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
31 apartments underway near Grand Rapids' Cooley Law with development of Grand Central Lofts