Grand Rapids' Herkimer Hotel renovation, new Commerce Ave. buildings bring $29M affordable housing

Renovation of Grand Rapids' historic Herkimer Hotel building on S. Division Avenue and construction of two adjacent buildings on Commerce Avenue SW will bring 122 new affordable apartments, retail live/work residences, and office space to the city's south side.

The $29 million project is the last piece in revitalizing an entire city block owned by Dwelling Place, Inc. Construction has begun to convert the Herkimer Apartments (323 S. Division Ave.) from 122 mostly studio units to 55 larger one-bedroom apartments.

Construction of two new four-story buildings directly west on Commerce Ave. SW, between Goodrich and Bartlett streets, adds another 67 one-bedroom apartments to the mix. Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services will occupy 14,000 square feet on the first level to provide support services to the apartment residents and others in the area.

An elevated, enclosed walkway connects the Herkimer and Commerce Avenue buildings.

A new 13,550-square-foot infill addition to the north of the Herkimer building will replace a small surface parking lot and connect the Herkimer building to the existing Calumet Flats, also owned by Dwelling Place. The renovation includes construction of seven live/work apartments along S. Division Avenue.

"We are part of Housing First through the continuum of care, trying to find a way to not put people in shelters, but in apartments, and wrap the services they need around them so they can remain housed," says Director of Housing Development, Sr. Jarrett DeWyse, O.P.  "All 122 units are supportive housing, which means we give residents as much independence as they need and as much support as they need in order to remain housed. Forty-two of the units will be part of the Housing First program."

The new Herkimer Apartments will be completed by August 2013. The rest of the project will be complete by late fall.

Architectural design: Brian Winkelmann of DTS Winkelmann
Construction manager: Rockford Construction

Source: Jarrett DeWyse, Dwelling Place, Inc.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor