Baker Lofts starts to take shape near the new Urban Market

In the post-apocalyptic setting of torn up streets, piles of dirt, concrete and steel near the new Urban Market construction site, the new Baker Lofts project is taking shape across the "street." This renovation of the 100-year-old Baker and Century Furniture Factory at the corner of Logan Street and Ionia Ave SW is the first catalyst project to accompany the construction of the Urban Market on Ionia Ave., south of Wealthy.

Back in 2009, Ann Arbor-based development firm HDC, led by East Grand Rapids native Bob Jacobson, began the process of securing MSHDA Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Historic Preservation Tax Credits to bring the long underused building back to life. The hope is to capitalize on the increased energy that will accompany the opening of the Urban Market, in an area south of Wealthy that has traditionally been a heavy industrial area of downtown.

The approximately $17.1 Million, 125,000-square-foot renovation project will be developed in two phases, the first of which will encompass 43 low income residential apartments. The second phase will add an additional 44 apartments and 15,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

In addition to the massive amount of work going on at the Urban Market site, set to open in Spring 2013, the streets around the market are seeing $3.2 Million in enhancements, including street rebuilding and streetscape improvements to Ionia Ave. from Wealthy to Buckley, Logan Street from Division Ave. to US-131, and McConnell Street from Division to Ionia.

Rockford Construction is serving as general contractor on the Baker Lofts project, and Concept Design Group as the architect.

Sources: Downtown Development Authority, Rockford Construction
Writer: Jeff Hill, Publisher
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