February 4, 2023
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Grand Rapids seeks $13.7 million for 10 housing, business projects

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The city of Grand Rapids is seeking $13.7 million for 10 housing and business development projects from a federally funded grant program designed to support revitalization and placemaking efforts in Michigan communities.

Eight of the projects are focused on housing, four of which would include income-restricted units financed using low-income housing tax credits. The remaining two are for corporate headquarters and a grocery store, according to project summaries provided by the city.

The city applied for the funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s revitalization and placemaking grant program. The $100 million program was created using federal pandemic relief dollars.

Communities from across the state are seeking the funds, with award notifications expected later this summer, according to the city. The city selected its 10 projects from 51 project applications that were submitted for consideration.

Here’s a look at the 10 projects:

Academy Manor

The city is seeking $800,000 for a housing development, by PK Development Group and Third Coast Development, being done in collaboration wit the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids at 2025 Fulton Street E.

The project, whose total price tag is $31.7 million, will split the five-story Mother House building on the Marywood Campus will be split into three condominium units. Two of those units will include 108 units of senior housing, while the third will include a kitchen, dining area, chapel and conference area.

The project is expected to be financed in part through low-income housing tax credits.

2017 Eastern SE

Located at 2017 Eastern Ave. SE, the project will renovate a two-story building near the corner of Burton and Eastern. The project will renovate the building into 16 apartments, which includes a mix of one-bedroom units, studios and live-work units.

The project, whose total price tag is $3.8 million, is seeking $1.2 million from the MEDC grant program. The units are expected to be restricted to renters from 55% to 80% of Kent County’s area median income.

Amplify GR

Amplify GR, a nonprofit group seeking to redevelop the Boston Square business district, is seeking a $2.5 million grant. The group is seeking assistance for two buildings, 1480 Kalamazoo Ave. SE and 1534 Kalamazoo Ave. SE. The total price tag is $20.6 million.

The project, which is expected to include funding from low-income housing tax credits, would have a mixture of income restricted units and market rate units. It would also include retail space and a food hall with a focus on local restaurant start ups.

Commonwealth Development – Lexington Apartments

Lexington School Apartments is an adaptive reuse of the historic Lexington school building, 45 Lexington Ave. NW. The project, by Commonwealth Development Corporation of America, is expected to cost $12.3 million. A $900,000 grant is being sought for the project.

The project would create 24 one bedroom units and 15 two-bedroom units.

900 Cesar E. Chavez Ave SW

The project, whose total price tag is estimated at $4.1 million, would renovate a building at 900 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW. The second floor would house corporate office space for Corporative Olvera, which is affiliated with the owner of Hispanic grocery chain Supermercado Mexico.

The first floor could be split into space for three to five retailers. A Hispanic grocery store chain has also discussed opening there, according to an application from the city.

The city and applicant are seeking a $975,000 grant for the project.

Eastpointe Commons

This is a project to redevelop the former Fulton Manor property, 1450 Fulton E., into a 56-unit apartment develop. The project would be financed in part through state low-income housing tax credits, and its units would be reserved for low- to moderate-income residents.

The total project cost is $22.7 million, and the city and developer are seeking $995,000 in grant funding. The building’s units would be reserved for individuals earning between 30% and 60% of Kent County’s area median income. Some units will be reserved for people who have experienced chronic homelessness and other special needs, according to materials provided by the city. Staff to support residents will be based on site.

Array of Engineers

Array of Engineers, an engineering firm based in Grand Rapids, is seeking to create a headquarters at 217 Eugene St. SE. The project’s estimated cost is $5 million, and the company and city are requesting a $999,000 grant.

The company’s new space would include offices, electronic workshops and labs, manufacturing space, and an area for events such as youth camps focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

MoTown Square Affordable Senior Apartments

The proposed project includes construction of a four-story, 54-unit affordable assisted living senior apartments at 240 Hall St. SE. The project, which is expected to be funded by low-income housing tax credits, is seeking a $995,000 grant. Its total price tag is $15.3 million.

“The first floor will contain three (3) one-bedroom apartments, with the remaining consisting of common area for benefit of the apartment residents,” according to the city’s grant application.

“The first floor has a lobby, staff offices, fitness room, kitchen, dining room(s), community room, laundry, and mechanical rooms. Each of floors 2-4 has 17 one- bedroom apartments, a lobby and stairwells/elevator and mechanical. The building does not contain any commercial uses. The apartments are independent living apartments and do not require any licensing from the state.”

Pinnacle Ventures – 974 Front NW

This project would renovate a three-building complex into 12 apartments, eight studios and four one-bedroom units. The developer’s “intent” is to target renters earning between 60% and 80% of Kent County’s area median income. It would also include 35,000 square feet of office space designed as a hybrid co-working and business incubator space.

Developers are seeking historical tax credits for the project, whose total price tag is estimated at $13.9 million, according to the city. It’s also seeking a $2.8 million grant from the MEDC revitalization and placemaking funds.

The project’s application says office tenants will have the ability to bike to work as the building is located on a bike lane that connects to downtown Grand Rapids, Riverside Park and the White Pine trail.

“We hope to help incubate successful startups and small businesses that will grow out of our space, so we can help them develop permanent office space.,” according to the project’s MEDC grant application. “The residential portion of the building’s utility usage will be all electric, utilizing heat pumps for heating, cooling, and hot water, with the electricity being partially offset by rooftop solar generation.”

United Methodist Community House – 900 Division Ave SE

This project would expand the United Methodist Community House property at 904 Sheldon Ave. SE. It would include 46 units of affordable senior housing, a fresh market “with an affordable model for low-income customers,” as well as a senior activity center that would provide three hot meals a day for seniors in collaboration with Meals on Wheels of Western Michigan.

It would also include a new child development center with six classrooms designed for children from ages six weeks to age, and “an inter-generational center to practice and study the benefits of engagement between the younger and older,” according to the application.

The development would be managed by the nonprofit United Methodist Community House.

The project’s total price tag is $14.1 million. It has received state low-income housing tax credits that are equivalent to $10 million. The nonprofit and city are seeking a $1.5 million MEDC placemaking and revitalization grant for the project.

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