GRAND RAPIDS — Board members of the Historic Preservation Commission tonight decided to delay the request of a Portage-based developer seeking to build what would be Grand Rapids’ tallest building.
HPC board members said they felt the request by The Hinman Co. lacked the overall design details needed to grant a Certificate of Appropriateness for the proposed 42-story tower at 10 Ionia NW to move forward.
In a 5-2 vote, the board resolved that they could approve the overall height of the proposed 418-foot hotel and apartment tower in concept, but they required more details on the building’s facade and design concepts to allow it to more forward.
Members of the commission agreed the wedge-shaped parcel bounded by Fulton Street, Louis Street and Ionia Avenue would require a unique design given that it falls just within the northern boundaries of a historic district where height restrictions and design details can be mandated. The proposed building would be built on the site of what’s currently an approximately 11,000-square-foot surface parking.
“This is a beginning point,” Board Chair Emily Uebbing said of the various materials provided by Hinman executives.
The project also includes renovating a Hinman-owned parking garage located at the northeast corner of Ionia Avenue and Louis Street, directly across from the proposed tower.
For their part, executives from the Hinman Company — speaking publicly for the first time tonight on the proposed project — argued that the site of the building should be thought of as being on the north side of Fulton Street and therefore more compatible with buildings outside of the historic district.
“Adding a building is more historically significant than leaving a parking lot,” said James Pollock, Hinman’s general counsel. “We believe the project is appropriate because the parking lot won’t be affected by adding a building.”
Speaking after the HPC meeting, Hinman COO Rich MacDonald told reporters the developers will work with the commission to get more specific details, ideally in time for the plans to be presented at the group’s next public meeting.
“I think this is absolutely a win,” MacDonald told reporters of the commission’s decision, referring specifically to the allowance of the proposed height. “In order to do great projects, you have to work together with all the stakeholders in making sure you fully explain what you’re trying to accomplish.”
MiBiz was the first to break news of the proposed tower in a June 23 story.