As Rockford Constriction’s
new 18-unit complex at 600 Douglas Street NW looks for tenants to fill the three remaining units, VP of Business Development Jen Boezwinkle says the modern living space has drawn in a surprisingly diverse group of tenants since the first building opened for tenancy in July.
"Because of the proximity to GVSU, we thought we would have a lot of students,” Boezwinkle says. “Actually, 90 percent of our tenant make-up right now is not students. It's primarily young professionals, with some exceptions… We're finding a lot of people who don't think this is just GVSU territory. We're finding most of the people coming here really think of this as urban living.”
Although she hasn’t made any exact calculations, Boezwinkle says Living @ 600 Douglas
is one of the first multi-unit residential development projects to come to Grand Rapids’ west side in nearly a decade. The modern, 15,000-square-foot complex has three two-story buildings and one three-story building, each offering a mix of apartment styles and sizes that range in price anywhere from $975-$2,100 per month.
Although the complex is not LEED certified, she says Rockford Construction’s standard building practices include the use of recyclable materials and focus on energy efficiency.
With a small on-site parking lot, the complex sits on only four-tenths of an acre right up against houses located in a longtime residential Stockbridge neighborhood – an identity which Boezwinkle says Rockford Construction worked closely with city officials and neighborhood residents to build 600 Douglas within the framework of.
“The idea is not to change that or to in any way dilute from that market,” she says. “We think a really healthy downtown neighborhood is a mix of things and can support people being in different stages of their lives and understanding that some people don't want home ownership; some people don't want to rent something as large as a house.”
Though 600 Douglas is already within walking distance of Grand Rapids’ center city, Boezwinkle says the idea was to be part of fostering even more pedestrian and cyclist accessibility in the city as an entirety.
She also says as Bridge Street continues to fill up with more restaurants, bars and retail outlets, she hopes both 600 Douglas and the Stockbridge neighborhood as a whole continue to be home to a diverse group of residents, a concept Living @ 600 Douglas was quite literally built around.
“We think fundamentally diversity is a really good thing. Diversity in ethnicity, diversity in age, diversity in income levels - all of that helps in the sustainability of a neighborhood. We've been talking a little bit internally about complete neighborhoods and there's a lot of research going on around the country about complete neighborhoods and what makes good, long-term, sustainable neighborhoods,” Boezwinkle says.
“I think history kind of shows that the strongest neighborhoods have a lot of diversity,” she says. “So, that is kind of what we see going forward with future development, a good mix of things going on.”
Written by Anya Zentmeyer
Images courtesy of Rockford Construction & Bill Lindhout