Brighton Heights Citizens Federation celebrated the completion of three new houses on McClure Avenue on Friday with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Northside Leadership Conference and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

The three completed houses were phase one of BHCF initiative that hopes to fill the vacant land where the St. John’s Hospital stood with 17-20 new homes.

“Even before my days at City Council, this was a problem and something that needed to be addressed,” said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. “These three houses make a big difference in the neighborhood.”

According to BHCF President Pete Bellisario, the completion of the homes was the result of years of work.

“We’re trying to fix up this part of the neighborhood,” said Bellisario, who thanked the URA and the realtors Mike and Chris Hoss for their work.

Realtors Mike and Chris Hoss said the homes were easy to sell, and anticipate similar success with a potential second phase of the project.

All of the three-bedroom homes at 3301, 3303 and 3307 McClure Ave. sold for $135,000.

Kelly Day, who lives around the corner on Antrim Street, called the homes a big step for Brighton Heights.

“This is exciting because this is brings in homeowners to our little neighborhood,” she said.

Day is working to build a wellness park and playground near the corner of Antrim Street and McClure Avenue.

The BHCF has also worked with the city to tear down eight vacant houses on city property to further improve the aesthetics of the lower part of Brighton Heights

“We could have sold these three houses four times over,” said Bellisario.

And moving forward, that’s just what BHCF would like to do.  The three homes on McClure were not built on the actual site of the hospital, but a block down the street.

The hospital was torn down 13 years ago and the lot remains empty.

The BHCF would like to build about 17 new homes like the three completed one on the hospital site as a phase two for the project.

Both the Mayor’s office and City Council President Darlene Harris expressed their strong support for phase two of the project.

Bellisario said that the BHCF hired a contractor to estimate what needs to be done to ready the hospital land for construction, and Tom Cummings of the URA said they hope to access state funds to make the project happen.

“We’re proud to be a part of this development…and we’re anxious to move up the street,” said Tom Cummings of the URA. “You’ll see us knocking on the state’s door very soon.”