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Grandville's first microbrewery aims to put city on brewski lovers'map

West Michigan brewski lovers can amble into a new or unique microbrewery almost anywhere in the region -- except in Grandville. But that could be about to change.

Thirty-somethings Ron and Mindy Denning have plans to convert the former Elders Appliance building (4051 Chicago Dr. SW) into Grandville's first microbrewery, Osgood Brewing. The name comes from Hiram Osgood who opened Osgood Tavern, the city's first tavern back in the day.

Osgood Brewing will divide the 7,500-square-foot warehouse into 4,000 square feet of dining and pub space with the remaining 3,500 square feet dedicated to a 10-barrel brewing system.

"This will be Grandville's own, not another chain," Mindy Denning says. "There are a bunch of microbreweries popping up in Grand Rapids, Holland, and a couple in Hudsonville, but nothing in the Jenison or Grandville area. In this whole city that has a lot of tradition and a lot of history, there's nothing like this right smack dab in the area of a lot of young families and young people."

Ron Denning, a teacher at Grandville High School, has brewed beer for the past seven years. As head brewer, he plans to offer six core beers on the menu, four seasonal beers, and other specialty brews. The brewery's Facebook page lists the six mainstays as Sol Seeker, an American Wheat Ale;  358, an American Pale Ale; Journey, an India Pale Ale; Oakestown, an American Amber Ale; Notley, a Robust Porter; and Big Spring Stout, an English Stout. The couples' goal is to offer 12 beers on tap daily.

The food menu will offer diners several specialty pizzas created to pair with the beers.

Mindy Denning, a wedding and children's photographer who owns Mindy Leigh Photography and a stay-at-home mom, is a Grandville native with a passion for the city.

"We started looking at spaces back in the spring," she says. "We only looked in Grandville. We were just married to the concept of being in Grandville since day one."

A summer 2013 opening is planned.

Source: Mindy Denning, Osgood Brewing
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Grand Central Lofts opens new doors for people seeking downtown Grand Rapids living spaces

A once vacant and decaying brick warehouse just east of downtown Grand Rapids' popular entertainment district has a new life as a vibrant apartment community. The former Grand Central Engineering Co. (100 Commerce Ave. SW) is now 31 modern, daylight-filled apartments known as Grand Central Lofts.

Developer Doug Gulker of Gulker Group and Fusion Properties says his experience leasing the three- and four-bedroom units at Hopson Flats just across town convinced him that many renters looking to live downtown wanted smaller one- and two-bedroom units. That prompted him to buy the Grand Central building a few years back -- he then had to stall development until the economy recovered enough for banks to take a risk on the project.

His $3 million investment seems to have paid off, since he says 22 of the apartments were preleased. Folks were moving in as we toured the building this week.

"This building sat vacant for 15 years," Gulker says. "This and Rockford Construction's (GRid70) project across the street finishes off the redevelopment of this part of the Commerce Avenue corridor."

The building offers open living areas with bamboo floors, three-piece bathrooms, views of the city from the upper levels, and a modern laundry room and bike storage areas in the lower level. Gulker says two ground-floor apartments are fully accessible and A.D.A. compliant.

"Everybody here likes this location because they don't have to have a vehicle downtown," says Property Manager Alisa Burgess.

Some 1,500-square-feet of commercial space opens to the corner of Commerce Avenue SW and Oakes St. SW and has two levels with a walkout. Gulker says the space could be an ideal location for a coffee shop to serve the hundreds of students, teachers, and workers who frequent Cooley Law School, The Pyramid Scheme, and the Heart of West Michigan United Way, all within steps of the front door.

Developer: Fusion Properties
Construction manager: Gulker Group
Architectural design: Hooker DeJong

Source: Doug Gulker, Fusion Properties and Gulker Group; Alisa Burgess, Fusion Properties
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Not your average cupcake shop, Stiletto Sweets brings sweet sophistication to downtown Grand Rapids

It's not your girly-girly purple-and-pink-swirls cupcake shop, but a sophisticated space decorated in black and white where unusual cupcakes reign supreme.

Stiletto Sweets, a pop-up shop dedicated to selling only delicious cupcakes in tantalizing taste combinations, opened last week at 20 N. Monroe Center, right across from Monument Park. Owner Noddea Skidmore started by creating her cupcakes and party cakes sensations as special orders for events. But after winning $5,000 in a recent Start Garden competition, she decided to try the tiny 650-square-foot location in the heart of downtown as a part-time, pop-up shop venture.

Skidmore doesn't shy away from long hours -- she works full-time as an events producer for ArtPrize and bakes her cupcakes at night using the licensed kitchen at Saburba restaurant in Ada. And she draws on her experience as a former bridal stylist and as a former freelance calligrapher to inspire the artistry behind her special-order cupcakes and cakes.

"Stiletto Sweets is very specifically a cupcakery," Skidmore says. "Each day we're open, we present five different cupcakes. We combined the notion of a cake shop and an art gallery. People say they're too pretty to eat. They're like art, and we have them displayed like art."

Skidmore says two of the shop's 20 cupcake flavors vie for most popular: PMS (yes, that's what it means), made with chocolate cake, caramel drizzle, vanilla buttercream, chocolate chips and sea salt; and Red Velvet Redhead made with red velvet cake, chocolate ganache, and cream cheese buttercream.

Some of the other cleverly named creations are Sexpot, Warm Fuzzy, Chai Baby, Jack and Coke, and Boys' Night. Click here to see the entire menu with descriptions.

Hours: Thurs., Fri., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 5 p.m. until the cupcakes are gone. Sat. from 11 a.m. until the cupcakes are gone.

Source: Noddea Skidmore, Stiletto Sweets
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Photography: Bryan Frank

$120M energy storage research grant could help W Michigan advanced battery manufacturers, colleges

Zeeland-based Lakeshore Advantage, an economic development corporation, has been named an affiliate partner in a $120 million federal Energy Department grant to fund research and development of new technologies in energy storage. The grant will create the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, located at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, IL.

Dubbed Michigan's SmartCoast, the Holland area has seen an investment of $1 billion by companies such as Johnson Controls, LG Chem, and Toda America to develop advanced energy storage solutions. Lakeshore Advantage President Randy Thelen says West Michigan is recognized as having one of the highest concentrations of advanced energy storage manufacturers in the world. As market demand and applications continue to grow (think cell phones, power tools, electric automobiles, and military uses), the demand for new technologies grows.

"Soon we'll see a great deal of military applications and alternative energy applications -- battery packs to store wind energy and distribute it later. We're at the very early stage of a very big industry," Thelen says. "Research conducted as the result of this grant is going to get to the core of costs, power density, and weight. People are using more and more energy and being more and more mobile, and we need a way to store the energy so people can have the mobility that they want."

Argonne National Laboratory received the grant, but had pulled in a series of strategic partners to write a strong application for the monies. As one of those partners, Lakeshore Advantage will bring in West Michigan manufacturers, colleges, and universities already involved in advanced energy storage research as part of the momentum for further research and development. Thelen says the industry could bring untold numbers of high-tech jobs to West Michigan and Chicago.

Source: Randy Thelen, Lakeshore Advantage
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

MEDC has $3M available for struggling Michigan cities that want to build up their business districts

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has $3 million in federal grant money it wants to award to infrastructure projects in low- and moderate-income Michigan cities. Eligible projects would be those within a city's business district, with an eye to encouraging further development.

The Downtown Infrastructure Grant (DIG) program offers a maximum grant amount per city of $750,000, says Katharine Czarnecki, the MEDC's community development manager, which could go toward projects like streetscape improvements or green infrastructure projects, such as, rain gardens or pervious pavements.

"We're striving to give these communities a bit of a leg up in terms of walkability and streetscapes to help them fill empty storefronts in those downtowns," Czarnecki says. "We're hoping that it provides incentive for driving further private investment and job growth in those downtowns."

The area seeking funding must meet the definition of a traditional downtown with a concentrated density of multi-story buildings that already have some walkable component, Czarnecki says. The project must already have a "significant local match," which could be 20-25 percent of the project cost or more.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Click here for more information.

Click here for a list of eligible communities.
    
Source: Katharine Czarnecki, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Bagley Townhouses aim to bring easy living to East Grand Rapids' Gaslight Village neighborhood

Just a half a block from East Grand Rapids' chic Gaslight Village business district, 16 new townhouses rise on connected properties that used to have just six single-family houses. Bagley Townhouses -- eight units in two all-brick brownstones -- offer condominium living within walking distance of Reeds Lake, the lakeside Collins Park, and some of West Michigan's best restaurants, salons, and shopping.

Spearheaded by developer and lifelong East Grand Rapids resident Joe Hooker, the project extends from 727 to 797 Bagley Ave. SE. Main floor units offer front porches and 1,300-square-feet of living space with an optional basement buildout to 2,600 square feet. The units have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an optional third bedroom and bath in the basement level.

Above, the second floor units feature a front balcony, 1,600 square feet, two bedrooms, and two baths, with an option to add a Murphy bed in a possible third bedroom/office combination.

Standard finishes include granite countertops and hardwood floors in the kitchens. First buyers can customize and select upgrades.

"I started buying single-family homes in 2001, and bought six single family homes over six years and rented them out," Hooker says. "[The brownstone project] was originally approved by the city of East Grand Rapids in 2007, but due to the overwhelming forces of the economy, we couldn't move forward. About eight months ago, we decided to finally move forward and demo the buildings so we could start construction."

The project was re-approved in late 2011. Greenridge Realty (2213 Wealthy St. SE, East Grand Rapids) has a showroom with finishes options. Interested buyers will get help selecting their finishes from the Bagley Townhouses interior designer.

Hooker says seven of the units in the first building and two of the units in the second building are sold, leaving seven units available. The first building will be complete in January 2013; the second building will follow in February. Prices range from $289,000 to $319,000.
    
Source: Joe Hooker, Bagley Townhouses
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Proposed project could bring $10M in new housing, storefronts to Grand Rapids' Madison Square

LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. might be busily wrapping up construction of nine affordable-rate townhomes and prepping to break ground on seven more yet this year, but that seems to be just the steam behind the momentum for the group's next aggressive project -- a $10 million residential and commercial development in the heart of the Madison Square neighborhood.

LINC landed $9 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit funds from the state, and will use that money to redevelop the property at 413 Hall St. SE (formerly TJ's Appliance) into a four-story building with 24 apartments and 6,000 square feet of storefront commercial space. The property is just one building east of the intersection of Hall and Madison Avenue SE, the core of the neighborhood's business district.

In addition, 20 townhouses with attached garages are part of the plan, encompassing four obsolete properties in the 400-500 block of Gilbert St. SE and one at 443 Umatilla St. SE.

Vacant buildings on the properties will be razed, making way for energy-efficient structures for residents and business owners looking for a storefront location, says Stephanie Gingerich, LINC real estate development director.

"Having that huge new building right there at the intersection will create new energy and new vibrancy," Gingerich says. "People who work in the neighborhood will have an opportunity to rent decent housing right in the neighborhood. We've estimated that having the new retail spaces will create 30 jobs. It's about breathing new life and energy into the major corridor in the neighborhood on the southeast side of Grand Rapids."

Twenty-one of the apartments will be one and two bedrooms; the rest will offer three bedrooms. Gingerich says smaller apartments are in demand and LINC is listening to the neighborhood's needs.

Madison Square is about two miles from the core city, with new bike lanes along Hall St. connecting cyclists with Division Avenue and downtown.

Construction will begin in March 2013 with a Dec. 2013 completion.

Source: Stephanie Gingerich, LINC Community Revitalization, Inc.; Tyler Lecceadone, SeyferthPR
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Griff's IceHouse breaks ground on unique tutoring, educational space for West Michigan youth

Griff's IceHouse, the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team's practice facility (30 Coldbrook NE, Grand Rapids), is more than just an ice rink. It's a space where hundreds of West Michigan's underprivileged youth can play hockey and other ice-related sports while having access to computers, tutoring programs, and lessons on healthy lifestyles.

To that end, the planned addition of a 400-square-foot multipurpose room for tutoring, educational programming, and off-ice conditioning kicked off with a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday.

The Griffins Youth Foundation will foot half of the $150,000 price tag of the addition. The remainder comes from proceeds from Griff's IceHouse, a professional ice rink owned by the City of Grand Rapids and managed by DP Fox Sports & Entertainment.

"Because of the cost of this type of sport, it makes it more prohibitive [for lower-income youth to participate]," says Tom Almonte, assistant to the city manager. "The Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation makes it possible for students to not only participate in the sport, but to receive tutoring and educational help, all in one place. At the end of the year after paying expenses, the facility has had retained earnings every year. We are recycling the money into the facility and no tax dollars are going into it."

Almonte says the addition, which will extend off the facility's northeast corner, is a "win/win/win, not just for the city because we haven't had to use any tax dollars, but for the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation because they can accomplish their mission. And DP Fox Sports will be able to continue to showcase this as one of the top facilities in the region."

Construction is slated to begin today, with completion expected in April 2013.

Source: Tom Almonte, City of Grand Rapids
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Ford Presidential Museum plans $15M student learning center, theater in the round

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation plans to expand the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum (303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids) with a $15 million student learning center featuring interactive exhibits and online access to historical documents.

A 10,500-square-foot addition on the museum's south side will offer students an out-of-classroom experience with a 360-degree in-the-round theater and an interactive model of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier. Presidential papers and documents now available only at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor will be digitized and available online.

"Additionally, we will be recreating cabinet and presidential decision-making situations…which will allow students the opportunity to put themselves in these historically significant moments," says Steve Ford, chairman of the Ford Foundation and President and Betty Ford’s son. "With education cutbacks, it is now more important than ever to help supplement schools with learning experiences related to civics, character, and principled leadership."

Funding from the Secchia-Allen Student Transportation Fund will provide transportation to and from the museum, Ford says. The learning center will accommodate full classrooms of students. The curriculum is being developed by the foundation, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University.

The board of trustees pledged the first $10 million of the $15 million goal. Construction could begin in 2013.

"Student learning is an important aspect of every generation and with such a unique time in history, it is vital that students understand problem solving and our nation’s history," Ford says. "With an increasing dependence on technology, the public, students, and academia will be able to study the Presidency from around the world."

Source: Steve Ford, Gerald R. Ford Foundation; SeyferthPR
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Proposed Ballroom at McKay Tower could bring majestic celebration space to downtown Grand Rapids

Development to convert a buttoned-down marble bank lobby into majestic ballroom space in downtown Grand Rapids is halfway to its goal with Planning Commission approval last week. If the Grand Rapids City Commission approves the new use on Nov. 27, the historic McKay Tower (146 Monroe Center Ave. NW) could open the proposed Ballroom at McKay for its first wedding reception, banquet, or business conference in spring 2013.

The former Grand Rapids National Bank lobby features impressive granite walls, massive floor-to-ceiling marble columns, a mezzanine overlooking the main floor, and the original bank vault, all of which will be incorporated into a new 250-seat event space in the heart of downtown. The space has been vacant since 2008.

Building owners Steadfast Property Holdings, LLC, plan to add a commercial catering kitchen and obtain a liquor license for the venue.

"Downtown Grand Rapids continues to be the desired location for special events and we felt that our product is one that would be well received," says Chaundra Derks, director of operations for Steadfast Property Holdings. "It has been our intention since acquiring the building in May to build out the bank into some sort of special space, so our recent announcement is just part of our overall strategy for re-inventing McKay Tower."

McKay Tower is situated across the street from Rosa Parks Circle and home to many local businesses, including Kilwin's, Biggby Coffee, Sushi-Yama, Subs N More, Chic's Frame & Poster, and Charlie's Shoe Repair.

Source: Chaundra Derks, Steadfast Property Holdings; Craig Clark, Clark Communications
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Metro Health invests $1M in orthopedic surgery suite, heart/vascular offices downtown Grand Rapids

Metro Health and Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan (OAM) will add a fourth surgery suite to the partnership's surgery center in the Women's Health Center of West Michigan building (555 Mid Towne St. NE, Grand Rapids). In addition, Metro Health will add 10,000 square feet to an adjoining Metro Heart and Vascular medical practice, which will make room for a new Metro Health Orthopedics office.

"This facility offers greater efficiency and lower cost for patients, and, for many patients, is closer to home," says Metro Health President and CEO Mike Faas. "After settling in, we expect to see up to 300 patients per week in the Metro Health Orthopedics practice. The heart and vascular practice expects to see 360-380 patients per month."

The existing three-suite orthopedic surgery center opened in the Women's Health Center in 2009, handling out-patient knee and shoulder arthroscopic surgeries, foot and ankle surgeries, hand surgeries and some general orthopedic surgeries, says Faas.

Metro Health says the surgery center is the area's only surgical center focused entirely on orthopedic surgeries. The new surgery suite will serve its first patients in January 2013.  

Source: Mike Faas, Metro Health; Nick Wasmiller, Wondergem
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Grand Rapids Brewing Company to open $2M microbrewery with Michigan's first certified-organic brews

The final paperwork for the organic certification process through the U.S. Department of Agriculture should be complete this week. With that, the Grand Rapids Brewing Company (GRBC) at 1 Ionia Ave. SW will open the doors to Michigan's first certified-organic brewery.  

Mark Sellers, co-owner of Barfly Ventures, which owns GRBC, HopCat, Stella's Lounge, and other Grand Rapids bars, says the brewery will open with 10 certified-organic brews on tap.

The 15,000-square-foot brewery/restaurant celebrates its official opening Dec. 5 in the totally renovated main level of the structure that combines 1 and 7 Ionia Ave. SW.

Sellers says the inspiration for the organic brewery hit him after he visited Pisgah Brewing Company, an organic brewery in Black Mountain, NC.

"It was a great brewery and I didn't even know it was an organic brewery until after I was there," Sellers says. "I thought, organic beer doesn't taste any different. I looked into the feasibility of doing organic brewing in Michigan, and we figured out a way to do it." He adds that some of the hops are Michigan-grown, and the grains and malts are from Midwest farms.

GRBC will open with a well-rounded beer menu that includes a brown ale, an IPA, a Hefeweizen, a fruit beer, a stout, a porter, and the brewery's signature pilsner-style, Silver Foam. A full food menu includes house-made sausage, burgers, and foods from local farms and suppliers.

Sellers is especially proud that the design and construction of the brewery is by Grand Rapids- and Michigan-based companies and artisans -- down to the tables, bar, and furniture -- including:

•    Architectural design: Lott3Metz, Grand Rapids.
•    Construction management: Mark Schaafsma Design Build, Caledonia.
•    Interior design: David Dodde, Grand Rapids.
•    Tabletops from wood floor joists reclaimed from 1 and 7 Ionia: Jay Ubelous, Against the Grain Concepts, Lansing.
•    Table legs for some of the tables (using the old fire protection system from the building): Harry Goossens, Total Fire Protection.
•    Bar top and back bar: Marc Wiegers of Greenwood Studio, Grand Rapids.
•    Chairs: handmade at CND Products, Grand Rapids.
•    Kitchen/bar equipment: Franklin Food Service Equipment & Supply, Holland.
•    Draft system: Quality Draft Systems, Grand Rapids.
•    Brewing system: designed and built by Craftwerk Brewing Systems, Lake Orion.

Source: Mark Sellers, Barfly Ventures; Chris Knape, SeyferthPR
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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East Grand Rapids home to new urban bicycle showroom, repair shop

A new oasis for urban cyclists is open for business near East Grand Rapids' Gaslight Village. Grand Rapids Bicycle Company renovated the former The Moving Company building (644 Lovett Ave. SE) into a hip cycle showroom offering pedal transportation for everyone from pre-pedal age through adult.

The showroom is the company's second location and follows the spring opening of its main store, Grand Rapids Bicycle Company and Trailhead Café, at 1200 East Paris SE, near Bill & Paul's Sporthaus.

"We can repair, maintenance, and tune anything out there," says store manager Thomas Fish. "The quality of personalized service is the main thing we're trying to differentiate ourselves with. No matter if you have a kids' bike or an expensive road bike, we're going to make sure it fits and that you're happy with it."

Fish is a United Bicycle Institute-certified bike mechanic. He says the Bicycle Company's other two mechanics, Eric Fisher and K. C. Trotter, have a combined 46 years of cycle repair experience and a number of certifications.

Besides maintenance and repair, the shop carries U.S.-made Jamis Bikes and Felt Bicycles, Cervelo Cycles high-end racing bikes, and Surly "fat bikes" for winter riding. The shop also offers a selection of kids' bikes from wooden, pedal-free balance bikes for tiny riders to kickbikes, to frames sized for 8-, 10-, and 12-year-olds. And the store carries a variety of accessories, including clothing, gloves, Burley products, and more.

Fall/Winter hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat.

Source: Thomas Fish, Grand Rapids Bicycle Company
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Renovation makes Grand Rapids' Calder Plaza Building ready for 21st Century businesses

After Smith, Haughey, Rice, and Roegge's law offices decided to relocate to the historic Flat Iron Building in downtown Grand Rapids, the Calder Plaza Building (250 Monroe Ave. NW) faced its first major vacancy in 20 years.

As a result, some 38,000 square feet of leasable space on floors two and three have been gutted to white-box stage, says Bruce Parsons of Executive Property Management (EPM), one of the owners of the building. The result, says Parsons, is "a lot of window space and a lot of interior space that gives all kinds of flexibility to an interested and involved party moving in."

Parsons says both floors feature 120-feet by 150-feet of floor space surrounded by exterior windows. The nine-story building sits amid the city's financial district, adjacent to the City/County buildings, just steps from the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building, and across the street from DeVos Place convention center.

EPM selected Concept Design Group to create some preliminary drawings to illustrate possible renovation options for tenants, and will include a tenant renovation allowance in the lease price, which could range from $15 to $50 per square foot.

A total renovation of the building's two-level lobby recently brought the public spaces into the 21st Century with Italian stone tile, new lighting, and a fresh face on the grand staircase connecting the two levels. The renovation features oil paintings of Le Grande Vitesse, the bright orange Alexander Calder sculpture in the Ottawa Avenue-plaza that gives the building its name.

"We've planned to do this for some time and right now, it's propitious to do it," Parsons says.

Source: Bruce Parsons, Executive Property Management; Brittany Tuori, Colliers International
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Grand Slam Subs socks a homer, welcomes first customers after two years of setbacks

After two years of setbacks, and working with what the owner calls a "miniscule budget," Grand Slam Subs (600 Lake Michigan Dr. NW) has rounded the bases and crossed home plate on its feet.

Aaron Baker, owner, began the process of renovating a non-descript building on the corner of Seward Avenue NW and Lake Michigan Dr. NW way back in 2010 -- a building that sat vacant and decaying for years. Complicated zoning issues, neighborhood concerns, and a lack of funding assistance made him nearly throw up his hands in defeat.

Instead, Baker, 31, pushed forward and opened his baseball-themed Grand Slam Subs earlier this month. His enthusiasm is evident in his fast chatter punctuated with laughter.

"We have [ball] gloves and baseballs hanging from the ceiling, pictures of the old Chicago stadium, old baseball logos and graphics, and my favorite is a Babe Ruth sign that says 'Never let the fear of striking out get in your way,'" Baker says, barely taking a breath.
    
The inspirational Babe Ruth poster might well be Baker's personal motto given the number of strikeouts he had.

Baker says he met with the City of Grand Rapids and The Right Place, Inc., looking for grants or incentives to revitalize the abandoned Metrol Controls building. He says the project didn't qualify for anything. He says he also asked the Downtown Development Authority for help, but the building was just 50 or so feet outside the DDA's west boundary, which runs down the middle of Seward Avenue NW.
    
"We looked into historical grants," Baker says. "We looked into Brownfield redevelopment, economic development initiatives, SmartZones, Corridor Improvement Districts, Neighborhood Enterprise Zones, Renaissance Zones, and abatement grants. All these incentives, grant money, and financial assistance for a building and a project that should have warranted assistance and nothing was available!"

All that is in the past. Grand Slam Subs "Bull Pen, Sluggers, and Fielders" menu now offers customers a variety of fresh sub sandwiches and a veggie burger, as well as soups, salads, white chicken chili, and soft drinks.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., but will stay open later when it's busy.

Source: Aaron Baker, Grand Slam Subs
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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