City approves proposed $27M Grand Rapids Urban Market for next step, could see early 2013 opening

Despite concern over the question of adequate parking, the Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved the requested liquor licenses and site plans for the proposed $27M Grand Rapids Urban Market with the condition that a parking management plan be submitted and approved.

The market, a project led by Grand Action, the group behind development of the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place, will cover most of a city block at 435 Ionia Avenue SW and 109 Logan St. SW. It could be the first major project to extend the downtown shopping district south of Wealthy St.

The 3.5-acre site, bounded by Wealthy (north), Ionia (east), Logan (south) and US-131 (west), is the former home of the Sonneveldt Produce Company with six worn out warehouses that will be demolished in November.

The vision is to replace them with a 130,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor market that could include eateries, a brewpub, a retail incubator, a rooftop greenhouse, meeting space, office space and two commercial kitchens -- one for culinary education purposes and one to serve as an incubator for fledgling food-production businesses.

All of this is contingent on enough parking space onsite, or a viable parking plan that will accommodate peak shopping periods and increased traffic, says the Planning Commission. Requirements are 318 spaces onsite; plans thus far have just 200 spaces onsite, plus on-street parking. The expectation is that many shoppers will come by bus, the proposed Bus Rapid Transit which could be running by 2014, and by bicycle. Construction can begin once a parking plan is approved. Completion of the project could be spring 2013.

The property is owned by the Downtown Development Authority, which will lease it for 99 years to a corporate entity created by Grand Action, says Jay Fowler, DDA executive director. Fowler says the city “plans to reconstruct Ionia, Logan and McConnell streets over the next two years to greatly improve adequate access to the market and to Acme Insulations (100 Logan St. SW), and to separate the antiquated storm water and sanitary sewers.”

Architects: Design Plus and New Jersey-based Hugh Boyd.

Source: Sept. 22 Planning Commission meeting; Jay Fowler, Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority;
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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