Eyesores no more: empty buildings spur new economic energy on Michigan Street

Nearly an entire city block on Grand Rapids' Michigan St. NE is slated for a massive overhaul to transform several vacant and underused eyesores into updated medical offices, retail, and restaurants.

Third Coast Development Partners could begin renovation of the vacant Miller-Zylstra Lumber company building (833 Michigan St. NE) as early as the end of this month to transform the 11,000-square-foot space in a modern office for two doctors' groups, says Third Coast's co-owner Brad Rosely.

Rosely declines to name the groups, but says they'll move in around May 1, 2013, after the renovation adds a window wall along Michigan St., re-skins the structure with a new façade, and completely rebuilds the interior. Plans include recessing the building, which now sits tight to the sidewalk, to a 16-ft. setback.

The revamp includes a massive updating of the two-story brick building behind the lumber company (411 Houseman NE).

"It's a good, solid post and beam building that you can't duplicate anymore," Rosely says. "We have a restaurant looking at the first floor, a butcher shop looking at it, and a couple of medical users looking at the second floor. You're not going to recognize it with the new windows, new glass lobby for the second floor, and [with] a porch on it."

Rosely says the property spans the block east to west, from Houseman to Eastern Avenue NE. He projects the entire project will cost $5.6 million and could be complete by mid-2013.

An additional project to raze and renovate an old gas station on the corner of Eastern and Michigan could begin in November. That property will have a new convenience store and a car wash.

"The Michigan Street Corridor Plan had a lot of influence with our interest in this building," Rosely says. "To be able to stimulate the taxes that will last forever with this site [and] the jobs and future opportunities on the sites, these are huge benefits to the city."

Architect: Concept Design Group
Construction manager: Pioneer Construction

Source: Brad Rosely, Third Coast Development Partners
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor