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Wednesday, 08 April 2015 17:05

Grand Rapids DDA approves financing for downtown building renovation

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The Cornerstone Building in downtown Grand Rapids. The Cornerstone Building in downtown Grand Rapids. PHOTO: Nick Manes

The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority this morning approved three grants to support Rockford Construction’s estimated $3.5 renovation of 89 Ionia Ave. NW.

Known as the Cornerstone Building, it sits next to the Morton House which is currently being renovated by Rockford for an estimated $21 million.

Two different $35,000 grants will go to support sidewalk and streetscape improvements and capping an existing areaway, while a $50,000 grant will allow Rockford to do facade improvements, upgrade the fire suppression system and install a new elevator.

Mike Mraz, a partner at Rockford Development, told MiBiz that the company has signed a lease with a tenant for the building’s top sixth floor. He was unable to name the tenant or provide any specifics other than to mention that the company is new to the city of Grand Rapids and they are “attracted to the core for talent attraction efforts.”

Legal Aid of Western Michigan and Kendall College of Art and Design are both existing tenants and will remain in the building during renovations. In total, there are about two whole floors left to lease. Mraz also added that there is potential for ground floor retail if there is interest.

Lease rates for the Cornerstone Building are going for $14 per square foot triple net, Mraz said.

Renovations should be completed around late summer, approximately the same time as the Morton House project.

Rockford plans to add a snow melt system along Ionia Avenue. The development company’s goal is to activate the block between Fountain Street and Monroe Center and draw increased traffic to the Monroe Center corridor, Mraz said.

Other actions taken by the DDA Board included:

  • Providing up to $210,000 to assist in improving public space around the 25 Ottawa development across the street from the Van Andel Arena. The 90,000-square-foot building is currently undergoing a $5 million renovation after it was acquired by Illinois-based developer Franklin Partners LLC. The funds will be paid over a 10-year period and will include implementing a snowmelt system, planting trees and installing benches.
  • The board allocated $100,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of Finney Avenue and Williams and Bartlett Streets, located in the immediate vicinity of where Founders Brewing Company is currently expanding. The total reconstruction is budgeted at $3.4 million and is intended to improve streets and sidewalks around the area, as well as better manage stormwater runoff.
  • The DDA board also recommended approval of two liquor licenses for new, yet-to-open restaurants: Slows BBQ, which is preparing to open at the Downtown Market later this spring and The Wheelhouse, which is located in the Arena Place Development in the Arena South neighborhood. The licenses must receive final approval from the Grand Rapids City Commission and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

The Wheelhouse is operated by Meritage Hospitality Inc., the Grand Rapids-based owner and operator of Wendy’s restaurants, as well as the Twisted Rooster on the East Beltline and the Crooked Goose in Standale. Upon the opening of Arena Place, Meritage plans to move its corporate headquarters to the mixed-use development, as MiBiz has previously reported.

Read 5970 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 April 2015 20:52

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