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Third Coast Development plans to build 44 apartments and commercial space for a site on Michigan Avenue currently occupied by a vacant storefront and two single-family homes. Third Coast Development plans to build 44 apartments and commercial space for a site on Michigan Avenue currently occupied by a vacant storefront and two single-family homes. PHOTO: Nick Manes

Third Coast Development eyes Michigan Street for more apartments

BY Friday, September 30, 2016 11:32am

GRAND RAPIDS — Third Coast Development LLC continues to invest in projects along Michigan Street to the east of downtown Grand Rapids.

The Grand Rapids-based development and property management firm plans another 44 apartments and 3,800 square feet of commercial space on the north side of Michigan Street between Grand and Benson Avenues, near the so-called “Medical Mile.”

According to documents filed with the city, the developer describes 37 of the apartments as “microunits,” largely less than 450 square feet each, with the remainder of the units offering two bedrooms.

The site currently has two single-family homes and a vacant storefront, all owned by affiliate firms of Third Coast Development. The firm did not apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), a tool commonly used for gap financing when building affordable housing.

Rather, Third Coast Principal Max Benedict said the firm aims to target the “missing middle,” or people who don’t qualify for LIHTC housing but can’t afford existing market-rate units.

“It’s a problem we need to address,” Benedict said, adding that he expects all of the efficiency units to be priced less than $1,000.

The project will feature 18 on-site parking spaces and offer incentives to tenants who don’t park a car onsite. Benedict said the company plans to build considerable bike racks and storage and will construct a covered bus stop right outside of the development.

Under city zoning, developers can cut down on their required parking by building such infrastructure.

The developer also expects to attract an unnamed bar and restaurant with dancing and entertainment for the commercial space.

Additionally, the site sits right in front of the proposed 287-unit Rise Real Estate apartment project north of Michigan Street. Benedict told MiBiz that the company hopes to enter a contract with Rise that would allow some of its tenants to use the other development’s on-site parking garage.

Moreover, the Michigan and Benson site is within a few blocks of at least four other Third Coast Development-owned properties, including Diamond Place, a proposed project that would bring affordable housing and a possible grocery store to the neighborhood.

Benedict said the company hopes to begin demolition of the former Proos Manufacturing plant in the coming weeks.

Construction at the Michigan and Benson site is more than a year away, he said.

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