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616 Lofts announces 65 new loft apartments for downtown Grand Rapids

Derek Coppess says demand for cool apartment spaces in downtown Grand Rapids has spurred him into developing some 65 loft-style apartments scattered throughout the city center.

Coppess, who owns The Coppess Group real estate firm, announced this week that his newest venture, 616 Lofts, has invested nearly $2M in 25 new loft-style apartments in two historic buildings at 139 Pearl St. NW and 206 Grandville Ave. SW. The apartments have a move-in date of August 1.

616 Lofts also proposes ten more apartments at 140 Monroe Center and another 30 at undisclosed locations throughout the downtown.

"Everything follows people living somewhere," Coppess says. "Grand Rapids has gone a long way to building up downtown through all the philanthropy, and now it's up to the rest of us to bring people downtown to enjoy what we have here."

The three floors above Flanagan's (139 Pearl NW) are now home to three studio apartments plus six one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units. Coppess says about half are leased.

206 Grandville offers six two-bedroom and four one-bedroom units on floors four and five.

Coppess says the apartments have traditional elements, such as exposed-brick walls, aged hardwood floors and ceiling heights from 12 to 16 feet. Modern amenities include stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Rates range from about $700 for a studio to $1,600 a month for a two-bedroom.

"Eighteen months ago I opened up (616 Lofts) by word of mouth and was bombarded with demand," says Coppess, who developed what he calls a "prototype unit" at 190 Monroe two years ago and now lives there. "There are a lot of condos downtown, but they have served as a barrier to entry to some people who want to live downtown."

Coppess has opened the vacant third floor of the 140 Monroe Center property to the live art event, SPACE, which takes place on June 10. Read the article here.

Source: Derek Coppess, 616 Lofts; Suzette Garvey, Simply Genuine Communications
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor


29 LEED Townhomes proposed for Grand Rapids' Madison Square neighborhood

Representatives from LINC Community Revitalization will go in front of the City of Grand Rapids April 14 to request approval for 29 townhomes in the city's Madison Square neighborhood.

LINC, formerly Lighthouse Communities, will present its plan for the modern multi-family units, which would be located on nine parcels on four streets near the intersection of Madison Avenue SE and Hall St. SE. The city has already approved development of a tenth parcel on Prospect SE.

The proposal is part of the community development organization's $10 million plan to develop 55 residential units in the area. An additional 21 units will be located at 413 Hall, in the planned Southtown Square mixed-use development.

The plan for the nine Madison Square units includes replacing aging multi-family buildings with the new, modern townhomes. Some of the structures that will be torn down are already vacant, while others are occupied.

LINC Co-Executive Director Jeremy DeRoo says current homeowners will not be displaced, but will have the option to move into the new units. Rent for the townhomes will retain the current rental rates of $500 to $725, and Section 8 assistance will be available to low-income tenants.

"The goal is to provide high quality, affordable housing in the neighborhood," says DeRoo.

All units will be LEED certified, with two to four bedrooms and at least two bathrooms. DeRoo says the project has been well received in the neighborhood, with a petition for the project garnering more than 120 signatures.

"The [housing] design is more modern than is typically seen in the area," says DeRoo. "There is room and a desire for improving the diversity of housing."

The first phase of construction, slated to begin in June, will involve tearing down three parcels that are contaminated and boarded up.

Source: Jeremy DeRoo, LINC Community Revitalization
Writer: Kelly Quintanilla

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Construction begins on $13M downtown Grand Rapids Serrano Lofts, Division Park apartments

Construction to renovate three historic Grand Rapids buildings in the Heartside neighborhood into low-cost urban apartments begins on Feb. 14 with 17 Williams St. NE, the first of the three to undergo renovation.

Midland-based developer Brookstone Capital, Inc., the company that dipped its toe into Grand Rapids' multi-million dollar redevelopment scene with projects like Metropolitan Park Apartments and 101 S. Division, plans to transform 209 and 217 S. Division Ave. into Division Park, with 30 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, including six live/work units on the ground level.

Around the corner, Serrano Lofts (17 Williams) will offer 15 one- and two-bedroom units.

"209 was originally built in 1911 as a hotel for furniture buyers who came into town during the furniture boom," says Aaron Jonker, project manager for Wolverine Building Group, the company handling construction. "It was billed as having indoor plumbing because it had two bathrooms for guests."

Jonker expects the renovations, which are actually two separate projects, to receive LEED Silver certification. He expects LEED points will be given for green features including the reuse of buildings in a core city, proximity to transit, renovation of obsolete buildings (brownfield), and installation of high efficiency HVAC systems.

Renovation of the buildings' exteriors includes replacing the windows with historically accurate and energy efficient types and cleaning and tuckpointing the brick facades. Norton Shores-based Concept Design Studio handled the architectural design.

The expected project cost is $13 million, writes Brookstone's Development Coordinator Shawna Bergman in an email dated Feb. 7. She adds that public funding (approximately $12.4 million) will come from several sources: state and federal historic tax credits; MSHDA low-income housing tax credits; brownfield tax credits; City of Grand Rapids HOME Loan monies; and Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority grants.

"I think these two projects have an opportunity to be a driver for development," Jonker says. "(The business district) has had some issues with keeping businesses in the area and the more people we can bring down there, the better."

Source: Aaron Jonker and Danielle Wells, Wolverine Building Group; Shawna Bergman, Brookstone Capital, LLC
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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The heart of Grand Rapids' Heartside revs up for business with $2.4M reconstruction project

What people will see when traveling down the new Commerce Avenue SW are neat brick-lined sidewalks, 50 freshly planted trees, new bike racks and attractive decorative lighting. Commerce Avenue reopened last week after six months of intensive reconstruction and it's more than just a pretty face.

"Commerce (Avenue) was literally the worst street in the city; the potholes looked like craters on the moon," says Jay Fowler, executive director of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority. "When we started doing this kind of work, so much of the infrastructure downtown was very much antiquated. We can't really expect private investors to invest in downtown when we don't improve the infrastructure."

The section of Commerce between Cherry and Wealthy streets, plus Williams St. SW and Bartlett St. SW between Ionia and Commerce underwent $2.4 million of vital upgrades that include a new water main and water services to properties, new storm sewers and sanitary sewers, and new curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

New street surfaces include asphalt on Commerce and brick pavers over concrete on Williams and Bartlett.

The street reconstruction comes at a time when developers are wrapping up construction on investments of some $60 million for the new 38 (38 Commerce SW) and The Gallery apartments (Commerce SW and W. Fulton) and are seeking commercial and residential tenants.

Recent investments of millions more created nightspots Stella's Lounge and The Viceroy (both at 53 Commerce SW), and new digs for Lambert, Edwards and Associates (47 Commerce SW) with plans for another nightspot and concert venue, The Pyramid Scheme, at 68 Commerce SW.

The DDA contributed $1.2 million to fund the streetscaping portion of the project; the City of Grand Rapids funded the rest of the project. Dykema Excavators handled the excavation.

Source: Jay Fowler, Downtown Development Authority; Tiiu Arrak, Public Information Administrator, City of Grand Rapids
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor


$5.5M LEED housing, commercial development proposed to spur growth in Grand Rapids' Southtown

Five years ago a neighborhood charrette called for the creation of quality housing and commercial development in Grand Rapids' Madison Square business district, part of a greater Southtown objective that includes revitalization of business districts at Franklin and Hall streets and S. Division Avenue.

Now, after tens of millions of dollars in public and private investments in infrastructure, streets and lighting, new townhomes, commercial spaces, and the Lighthouse Communities Development Center (1167 Madison Ave. SE), nonprofit Lighthouse Communities, Inc. plans to continue the vision with Southtown Square, a proposed $5.5 million LEED-certified development.

Lighthouse has an option to buy the former TJ's Appliance Store (413 Hall St. SE), across from Duthler's Family Foods. The plan is to raze it and construct a four-story mixed use building with 6,600 square feet of commercial space on the main level and 21 affordable-rate apartments above.

"What makes this exciting is that it's not a stand-alone project, but it's connected to the development of the entire neighborhood," says Jeremy DeRoo, Lighthouse co-director with Darel Ross.

"We will have approximately 20 percent of each new commercial development devoted as incubator space for startup retail or services businesses that can function within the district long-term," Ross adds.

The incubators include access to free or discounted business services such as attorneys, insurance agents and accountants, and qualify for training and business plan development through Lighthouse Communities, Ross says.

"We will close on the property once the state approves our application for low-income housing tax credits, which represent over 50 percent of the funding," DeRoo says. "I'm hopeful those will be approved within the next 30 days. If we're not selected, there will be another round for applications and we'll move up the line for approval."

DeRoo says Lighthouse has applied for Brownfield Redevelopment tax credits for remediation of chemical contaminants from a former dry cleaner on the property.

The architect for the project is Grand Rapids-based Isaac V. Norris & Associates.

Source: Jeremy DeRoo and Darel Ross, Lighthouse Communities, Inc.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Midland developer plans $13M apartment project for historic Grand Rapids buildings

If developer Karl Chew of Midland-based Brookstone Capital achieves his vision, three buildings in the heart of Grand Rapids' Heartside historic district will become 45 apartments, some with live/work options.

Two attached buildings at 209 and 217 S. Division Ave. and another around the corner at 17 Williams St. SE were once warehouses for automotive supplies and have been vacant for several years, says Brookstone's Financial Manager Mai Dong. Water damage is extensive, she says, adding that Brookstone purchased the buildings and has no plans to sell them after the renovations.

"We have a long-term, vested interest in the properties," Dong says. "When we finished 101 S. Division in June 2009, we received a lot of inquiries to occupy it even though it was already full. I think this [new project] will help to fulfill the housing needs in the area."

The two S. Division buildings will offer 30 living spaces priced for entry-level incomes. Options include one- and two-bedroom loft apartments, three-bedroom townhouses and a few main level live/work units in what are now the buildings' retail spaces.

The building at 17 Williams will become 15 loft apartments. Off-street parking on vacant property at 18 Williams will serve all three buildings.

Dong says the project received state designation as a brownfield site, financial support from the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority and will probably qualify for historic tax credits.

Brookstone hopes to achieve LEED Gold status.

In the last five years, Brookstone renovated 101 S. Division and Metropolitan Park Apartments at 350 Ionia Ave. SW into apartments.

Source: Mai Dong, Brookstone Capital
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor


Dwelling Place to transform old Holland middle school into $5.9M affordable housing community

Deborah Johnson Wood

Grand Rapids-based Dwelling Place broke ground this week in downtown Holland to renovate the abandoned E.E. Fell Junior High School into a hip, urban housing community for people aged 55 and up. The community, Midtown Village, is the last piece of the revitalization of an entire city block by Jubilee Ministries into a mixed-use complex that includes Midtown Center, a hub of businesses and nonprofits.

The residential component, 372 S. River St., breathes life into the historic former school with the construction of 30 affordable apartments, a second-story roof deck and a new landscaped walkway that creates a shortcut through the property between 15th and 16th streets.

"It's a senior project, but we're looking at the younger seniors, at people who want to live downtown and don't want to have to have a car," says Jarrett DeWyse, Dwelling Place director of housing development. "This is the largest piece of land to be developed in Holland recently. Jubilee bought the block from Holland Public Schools with the intent of doing a development that correlated with the city of Holland's Center of Centers study which called for green space, housing and commercial development."

The apartments include three one-bedroom and 27 two-bedroom living spaces with rent that ranges from $580 to $605 a month.

The project includes Hooker DeJong Architects & Engineers and GDK Construction Company, with financing through The Bank of Holland and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Construction should wrap up in the fall of 2011.

Source: Jarrett DeWyse, Dwelling Place

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

Amway Grand Plaza opens hotel's first spa for guests and walk-ins

Deborah Johnson Wood

Over the years, guests of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel (AGPH) in Grand Rapids have asked for a full service spa. The hotel answered by building the new Vasaio Life Spa and Salon. The spa occupies the former Grand Salon space in the exhibitor's building.

"We are not experts in the spa business, so we wanted to choose someone who has expertise in that. We knew Vasaio from their store (1100 East Paris Ave. SE) and from the experience with them at the J.W. where they operate the spa," says Rick Winn, vice president/managing director of the Amway Hotel Corporation, which owns the AGPH and the J.W. Marriott across the street.

"We thought we could have better amenities for the hotel customer by providing both hair services and spa services," Winn adds. "We knew there was a demand for spa services because of guest requests, and we served them through in-room services or at the J.W."

Besides a menu of relaxing massages and body treatments, the spa offers some decadent choices for the ultimate in pampering:
• a 24K Gold Leaf Facial to reduce lines and replace moisture
• a Diamond Dust Facial to stimulate regeneration of collagen
• and a Royal Blue Tansy Body Wrap, which calms the skin and nervous system and ends with a full body massage

Vasaio is Italian for potter, and keeping with that theme are the spa's warm, earthy colors that induce a calming atmosphere. Guests can enjoy a complete line of hair care services for men and women, manicures, pedicures and makeup application.

"There is demand for this from people downtown, so we see that as a business opportunity," Winn says. "And many convention goers use conventions as a vacation opportunity for their families. The spa rounds us out quite nicely for those people who really want a full service weekend getaway."

Source: Rick Winn, Amway Hotel Corporation; Nicole Ruggiero, Quinn & Co.

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.


Total renovation means new image, new restaurant for downtown Grand Rapids hotel

Deborah Johnson Wood

Grand Rapids' Courtyard by Marriott Downtown recently wrapped up a $3 million renovation, bringing the hotel into the 21st Century. The renovation is part of a chain-wide upgrade that Marriott hopes will attract today's business travelers.

The total revamp of the hotel, 11 Monroe NW, includes a new restaurant and bar called The Bistro – Eat. Drink. Connect. The Bistro is an extension of the lobby and offers a casual meeting spot to enjoy a craft beer, or a place to get a tasty wrap sandwich or Starbucks coffee on the go.

All 214 guest rooms were renovated and now have mini refrigerators and a jack pack that connects laptops and iPods to a 37-inch HD flat screen television.

In the lobby, visitors will find staff seated at individual pods, instead of standing behind an imposing front desk. A 55-inch LCD interactive touch screen, dubbed the GoBoard, provides flight information, restaurant locations, news, sports headlines and maps to local attractions. Wireless Internet access throughout the building and work areas in the lobby allow guests to catch up on work without being isolated in their rooms.

"Marriott realized they have been looking for this customer from the '80s and the face of business has changed," says General Manager Mike Donnelly. "So they scrapped everything and started over."

Donnelly says that since July 21, customer satisfaction is up almost 20 percent.

The Amway Hotel Corporation owns the hotel, the J.W. Marriott and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. All are connected by a climate controlled Skywalk that also connects to DeVos Place convention center, the Van Andel Arena, shopping and restaurants.

"The Marriott transformation completes our eleven-hundred-room concept for downtown," Donnelly says. "The Courtyard was the missing link in being able to offer three different price points and three different amenity levels. And that is so appealing to groups."

Source: Mike Donnelly, Courtyard by Marriott

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.


Casual dining restaurant and bar opening soon on Muskegon's waterfront

Deborah Johnson Wood

By land or by lake, no matter how patrons arrive at a new waterfront restaurant in Muskegon, they'll find a bar and eatery with lakeside dining and fabulous views of Muskegon Lake sunsets.

So says Jon Rooks of Parkland Properties, developer of The Lake House Waterfront Grille, 730 Terrace Point Blvd., the latest piece of a multi-million dollar renovation of The Shoreline Inn & Suites and Terrace Point Marina complex. The restaurant, formerly called Rafferty's, retained only its original structure.

"Everything is brand new," Rooks says. "We added a herringbone maple floor and have 160 feet of windows facing the water. There's also a 160-foot-long deck out over the water that faces west for watching the sunsets."

Most of a custom walnut and granite curved bar created by Troy Bosworth from Studio Wise is indoors; the rest, which is shaped like the aft of a boat, is outdoors. Patrons can enjoy their drinks on the deck, or on a patio under the Locust trees the grow through the floor.

The Lake House opens July 28, offering a full drink menu, as well as dining creations by Chefs Dustin Schultz and Charlie Forrester. The menu ranges from appetizers like Lake House fish tacos and Tuscan bean and goat cheese dip, to sandwiches, burgers, pasta, steaks and seafood.

Rooks says the complex takes up only five acres of the 20-plus-acre property.

"I want to attract other developers to what I think is the best opportunity in Michigan right now, and that's the Muskegon shoreline," he says.

"Muskegon has a host of amazing events occurring all year round," he adds. "People recognize that it's a great place to be in the summer. We want to use the hotel and restaurant to attract people and events in the nine months of the off-season. If the owners of the waterfront properties can work together, we can accomplish the synergy that's possible."

Source: Jon Rooks, Parkland Properties

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

Historic Grand Rapids home revived as one-of-a-kind bed and breakfast inn

Deborah Johnson Wood

Legend has it that in the 1900s wealthy businessman Harry C. Leonard gave his daughter Dorothy a gift – a massive home complete with servant's quarters and a third-floor ballroom.

That home at Logan and Morris streets in Grand Rapids is now open as the Leonard at Logan House Bed & Breakfast, following an extensive renovation to bring it back to its former glory by owners Ann and John Finkler, Paul and Charles DeVos and Mark Zimmer.

A wide, open staircase leads from the foyer to the five guest rooms on the second floor. Each guest room, tastefully appointed with period-style furniture, has a private bath. On the main floor, visitors will find a relaxing sitting room with a fireplace, a dining room and a modern gourmet kitchen.

The house has oak floors throughout, except for the ballroom, which has maple – a hardwood not easily marred by dancers' shoes. The ballroom is now the owner's quarters.

Modern amenities include free Wi-Fi, keyless entry and 32-inch flat screen TVs in each guest room.

"We started with the roof because it was leaking, and leaks mean cracked plaster, which was throughout the house," Zimmer says. He and Ann Finkler are part of Team Restoration, the group that handled the restoration.

"We added half a dozen chandeliers throughout the house to make it more elegant," Zimmer says.

Outside, the owners removed two overgrown pine trees that blocked the view of the house from the street. They're currently adding an outdoor patio for guest use. Zimmer says an existing lawn area accommodates canopies for outdoor weddings and parties.

Breakfast is designed to fit the needs of guests – an extensive weekday continental breakfast allows business guests to eat on the go; weekend guests experience a more leisurely meal.

"During the week we attract quite a number of business travelers, and overseas contract designers who work for Steelcase," Zimmer says. "We're more laid back than a hotel, so a lot of times they'll stay here."

Source: Mark Zimmer, Leonard at Logan House Bed & Breakfast

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com


CityFlats Hotel in Holland eyes downtown Grand Rapids for next boutique hotel venture

Deborah Johnson Wood

The owner of the CityFlats Hotel in Holland plans to transform the former Fox Jewelers building in downtown Grand Rapids into a new 28-room boutique hotel. The announcement last week moves owner Charter House Innovations a step closer to developing the hotel model into a national franchise.

"We still have ambitions for CityFlats to be a franchise, and we're using the Grand Rapids location to show that it can be franchised all over the country," says Sarah Lilly, marketing coordinator.

The 16,000-square-foot building at 83 Monroe Center was on the drawing board as Fox Lofts residential condominiums after Fox Jewelers moved out, but the condominiums idea never took off. Situated in the heart of Grand Rapids' downtown, it has been vacant for several years.

Each room of the hotel will offer a design and color scheme different from the other rooms. Each of Charter House's 13 designers will create a unique design for the guest rooms and the hotel's public areas.

"There have been discussions about finding a creative way to keep the original marquee, but nothing has been determined yet," says Lilly of Fox's signature signage above the main entry.

Charter House's Holland facility will design and manufacture the products used in the hotel's interior, Lilly says. The hotel will be LEED certified, similar to the Gold LEED certified CityFlats Hotel.

"We feel we're offering a unique product with it being a boutique hotel and being LEED certified," she says. "The customer gets a more personalized experience because of the smaller and unique design. A lot of the customers in Holland stay in a different room each time to experience the different designers."

The Grand Rapids location will include a lounge, coffee bar, a fitness center and meeting rooms.

Plans are in the early stages and Lilly says more details will be announced as they become available.

"We're really excited about being a part of downtown Grand Rapids," Lilly says. "We're looking forward to really great things happening."

Source: Sarah Lilly, CityFlats Hotel

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

Grand Rapids' Goodrich Apartments breaks ground on $3.1 million makeover

Deborah Johnson Wood

Seventeen years ago Grand Rapids-based Dwelling Place, Inc. purchased and renovated The Goodrich Apartments – 14 affordable apartments on S. Division Ave. just south of the Avenue for the Arts. A $3.1 million project to update the units and buildings broke ground this week.

The apartments are in two circa 1890 structures constructed side by side at 333 and 339 South Division Ave. – the DelaMater Building and the Schuchardt Building, respectively.

"This is not a gut rehab, but the apartments will have new appliances, new cupboards and hardwood floors throughout," says Jarrett DeWyse, director of housing development for Dwelling Place. "The buildings are long and narrow and some of the apartments are kind of dark. We're reconfiguring those apartments to have lower interior walls so natural light from the windows can travel deeper into those apartments."

The apartments will get complete overhauls, including new bathrooms and some skylights. The shared spaces, such as hallways and stairwells, will be repainted and carpeted.

The residents in the five occupied apartments at 339 S. Division agreed to a temporary "apartment swap" to the building next door. Once their apartments are renovated, the residents will move back in and work will begin on 333 S. Division.

Dwelling Place waited for months for approval of historic preservation tax credits from the state of Michigan and the federal government. DeWyse says the approvals came through recently for nearly $2 million in tax credits. Dwelling Place has to prove that it fulfilled its promise to keep certain renovations historically accurate once the project is completed at the end of the year.

"We can't remove the wood staircases, we have to replace windows with windows of similar construction, and we'll restore all the exterior cornices and window ledges," DeWyse says.

The project also received $700,000 from the city of Grand Rapids, which Dwelling Place will repay after a 15-year compliance period, provided there is enough cash flow.

Source: Jarrett DeWyse, Dwelling Place, Inc.

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

The $34 million Gallery Apartments poised for debut at Grand Rapids Parade of Downtown Living

Deborah Johnson Wood

After years of anticipation and arm wrestling for financial banking, The Gallery Apartments in downtown Grand Rapids will debut in June at the 6th Annual Parade of Downtown Living.

Fifty-six luxury apartments occupy floors 6 through 12 of The Gallery on Fulton, 2 West Fulton St. Developers hope to have the entire 12th floor ready by tour time, says Nick Koster, vice president of operations for CWD Real Estate Investment, one of the developer partners.

"We will have two model units ready on the 12th floor, but we're hoping that the whole floor will be complete with several apartments staged," Koster says.

The apartments sit atop the future home of the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA) which will occupy 40,000 square feet on levels one through five. The building fronts along S. Division Avenue, where another 2,700 square feet of retail space is still available.

Studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments make up the mix of residences. The units on the north side of the building have floor-to-ceiling windows; all of the sixth floor units share a band of glass that wraps the building, giving each of those apartments nearly floor-to-ceiling windows. The building will be LEED certified.

"From a quality standpoint, the apartments are much more like The Fitzgerald than anything we've done," Koster says. "But the styling is very contemporary and a different look than [developments] we've done in the past. All of the apartments have stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and the master baths have tile showers with glass doors."

There will also be a fitness room, laundry facilities in each apartment, and a rooftop deck for all residents, featuring a partially enclosed area with a concrete bar and flat screen television.

Leases range from $750 to $2,500 a month.

The Parade of Downtown Living runs from June 11-13.

Source: Nick Koster, CWD Real Estate Investment; 2010 Grand Rapids Parade of Downtown Living Facebook page

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

Kent County Habitat for Humanity renovates space for new HQ using green techniques

Deborah Johnson Wood

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has constructed 65 LEED-certified affordable homes in Kent County since the organization built the first one in the United States back in 2006.

Now the nonprofit has applied the same green philosophy to the rehabilitation of its future Grand Rapids headquarters, shooting for Silver LEED-NC in renovating the former Adelante High School, 425 Pleasant St. SW.

Half of the 9,000-square-foot building is contemporary open offices for the departments that oversee housing construction, family services and fund development. The other half contains executive offices and an 84-seat multipurpose conference center.

"Our current building is humble to say the least, we've always made do," says Chris Hall, director of construction. "To be able to design a building around how we work, we anticipate we'll be able to carry out our mission much more efficiently."

Inside, the eco-friendly features include high-efficiency HVAC systems and skylights that allow natural light to flood the workspace. Outside, two rain gardens will keep stormwater on-site.

"On the property behind the building, we will put in a nursery to grow plants we can use for landscaping the (Habitat) homes," says Mindy Miner, fund development associate.

Hall says Habitat's existing building, which is kitty-corner from the new facility, will become a storage warehouse for lumber and construction supplies.

Some of the current offices will become a bunkhouse-style room where out-of-town student and other volunteers can stay overnight on cots. The space includes an existing kitchen and showers.

Hall says construction of the new facility will run about $880,000. He says a $3 million capital campaign includes funding to add a loading dock and other updates to the existing building.

Christman Construction is the general contractor. Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber is the project architect and engineer.

Source: Chris Hall, Mindy Miner, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Development News tips can be sent to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.
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