Eight urban apartments, a butchery, a cozy tasting room filled with delectable spirits, and a personal fitness center have synergistically evolved out of what was once a decaying wasteland in the 800 block of Grand Rapids' Michigan Street NE.
The redevelopment of the two-acre parcel that includes the former Miller-Zeilstra Lumber building and a two-story brick warehouse has spurred much activity and anticipation that developers Third Coast Development Partners
hope is a sign of what's to come.
The result of the yearlong renovation is yet to be revealed, but to-date all retail spaces are leased and under construction. Grand Butchers, Flat Landers Barstillery, and SNAP Fitness have all set sights on opening soon.
, owned by Lacey Dryer, Margie Zichterman, and Tim VanDort, will offer grain-fed beef, organic and non-organic meats, a signature kielbasa, sausages, and a full line of marinades and rubs, including several made in-house. Fresh turkeys will be available for Thanksgiving orders soon.
"Michigan Street is booming right now and there's nothing like this around here," Dryer says. "We'll smoke our own meats and make our own jerky."
Both women worked for Bob's Butcher Block
in Holland, but had set their sights on starting a butcher shop of their own. The day of Rapid Growth's visit, they were busy applying stain to the market displays while electricians worked in the kitchen area.
Next door, Matt Scarbrough of Flat Landers Barstillery was ready to begin construction of a wooden walkway that will lead customers into the tasting room area. The shop, owned by Scarbrough, Robert Grimes, Greg Palazollo, and Josh Brugger, will feature its own spirits produced and bottled by a distillery in Three Oaks, MI. Customers can try white whiskey, rum, vodka, and gin, plus Michigan craft beers and Michigan wines. A simple food menu will offer small plates and salads.
"Customers enter through the old warehouse's loading docks to the tasting bar," Scarbrough says, indicating the area where the wooden ramp leads to an as-yet-unfinished wrap-around bar in the center of the shop. About four feet below are the old truck wells, which will be a lounge area. Scarbrough hopes to open the first part of December.
will occupy the third and final retail space. Michigan Street Optical
now occupies all of the 11,000-square-foot lumberyard building, and Lumber Yard Lofts has leased seven of the eight apartments in the warehouse.
"We had been looking at this property for years," says Brad Rosely of Third Coast Development Partners. "We leased all the space and didn't even put a sign up; people were calling us to lease the space."
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Photography: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Eyesores no more: empty buildings spur new economic energy on Michigan Street