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Proposed $2M project aims to build new restaurant, apartments near Grand Rapids' Medical Mile



Deborah Johnson Wood

A proposed $2 million mixed-use project could bring a restaurant, retail shops and apartments to the Belknap Lookout neighborhood in Grand Rapids, just a block north of Michigan Street's Medical Mile.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved conditional zoning for the one-third acre property on the northeast corner of Hastings St. and Coit Avenue. The project fits the cottage retail requirements of the Belknap Lookout Area Specific Plan approved by the city in September 2009.

Spearheading the project are Rod Horlings of Horlings Land Investments and Angel Gonzalez, a Belknap neighborhood resident and owner of Artesian Group, a real estate development company also in Belknap.

The partners plan to raze two houses on the property but first they want to sign on commercial and residential tenants to get bank financing.

Plans for the new building's main level include a 4,000-square-foot restaurant space and 2,500 square feet of retail. The second and third floors will have 11 market rate apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms.

"A lot of neighbors would like to see a Martha's Vineyard-type market in there," says Angel Gonzalez, adding that he's working to also attract a Pot Belly Sandwich Shop. "To be successful, we will need to pull people from the (medical facilities). A flower shop in one of the retail bays would be nice, or a coffee shop."

Gonzalez says the project might be the closest restaurant to the medical facilities, directly across the new Coit Street Bridge. He says the neighborhood wants a traffic circle at Hastings and Coit, and has started talks with the city to relocate the Charles Belknap statue from outside Griff's Icehouse, where few people see it, to one of the plaza areas adjacent to the new bridge.

"If this location is a success, it could be a catalyst for more development in the neighborhood," Gonzalez says.

Concept Design Group is the project architect.

Source: Angel Gonzalez, Artesian Group

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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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