Construction begins on $13M downtown Grand Rapids Serrano Lofts, Division Park apartments

Construction to renovate three historic Grand Rapids buildings in the Heartside neighborhood into low-cost urban apartments begins on Feb. 14 with 17 Williams St. NE, the first of the three to undergo renovation.

Midland-based developer Brookstone Capital, Inc., the company that dipped its toe into Grand Rapids' multi-million dollar redevelopment scene with projects like Metropolitan Park Apartments and 101 S. Division, plans to transform 209 and 217 S. Division Ave. into Division Park, with 30 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, including six live/work units on the ground level.

Around the corner, Serrano Lofts (17 Williams) will offer 15 one- and two-bedroom units.

"209 was originally built in 1911 as a hotel for furniture buyers who came into town during the furniture boom," says Aaron Jonker, project manager for Wolverine Building Group, the company handling construction. "It was billed as having indoor plumbing because it had two bathrooms for guests."

Jonker expects the renovations, which are actually two separate projects, to receive LEED Silver certification. He expects LEED points will be given for green features including the reuse of buildings in a core city, proximity to transit, renovation of obsolete buildings (brownfield), and installation of high efficiency HVAC systems.

Renovation of the buildings' exteriors includes replacing the windows with historically accurate and energy efficient types and cleaning and tuckpointing the brick facades. Norton Shores-based Concept Design Studio handled the architectural design.

The expected project cost is $13 million, writes Brookstone's Development Coordinator Shawna Bergman in an email dated Feb. 7. She adds that public funding (approximately $12.4 million) will come from several sources: state and federal historic tax credits; MSHDA low-income housing tax credits; brownfield tax credits; City of Grand Rapids HOME Loan monies; and Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority grants.

"I think these two projects have an opportunity to be a driver for development," Jonker says. "(The business district) has had some issues with keeping businesses in the area and the more people we can bring down there, the better."

Source: Aaron Jonker and Danielle Wells, Wolverine Building Group; Shawna Bergman, Brookstone Capital, LLC
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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