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  #121  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2013, 8:46 PM
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Grand Rapids Public Museum plans $1.2M planetarium upgrade
AP | June 10, 2013

The Grand Rapids Public Museum plans to begin work this fall on a $1.2-million project to upgrade its planetarium.

The museum recently announced that it received an $800,000 grant from The Wege Foundation to help upgrade the technology, seating, design and display in the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium.

Efforts continue to raise the rest of the money for the project.

Work on the planetarium is expected to wrap up in early 2014, and the upgrade will allow for new, high-definition programming to be shown and other programming to be developed.

"These upgrades are vital, and through this gift, we are able to begin the renovation project," said Dale Robertson, the museum's president and CEO. "This new technology opens up doors to new partnerships and possibilities for both the museum and the community."

Since it was built in 1994, the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium at the museum 's Van Andel Museum Center has averaged 60,000 visitors annually.

Many school groups visit the planetarium, which offers programming such as sky shows, laser light shows and concerts.

The Wege Foundation is led by philanthropist Peter Wege, former CEO of Steelcase Inc.
http://www.grbj.com/articles/77061-g...tarium-upgrade
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  #122  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2013, 7:25 AM
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The Van Andel Museum is a really nice public museum. They took us in high school to see the touring Dead Sea Scrolls, but the highlight ended up being usl being goofy with the kids on the indoor carousel overlooking the river. lol
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Last edited by LMich; Jun 24, 2013 at 7:13 AM.
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  #123  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2013, 5:56 PM
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I think that's what most of us who visit the museum have done!

News regarding the north part of downtown/west-edge of Medical Mile:

Quote:
MSU develops construction strategies for Grand Rapids research facilityMike Nichols | June 21, 2013

Michigan State University is about to make major progress in developing the space it owns in Grand Rapids and the university’s research capabilities.

MSU’s Board of Trustees today approved a project called “Grand Rapids — Long Term Real Estate and Research Facilities,” according to a memo from Marsha Rappley, M.D., dean of MSU’s College of Human Medicine, that was obtained by the Business Journal.

“The planning will include evaluation of the land and development of strategies for construction of a research facility for Michigan State University, including parking and funding,” according to the memo. “This positions Michigan State for long-term, continued growth of our research portfolio, including collaborations with our partners, and strengthens Big Ten research in West Michigan.”

The memo went on to say that this is a first step in planning for the use of Michigan State University's real estate holdings in Grand Rapids, including property purchased by the university in January 2012, including the former Grand Rapids Press building and parking lots.

Updated 1:15 p.m., June 21

On Jan. 27, 2012, MSU paid $12 million for 7.85 acres of downtown Grand Rapids property, a move connected with the continued expansion of MSU’s College of Human Medicine. This purchase included the former Grand Rapids Press building, a 173,800-square-foot structure located at 155 Michigan St. NW, and its parking lot at 432 Monroe Ave. NW, as well parking lots at 533 Monroe, 544 Monroe, 601 Monroe and 601 Ionia Ave. NW. MSU was able to make the deal at $500,000 below the appraised value of the property, according to MSU’s communications department.
...
http://www.grbj.com/articles/77148-m...earch-facility

It'll be interesting to see what becomes of the area. I'm not expecting a full satellite campus like UoM Dearborn or Flint, but it'll be nice for MSU to have a larger presence here.

Last edited by JonathanGRR; Jun 24, 2013 at 3:07 AM.
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  #124  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 7:17 AM
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I don't know. That seems to be their intention. It makes us here in Lansing nervous. I'd say the Secchia Center all by itself is a satellite campus. If it's not larger than the Clincal Center on campus in East Lansing, it sure looks it. They try and allay the fears of the region by saying that we're keeping the osteopathic college, and the vet college will always be here, but the human medicine looks like it'll eventually end up in Grand Rapids, while keeping the a few administrative heads in East Lansing.

Though, the university announced just the other day of a Bio-Engineering Building at its East Lansing Clincal Center. I never quite got given that Sparrow Hospital in Lansing is one of their partners why they haven't developed their East Lansing clinical center around the hospital, instead of out on the far fields of South Campus.

Anyway, kind of getting off the subject. lol Good for Grand Rapids, nonetheless.
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  #125  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 4:05 PM
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Well, I wish the best for MSU in the Lansing area as well! It's nice to have a presence from various colleges downtown, but larger campus complexes would be nice. GVSU's downtown campus is a start, but it'd be awesome to see that expanded. Currently, Grand Valley State, Ferris State, Michigan State, Western Michigan, Davenport, and Cooley Law (is UofM anywhere?) all have some sort of presence in downtown Grand Rapids along with GRCC. It would be nice to see a more cohesive plan instead of mix-matched buildings serving college purposes all around town.

Anyway, in other development news:

Quote:
Amtrak station pulling into Grand Rapids
Charlsie Dewey | June 20, 2013

Following a two-year delay since ground was officially broken for a new Amtrak station in downtown Grand Rapids, the project is once again underway.

This week bulldozers and earthmovers began demolition at 250 Grandville Ave. SW and Bill Kirk, public outreach coordinator for The Rapid, said the goal is to begin pouring foundation for the station later this week.

He noted that the station and platform structures are scheduled to be completed by late October or early November and that track and signal work will likely be completed by spring 2014. He said the station should be operational and under Amtrak and MDOT control by late summer of that year. The Amtrak facility is located next to The Rapid’s Central Station.

The project cost is estimated at $5.1 million and will follow the designs introduced back in 2011.

CSX Rail will be doing the track and signal work and Grand Rapids-based Erhardt Construction is the contractor for the project.

“It is a collaborative project between The Rapid, MDOT, the Federal Railway Administration, the Downtown Development Authority and the city of Grand Rapids,” Kirk said. “It’s a good example of a lot of different parties working together.”

The station will be relocated from its current site at 431 Wealthy St. SW.
...
http://www.grbj.com/articles/77135-a...o-grand-rapids

Hopefully this will lead more people to use the station in Grand Rapids. When I travelled on Amtrak, we drove down to Kalamazoo instead of going out of Grand Rapids simply because it was nicer. I also have friends who would rather drive to Holland and take the train then originate in Grand Rapids.

Last edited by JonathanGRR; Jun 25, 2013 at 3:14 PM.
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  #126  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 4:17 PM
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I really wish I could still be in the area when this development takes shape...it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.


Quote:
Arena Place details plans for $28M development
Elijah Brumback | June 23, 2013

The preponderance of subsidized low-income residential developments in downtown Grand Rapids has left many to believe the city has a dearth of available market-rate apartments.

Enter Arena Place Development LLC.

The company’s $28 million mixed-use project is the first new construction on its way to approval after the adoption of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority’s Arena South Visioning Plan. The project calls for a mix of market-rate apartments, ground-floor retail and offices in the area just southwest of Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids.

The 200,000-square-foot project is planned for what’s known as Area 1, a $2.25 million DDA-owned parcel along Ottawa Avenue between Oakes and Weston streets. Construction is expected to start in December and finish in April 2015, said John Wheeler, principal of Arena Place Development and vice president of business development for Orion Construction.

“We’re focusing on a first-class urban core development. We wanted to do something new, and we need a new project here in the downtown,” Wheeler said. “This is going to be a great mixed-use project in perfect alignment with the (Arena South Visioning Study).”

Wheeler said he already has a signed commitment from one “major” tenant for two-thirds of the 45,000-square-foot office space, but said he was unable to release the name of the local company just yet.

For the other third of the office space at Arena Place, Grand Rapids-based restaurant operator Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. is evaluating the opportunity to combine an office and restaurant facility, according to a statement from Robert Shermer, CEO and president of Meritage. The decision is still subject to the company receiving financing and final approval from its board.

Orion and Meritage have worked together in the past, most recently on a $24.0 million development in Port Huron that includes a Hilton Hotel, Freighters Restaurant, a convention center and the Michigan Culinary Institute.

Arena Place Development’s plans for a DDA-owned parcel just southwest of Van Andel Arena include 84 one- or two-bedroom apartments over street-level retail space, as shown in these early renderings, which are not finalized. The market-rate space will be competitive with other apartments in downtown Grand Rapids, developer John Wheeler said.

If the decision to move to Arena Place is approved, Wheeler expects Meritage to launch another restaurant similar to its Twisted Rooster and Crooked Goose concepts on the street-level space below the offices.

Arena Place Development and Orion are working with Grand Rapids-based architecture firm Concept Design on the project.

“We’ve been doing a lot of study on successful urban projects around the country, and we’re trying to take the best of the best that works here,” Wheeler said.

While the project is still progressing through design development and space planning, current plans include 82 below-ground parking spaces and 42 surface spaces to support 8,000 square feet of retail space beneath 84 apartments.

The residential spaces will range in size from 600-square-foot studios and 780-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bath apartments to 940-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath apartments — some of which will likely be sold as condos on the building’s upper floors, Wheeler said.

All apartments will have market-rate rents and will be competitive with 38 Commerce and The Gallery on Fulton, which go for roughly $2 per square foot, Wheeler said.

Every unit is expected to have nine-foot ceilings, high-end finishes and a balcony. A 1500-square-foot gym for residents is also included in the plans. Other amenities include a full-time doorman, resident lounge and a holding kitchen for grocery deliveries.

Current plans also feature a curved, high-tech glass curtain that encases the office space at the south end of the project.

Wheeler said he hopes to start soon in marketing the retail spaces. He’d like to attract a dry cleaner, deli and coffee shop, among other service providers.

In total, 150 new jobs are expected to be created once the Arena Place project is finished and running.

Wheeler and his team will head back to the DDA for a final development agreement meeting sometime this summer, said Kris Larson, executive director for the DDA.
...
http://mibiz.com/news/design-build/i...?acm=22368_979
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  #127  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2013, 7:10 AM
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Arena Place looks very nice!

On Amtrak, I'm so happy to see them finally getting things together and the local communities finally demanding more. It's literally taken decades to correct, but it seems we've come upon the time where Amtrak can take off. When the service was formed, there should have been a matching program to build legitimate stations where needed, so it was kind of self-sabotaged from the beginning; instead, they got just enough money to buy sometimes literal shacks along the line. I hate that we lost so much time, but I guess better late than never.
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  #128  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2013, 7:42 PM
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The rendering looks awful, in my opinion. However, the project itself seems pretty good...Here's too hoping that the actual façade will look much better!


Quote:
Developer unveils 14-story apartment tower for downtown Grand Rapids
Jim Harger | July 10, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Housing developer Karl Chew unveiled plans for a 14-story 108-unit apartment tower at 20 E. Fulton Street in downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday, July 10.

It’s the largest project yet for Brookstone Capital, Chew’s Midland-based company that has seven housing projects either completed or underway in the city’s downtown, Heartside Neighborhood and Southeast Side.

Chew said his $35 million to $40 million project will include 54 market rate units and 54 affordable housing units that will be eligible for low income housing credits from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The ground floor will include 10,000 square feet of retail space in which Chew said he hopes to attract a national retailer. The development also will include a 4-story parking ramp with 180 parking spaces, he said.

Chew said he was attracted to the site because of its proximity to a stop for the new Bus Rapid Transit line scheduled to open in August of 2014.

“It’s really a fantastic site and we’re very pleased with the opportunity to place a development on that site,” said Chew. He said he hopes to begin construction next year with completion in the first quarter of 2015.
...
http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m..._river_default
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  #129  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2013, 7:14 AM
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Yeah, the design is pretty bad, but the height in that area of downtown is pretty impressive, so at least it shows a market for high-rise living in that area. I also like how it's half market rate and half affordable units.
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  #130  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2013, 12:49 AM
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Lots of news coming out of Grand Rapids in the past few days:

Arena Place
Quote:

Major tenants named for $28 million office and residential project going up next to Van Andel Arena
Jim Harger | July 23, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI –Hanon McKendry, an advertising and public relations firm and Mindscape, a related web marketing firm, will be a major tenant in Arena Place, a $28 million office and apartment building being built west of the Van Andel Arena, its developers announced Tuesday, July 23.

The five-story building also is likely to house a restaurant and corporate headquarters for Meritage Hospitality Group, a Grand Rapids Township company that operates 113 restaurants in six states, according to Orion Construction, the building’s developer.

The 5,800-square foot restaurant will face the corner of Weston Street and Ottawa Avenue SW. Meritage, which operates the Twisted Rooster and Crooked Goose restaurants locally, said it plans a unique casual dining restaurant featuring “fresh seasonal American fare.”

In addition to offices for Hanon McKendry and Meritage, the office building also will include top-floor conference rooms that will be shared by tenants and available for entertainment and social functions in the evening.

At the south end of the building, the ground floor space will be available for retail while the top four levels will include 75 residential units – 63 of which will rent at market rates with 12 condominiums on the top floor.

The apartments will be split into studio, one bedroom and two-bedroom units that are likely to rent for about $2 per square foot, said John Wheeler, Orion’s director of business development. The condominiums are likely to sell in the mid-$300,000 range, he said.

The LEED-certified project will include a 75-space underground parking ramp beneath the five floors above ground. The project also will include 35 surface-level parking spaces along the west side of the building.

The land was optioned to Orion in May by the Downtown Development Authority, which operates a 110-space parking lot on the site. Orion agreed to buy the property for $2.5 million.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for December with completion scheduled for the spring of 2015, according to Orion officials. Wheeler said the private financing is in place for the project. They are still pursuing Brownfield tax credits that are available for the project.
...
http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...l#incart_river

The renderings don't make quite the same impact as the previous ones had, but the building still looks good, IMO.

Quote:

Developer wants to revive 123-year-old furniture factory for housing near Downtown Market
Jim Harger | July 23, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The former Klingman’s warehouse and furniture factory across Ionia Avenue SW from the city’s new Downtown Market may see new life as an 83-unit apartment building.

City commissioners on Tuesday gave their blessing to a developer who plans to break the 123-year-old building into two condominium units in an effort to quality for state-issued low income housing tax credits.

The city’s commitment to accept 4 percent of the project’s rent in lieu of property taxes gives developer Michael Jacobson the entry point he needs to seek the state tax credits for the $32 million project.

By creating two units and two partnerships, Jacobson’s LC Consultants LLC hopes to finance the project by obtaining $13.5 million in low income tax credits for each of the units plus state historic preservation tax credits of nearly $2.5 million for each of the units.

If he gets his financing, Jacobson will create 83 rent-restricted apartments with exposed ceilings, walk-in closets, individual air conditioning systems, dishwashers, appliances and washers and dryers in each unit.

Plans call for 78 parking spaces for residents and a community room with seating for 50 residents and guests. The project also will include 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

The Klingman’s Warehouse building had been owned by Dwelling Place, a non-profit housing developer that was given the building in 2008 after the furniture company closed its local operations.

Dwelling Place officials last year said they had no plans to redevelop the building themselves and put it on the market for $1.5 million last year.

Jacobson recently completed the Baker Lofts “affordable” housing project at 40 Logan Street SW, one block south of the Klingman’s building.
...
http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...l#incart_river

It would be create to see this property reactivated, but the area around downtown is starting to accumulate quite a substantial amount of low-income housing. Being next to the new Downtown Market, it would be nice to see these lofts be market-rate. I've also heard that the foundation has sunk some, so it will be interesting to see how that changes the plans.

Quote:

City green lights Rockford Construction’s housing project
David Czurak | July 19, 2013

Rockford Construction Co. has received approval from the city to go ahead with a new residential development on the west side of Grand Rapids, not far from downtown.

City and planning commissioners recently approved a zoning change for a $2.4 million project the building and development firm wants to construct on the southwest corner of Douglas Street and Seward Avenue NW.

The property, which is only a block south of the Bridge Street commercial district, has been vacant for about five years.

Prior to the zoning change, the city’s Brownfield Development Authority and City Commission agreed to designate the site a brownfield as a Part 201 facility, meaning its soil is contaminated. Rockford plans to spend $600,000 to remediate the property before construction begins.

The development calls for four residential buildings with a total of 18 market-rate rental units: 10 one-bedroom flats, six two-bedroom townhouses and two one-bedroom studios.

One building will offer four two-story townhouses. Another will have four one-bedroom apartments on each level of the two-story structure. A third building has three stories; there will be two one-bedroom units on the ground floor, and one townhouse each on the second and third levels. The ground floor of the fourth building will contain service areas, a community room and a covered patio that faces a common greenspace. Two studio apartments are planned for the second floor.

Jim Reminga of Rockford Construction told planners each unit will be built with similar amenities and finishes, and that the only real difference between the units is size. He said the greenspace the firm has set aside amounts to roughly 15 percent of the total site, which measures about four-tenths of an acre.

The development also will offer nine parking spaces and will add new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and landscaping to the property. Integrated Architecture designed the project.

Kurt Hassberger, president of Rockford Development Group, told planners the firm has acquired a number of properties in the area and is making an effort to transform the sector in ways that will benefit everyone. The construction company’s headquarters is going up at First Street and Seward Avenue NW, just a few blocks north of the residential development.
...
http://www.grbj.com/articles/77371-c...ousing-project
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  #131  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2013, 1:02 AM
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Horseshoe Bar sold: Long vacant Grand Rapids blues club and bordello ready for second act
Garret Ellison | July 21, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — If the brick walls of 333 Grandville Ave. SW could talk, Lord only knows what kind of stories they would tell.

They might tell of being constructed by enterprising Dutch businessman L.V.D. Stolpe, who erected the storied property in 1891 as a hotel and grocery store catering to railroad travelers passing through Grand Rapids.

Maybe they’d share stories about nightly crowds gathered outside in the 1950s and '60s to hear Little Wolf and the Gullyjumpers moan the blues on stage at the first floor Horseshoe Bar.

They might even tell of risqué business on the third floor, where children were forbidden to roam lest they interrupt the world’s oldest profession.

Whatever their tale, the walls of 333 Grandville would no doubt be happy for company again after many lonely years of sitting vacant. That wish may soon be granted after the 122-year-old building was sold this month.

On July 10, developer Patricia Warner bought the former LaMar Hotel and Horseshoe Bar property on Grandville from The Grand Rapids Ballet Company, which had owned the building since 2005 but was unable to find a practical use for a structure that’s been stricken with chronic vacancy for more than 30 years.

“It just grabbed me,” said Warner, a relative newcomer to the local commercial real estate market. “It was very spur of the moment.”

Warner, who owns rental properties in the East Hills and Heritage Hill neighborhoods, purchased the three story, 8,000-square-foot landmark building — known to most for its distinctive second- and third-floor turrets — from the ballet for an undisclosed sum.

She hopes to reverse a trend of vacancy and false starts for the building, which has only seen occupants for a handful of years in the decades since the Horseshoe Bar closed.

“There’s such a magical charm to these historic areas that just not attainable with new development,” she said. “That’s a big part of the appeal of Grand Rapids.”
...
Warner, a Grand Rapids native, said she’d like to have the building ready for tenants before the snow flies — although that timetable is dependent on contractor scheduling.

333 Grandville is located within the boundaries of the Downtown Development Authority but does not occupy an established historic district, which allows for greater freedom in renovation plans, but less opportunity to take advantage of financial development incentives.

Given the building’s musical history, Warner said she “loves” the idea of turning it back into a multi-level jazz club and restaurant or some kind, but concrete plans are as yet undetermined. Other options include first-floor retail and/or restaurant tenants underneath second- and third-story offices.

“I’m just going to put it out there, advertise a little and leave it up to the lessees,” she said. “It would be really cool if someone took the whole building.”

In the past year, Warner, has purchased and remodeled the landmark Boulevard House at 949 Cherry St. SE in the bustling East Hills business district, as well as the 12-unit Croyden Apartment building at 345 Logan St. SE.

Daughter of an original Prince Corp. investor, Warner said she’s recently become enamored with commercial real estate development in Grand Rapids and is considering more additions to her portfolio of properties.

“I am still in the market,” she said, depending on the locale and the uniqueness of the property. “I love fixing up these old buildings. It's such a cool part of Grand Rapids.”
http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...l#incart_river

Quote:
United States Postal Service buys property along South Division Avenue for $1.02 million
Jim Harger | July 22, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The United States Postal Service will use a recently purchased building at 630 S. Division Avenue as a “carrier unit” for sorting local mail deliveries, a postal service spokeswoman said Monday, July 22.

The Postal Service closed on the purchase of the 3-acre parcel and building from Mercantile Bank Mortgage Co. last month, according to city records. Mercantile, which foreclosed on the property in 2012, sold the property for $1.02 million.

Sabrina Todd, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service, said the building will not be put into use for several months while it is remodeled for the post office. The facility will give local carriers more space to sort their mail, she said.

The acquisition does not affect the Postal Service’s downtown regional facility, located along the Grand River north of the DeVos Place Convention Center, Todd said.

The downtown post office, built along the Grand River in the mid-1960s, is seen by many as a key to redeveloping the vacant Olds Manor/Rowe Hotel property next door at the corner of Michigan Street and Monroe Avenue NW.

The landlocked old hotel, which last served as a retirement home, has no onsite parking.The property is owned by RDV Corp., a real estate company owned by the family of Amway Corp. co-founder Rich DeVos.

In 2003, the downtown post office was listed for $30 million just as the convention center was opening. That listing expired as the postal service began a restructuring of its Michigan operations.
http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...l#incart_river

Unofficially, there is much speculation that this facility could facilitate USPS moving out of its current facilities in order to open up some prime riverfront property.
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  #132  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2014, 7:43 PM
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I haven't been keeping up on Grand Rapids, but things there seem to be on the up and up.

Quote:
Downtown Development Authority finalizes deal with $45 million Arena Place project
January 08, 2014. Jim Harger.










GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) approved a revised development plan on Wednesday, Jan. 8, with the developers of Arena Place, a $45 million project that will put new offices, housing and retail development across the street from Van Andel Arena.

The 11-story Arena Place will be built on a parking lot at 158 Weston St. SW. The DDA is selling the 110-space lot to Arena Place Development LLC for $2.25 million.

The development plan approved Wednesday was updated to reflect the project‘s expansion to include the addition of the downtown law firm of Miller Johnson as a tenant.

Aside from allowing the project to capture up to $1.8 million over the next 15 years for accessibility enhancements, the DDA also agreed to reimburse the developer up to $185,000 to relocate utilities on the property.

Arena Place will become the new home for Miller Johnson and DoMoreGood, formerly Hanon McKendry and Meritage Hospitality Group, which owns restaurants and hotel properties in Michigan.

The project also will include 101 market-rate apartments and 250 parking spaces. The project also will include 17,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, which will include a Meritage-operated restaurant with outdoor seating.

The project, which is expected to break ground this spring, will be mostly completed by summer 2015, according to the developers. Miller Johnson is expected to complete its move into the building by spring 2016.
http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...hority_24.html
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  #133  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2014, 9:54 PM
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Sorry, I've been doing a pretty poor job at keeping things updated here...and there's so much going on! If I get time later tonight or in the week, I'll try to post a larger update.
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  #134  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2014, 10:04 PM
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Yea I only coincidentally came across this story because I was googling for Detroit's new arena district. Pretty nice seeing the other side of the state doing way awesome.
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2014, 11:29 PM
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Medical Mile/Monroe North/Belknap Lookout

Quote:
MSU plans 'model biosciences corridor' in Grand Rapids
Pete Daly | Sep. 5, 2013

More than 30 faculty and students from Michigan State University were in Grand Rapids on Thursday as part of the first phase in planning a new biomedical research facility downtown.

Urban planning

Faculty and students from MSU’s Land Policy Institute and School of Planning, Design and Construction will conduct research on several parcels of downtown real estate during the next several weeks.

The parcels previously housed the Grand Rapids Press headquarters.

MSU bought the 7.85 acres of property for $12 million in early 2012.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon was also in Grand Rapids today to officially launch the first phase of the planning.

MSU hopes to build the biomedical research facility by 2017.

In June, the MSU Board of Trustees authorized the administration to move forward with planning for development of the parcels, which include one parking lot next to the former Press building and four others on the north side of I-196, with two of them adjacent sites on the Grand River.
...
http://www.grbj.com/articles/77739-m...n-grand-rapids

Quote:
GVSU board approves $18.9 million land purchase to expand medical programs
Brain McVicar | Nov. 1, 2013

DETROIT, MI - Grand Valley State University’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved spending up to $18.9 million on the purchase of 11 acres on Grand Rapids’ Northeast Side, property the university will use to expand its growing health studies program.

The board’s approval clears the way for the purchase of more than 80 properties, largely residential rental homes, on the north side of I-196, adjacent to the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences and the Medical Mile corridor. The 11 acres are bound by Hastings and Trowbridge streets and Clancy and College avenues.
...
Administrators say construction on any structure is at least five years away. The university is funding the land deal through its Campus Development Fund. Tuition won't rise as a result of the purchase, officials say.
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapi...89_millio.html

Quote:
Developer plans $16.2M lofts in Grand Rapids
David Czurak | Nov. 7, 2013

An urban developer is planning a $16.2 million mixed-use development with apartments and ground floor commercial space in Grand Rapids.

Now that the firm is solidly entrenched on the second floor of 16 Monroe Center, also known as 616 Lofts at Kendall, and has begun its conversion of a former church in the Heritage Hill neighborhood into 616 Lofts on Prospect, Grand Rapids-based 616 Development is undertaking a new project.

The development company and community builder is heading to the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority this morning to request a brownfield and an obsolete-property designation for a building at 740 Michigan St. NE and the adjacent parking lot just east of it. The property is on Michigan Street between College and Diamond avenues.

616 Development plans to invest about $16.2 million into the site for a mixed-use development the firm is calling Lofts on Michigan.

The project involves razing the existing two-story building and putting up a new four-story structure that will have about 54 market-rate apartments on the upper three levels and 9,700 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

Lofts on Michigan will also have 95 parking spaces, with 68 of those to be built below ground.
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http://www.grbj.com/articles/78254-d...n-grand-rapids

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$21 million makeover will put loft apartments into former Sackner Products factory
Jim Harger | Jan. 10, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, MI –The former Sackner Products Co. building is headed for redevelopment in a $21.8 million project that will include up to 86 loft-style apartments in addition to new retail and commercial office space.

The four-story building, originally built in 1920 and added onto through the 1950s, was acquired in October by Lofts on 820 LLC, a partnership associated with 616 Development.

616 Development has been one of downtown’s most aggressive housing developers, putting loft-style apartments into several downtown locations, including the Kendall Building, the former Bethlehem Lutheran Church and above local taverns such as the Grand Rapids Brewing Co.

“The general idea is to create as many market-rate apartments as we can in the building,” said Monica Clark, director of development for 616 Development.

“It’s a beautiful old building and it’s not at its best use right now,” Clark said. They hope to begin the reconstruction work by summer, said Clark, who presented their plans to city officials this week with an eye towards tax break requests.

Lofts on 820 LLC also has purchased a neighboring parking lot at 804 Bond Avenue NW but has not included the property in its current plans.

Rehabbing the building will include taking out some of the late add-ons, replacing the windows and installing new elevators, electrical, heating and cooling systems, Clark said.

Clark said their development team has been working closely with the Monroe North Business Association to develop plans for refurbishing the 156,600 square-foot building, which has served as the home for art galleries and small business startups since Sackner vacated the premises in the 1980s.
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http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m..._river_default

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Artesian Group finally sets the stage for new brownstones in Belknap Lookout
Jim Harger | Jan. 24, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – After more than 10 years of buying and fixing up old rental houses, calming neighborhood fears and a swoon in the housing market, the Artesian Group is within grasp of building new brownstone condominiums in the Belknap Lookout neighborhood.

Workers were removing asbestos and stucco from two old houses along Fairview Avenue NE this week, preparing them for their Feb. 3 date with a wrecking ball. The demolition will be followed by the start of construction on two brownstone condominium buildings.

Angel Gonzalez, founder of the Artesian Group, said Griffin Properties has pre-sold three condominiums for one of the brownstones and has a tentative reservation for one unit in the second three-unit building.

“We’d like to be completed by early June,” said Gonzalez on Thursday, Jan. 23. “”My goal is to make it into the Spring Parade of Homes.”

The brownstones will be the first in a series of condominiums Gonzalez and his partners hope to build in Belknap Lookout, which overlooks the downtown area and is next to the Medical Mile on the city’s near Northeast Side.
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http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m..._river_default
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  #136  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2014, 12:04 AM
JonathanGRR JonathanGRR is offline
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Downtown

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Thousands pack Indoor Market Hall for taste of grand opening
Angie Jackson | Sep. 2, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- It was nearly impossible not to bump elbows with one of the thousands of people who packed the indoor downtown market Monday during the hall's grand opening.

As many as 30,000 people were estimated to visit the Indoor Market Hall, 435 Ionia Ave. SW, on Monday, Sept. 2. By five minutes to 9 a.m., eager shoppers had lined up shoulder-to-shoulder along the market's outdoor area. It took them about 15 minutes to file in, said Downtown Market Executive Director Mimi Fritz.
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http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m.../post_121.html

Quote:

Downtown Development Authority approves contracts for park makeover, snowmelt repairs
Jim Harger | Sep. 11, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) approved a $468,000 contract to complete a $1 million makeover of Monument Park and signed off on a $148,700 contract for repairs to downtown’s sidewalk snowmelt system on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

The contract for improvements to Monument Park is the second agreement to give the park a total reconstruction. In July, the DDA approved a $547,600 contract to remove the trees, replace underground utilities and move the Civil War Monument to the center of the triangle-shaped park.

The contract approved Wednesday with Katerberg-Verhage Inc. calls for the installation of a reinforced sidewalk, brick pavers, curbs, masonry columns, granite cladding, landscaping, bicycle racks, a drinking fountain and benches.

Work on the makeover of Monument Park is expected to be completed by Dec. 15, according to Assistant City Engineer Rick DeVries.

Around the corner on East Fulton Street at Sheldon Boulevard, the DDA also is preparing to reconstruct Veteran’s Memorial Park. That project is expected to get underway in 2014 and 2015.

The DDA also approved a $148,700 contract with Van Dyken Mechanical to repair the downtown’s 15-year-old sidewalk snowmelt system. The repairs include replacement of valves and a vault which houses the valves for the system.
http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...hority_21.html

Quote:

One of downtown's oldest buildings is getting a $2.5 million makeover
Jim Harger | Nov. 14, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – One of downtown’s oldest buildings is getting a $2.5 million makeover.

The 144-year-old Karl-Aldrich Building is undergoing a reconstruction project that will renovate its second and third floors and add a partially enclosed deck to its rooftop, according to plans submitted to the city.

Home to the Madcap Coffee shop on the ground floor, the building at 98 Monroe Center NW is owned by VW Ventures, which is owned by family members of Amway Corp. co-founder Richard DeVos.

“The project includes significant work to ensure the long term structural integrity of this historic building,” said Ginny Seyferth, a spokeswoman for the building’s owners.

The building permit issued in September lists the value of the renovation project at $2.5 million. The project will be completed by spring, Seyferth said.

“It is a more complex project than it might appear to be from the ground. It involves lots of new steel structure work that you can’t see but will create an updated, stable facility,” Seyferth said. “Also, the roof is currently sloped towards the rear of the building and will need to be flattened as part of this project."

“When completed, the first floor will continue as retail, second will continue as office and third floor will remain as an apartment space with continued access to the roof that has a much more functional and secured area up there."

The wedge-shaped brick building at the corner of Monroe Center and Ottawa Avenue NW is one of the oldest Italianate-style structures in the city. It was built by druggists Edward Wilson and John Harvey. For many years, the storefront was home to a Fanny Farmer Candies shop.
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http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...st_buildi.html

Quote:
$4 million makeover brings new life to 133-year-old Kendall Building in downtown Grand Rapids [red building in first photo]
Jim Harger | Dec. 5, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – From his fifth-floor loft apartment in the 616 Lofts at Kendall, Tyler Nickerson said he experiences the vibrancy of downtown life like few others can.

“I think it’s probably the only corner in West Michigan that is constantly busy,” said Nickerson of his view overlooking the intersection of Fulton Street and Division Avenue. “Every time we look out the window, there’s someone moving about.”

Nickerson, who moved into the building on Oct. 1, lives in one of 12 apartments created in the top three stories of the five-story Kendall Building, a 133-year-old structure that was brought back to life by 616 Development.

The developers plan to officially open the building on Thursday, Dec. 5 at an invitation-only reception to celebrate the revival of the space that had been vacant for much of the past 35 years.

Constructed in the early 1880s, the building was named for George Kendall, a Grand Rapids businessman who came to the area in 1846 and started in the grocery and dry goods trade.

The red brick and sandstone building facing Monument Park at 16 Monroe Center NE was renovated for $4 million. The project included the installation of a new elevator shaft, new windows and new flooring, electrical and plumbing throughout the building.

The two storefronts will become Osteria Rossa, a casual Italian restaurant and bar that is scheduled to open in mid-January. The restaurant will feature large windows that fold back to create an open-air seating that flows into Monument Park, which also is undergoing a full-scale makeover.

The second floor of the building has been converted into the 616 Development’s corporate offices. The company manages some 150 apartments in downtown Grand Rapids and surrounding neighborhoods.
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http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...rings_new.html

Quote:

grnow flickr album
Morton House project is underway
David Czurak | Dec. 6, 2013

Remediation work has begun on the final piece to complete the revival of Monroe Center.

Rockford Construction has started engineering the pre-construction phase for the ultimate renovation of the Morton House, a vacant, 13-story, 170,000-square-foot structure at the northwest corner of Monroe Center and Ionia Avenue.
“The building has some asbestos and lead in it, and we are currently working on abating those two items and then we’re going to move into demolition. Basically, all of the floors from three to 13 will be cleaned out so we can start fresh on our 123 residential units,” said Ken Bailey, senior vice president of planning for Rockford Construction.
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“We’re gutting the floors and basically taking the building down to its structure and replacing all the windows, the roof, and doing some exterior masonry restoration. Then we’ll start with kind of a fresh skeleton for the multifamily build-out,” said Bailey.

Bailey said each floor will have 11 units. Two two-bedroom apartments, one studio and eight one-bedrooms are planned for each level.

“We’re using the existing vertical circulation, the existing stairwell there, and we are replacing the three elevators. We have two passenger elevators and one freight elevator.”

The cost of the project is expected to be about $21 million.
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http://www.grbj.com/articles/78479-m...ct-is-underway

Quote:

Historic designation for old furniture factory clears the way for $32 million redevelopment as loft apartments
Jim Harger | Jan. 4, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A 117-year-old furniture factory being considered for loft-style apartments across the street from the new Downtown Market has been added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Parks Service.

Used most recently as a warehouse for Klingman’s Furniture Co., the 4-story building was added to the register on Dec. 24 at the request of developer Mike Jacobson, who hopes to convert the building at 400 Ionia Street SW into an 83-unit apartment building.

The designation means his $32 million project will qualify for federal historic tax credits if his redevelopment plans are approved, said Jacobson, a principal with LC Companies, which has offices in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

Obtaining and selling the federal tax credits are part of the financing plan for the project, said Jacobson, who also obtained a tax exemption and approval for payments in lieu of property taxes from the city of Grand Rapids in July.

Jacobson said the building actually encompasses six buildings that were built adjacent to each other during the city’s furniture boom in the early 20th Century.
...
Jacobson’s plans call for the building to be redeveloped into 83 apartments for low income residents. Each unit would feature 10-foot exposed ceilings, walk-in closets, individual air conditioning systems, dishwashers, appliances and in-unit washers and dryers.

Rents for one-bedroom units would range from $447 to $671 a month while two bedroom units would rent for $537 to $805 per month, depending on the residents’ income.

Plans also call for 78 parking spaces for residents and a community room with seating for 50 residents and guests. The project also will include 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

Jacobson recently completed the Baker Lofts “affordable” housing project at 40 Logan St. SW, one block south of the Klingman’s building.
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http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...for_old_f.html

Quote:

Owners of old downtown hotel create suspense for Blue35 as unveiling date nears
Jim Harger | Jan. 8, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The owners of an old boarding house and hotel at 35 Oakes St. SW are trying to build some suspense as the eight-story building enters its next life.

Rockford Construction of Grand Rapids and Haworth Inc., the Holland-based office furniture company, have dubbed the building Blue35 and have created a Facebook Page for it.

The website, Blue35GR.com, promises the building will be “a game-changer” with “state-of-the-art technology” that leads to “meaningful connections” and “achieving business goals.”

More information and a public announcement is promised on Feb. 5.

Chris Knape, a senior account executive with SeyferthPR, said the new use for the old building “incorporates some incredible new ideas and technology.”

“It’s definitely a tease,” said Knape about the Facebook page and website. “We’re hoping to generate a conversation about a building that has generated a lot of conversation over the years.”

With more than 50,000 square feet of interior space and a rooftop deck, the building is jointly owned by Rockford Construction and RDV Corp., a real estate firm owned by the family of Amway Corp. co-founder Richard DeVos.

A $7 million reconstruction is nearly complete on the building, which has been vacant since 2002, when it was called the Heartside Manor and used as low-income apartments. The building also has operated as the New Mertens Hotel.

When the renovations began, the owners said they hoped to attract the same types of tenants who were drawn to Grid70, a building they own around the corner at 70 Ionia Ave. SW.
...
http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...lyout_business



There's still more, but this is all I have time to post for now...enjoy.
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  #137  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2014, 12:52 AM
The Lurker The Lurker is offline
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Thank you for all the Grand Rapids updates Jonathan. It's a different place every time I visit.
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  #138  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2014, 1:12 AM
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animatedmartian animatedmartian is offline
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Man, you weren't kidding when you said a lot was going on. I definitely need to stop by Grand Rapids sometime! I really like those brownstones. Thanks for the updates.
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  #139  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2014, 11:05 PM
JonathanGRR JonathanGRR is offline
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Just announced today:

Quote:


New downtown Grand Rapids hotel to break ground this year: CWD unveils plans with major architect
Jim Harger | February 3, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – CWD Real Estate Investment — one of downtown’s largest property owners – announced plans Monday, Feb. 3, to build a five-story hotel on a parking lot it owns at the corner of Monroe Avenue and Louis Street NW.

The yet-to-be-branded hotel will be designed by Kulapat Yantrasast, the same architect who designed the award-winning Grand Rapids Art Museum located across the street from the building site.

The modern glass building will be connected to the “50 Monroe” office building also owned by CWD. It will include ground-floor retail and restaurant space and may include condominiums on the upper floors, said Sam Cummings, CWD’s co-managing partner.

Cummings said the new hotel will have between 100 and 150 rooms and fill the price gap that exists between downtown’s higher- and lower-priced hotels.

The hotel is likely to include extended-stay rooms, in which guests stay five nights or more in a room that includes a kitchen area. The project will not include onsite parking, relying instead on existing parking facilities in the downtown neighborhood, Cummings said.

“This site, which is literally in the center of our city, has been a parking lot for at least 30 years,” said Cummings.

“We are thrilled with the prospect of adding an iconic structure to this important location and we hope to submit plans to the city of Grand Rapids Planning Department by late spring for construction to begin later this year.”

CWD is in discussions with Amway Hotel Corp. about managing the hotel. Amway Hotel Corp. currently operates three downtown hotels — Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott. A hotel brand will be announced at a later date.

For its architect, CWD chose Yantrasast, who is better known as the architect of the Grand Rapids Art Museum — the first new art museum in the world to receive a LEED Gold certification for environmental design.

“Because it’s in the center of the city, it demands an iconic building,” said Cummings, adding that they are confident the downtown market can bear another hotel property.

“Place-making is more than just the current buzz word; it’s a real movement with real momentum here,” said CWD co-managing partner Scott Wierda. “This mixed-use development will further solidify that the core of our city is the place to work, live and be entertained.”
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The group also said they plan to re-skin the 50 Monroe building, possibly restoring the facades of the three 100-year-old buildings beneath its current facade. Although the rendering for the new hotel shows a different façade on the 50 Monroe building, Cumming would not say if that reflects plans for restoration.
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http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...tment_unv.html

WAY cool! Based on the wording of the article, this rendering is likely just for show and does not indicate a final design or possibly even an approach to a final design.
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  #140  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2014, 11:13 PM
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Arquitect Arquitect is offline
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Originally Posted by jonathan.jam View Post
Just announced today:


http://www.mlive.com/business/west-m...tment_unv.html

WAY cool! Based on the wording of the article, this rendering is likely just for show and does not indicate a final design or possibly even an approach to a final design.
Schematic Renderings do tend to be different from the finished design, since they tend to be done really early and are used to sell the overall feel that the architects try to achieve. Regardless of that, this is an awesome project for GR!!!
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