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Sunday, 20 September 2015 20:05

Developer plans two independent projects in Creston neighborhood

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GRAND RAPIDS — Developer Bradley Hartwell aims to take the skills he’s learned in his real estate career and transfer them to two independent projects in his former neighborhood.

Hartwell, a development associate at Rockford Development who grew up in the Creston neighborhood just north of downtown Grand Rapids, said he sees an opportunity to be part of the growth in that area, where other developers have announced multiple new projects in the last year.

Independent of his work with Rockford, Hartwell acquired two vacant buildings at 1224 Plainfield Ave. and 1309 Plainfield Ave. with plans to turn them into mixed-use projects with ground-floor retail and upper-level apartments. The developer plans to live in the unit above 1309 Plainfield Ave.

“How can I use my ability and real estate knowledge to clean out some of the vacant buildings?” Hartwell said of his desire to work on the projects. “It’s a good place to buy and invest. It’s kind of like the West Side — there’s already established businesses there. I want to be respectful and thankful of them for keeping the lights on. It’s nice to come back and do some infill projects alongside what is already there.”

Hartwell said he’s working on each of the projects on his own time and noted that neither of them involve his employer, Rockford Development.

Plans for the 1224 Plainfield Ave. project call for 1,340 square feet of ground-floor retail and three-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors that will rent for $1,500 per month. Hartwell said he continues to seek a tenant for the retail space.

However, he already has a tenant lined up for the 1,617-square-foot retail space at the 1309 Plainfield building. The tenant, which he was unable to name at this time, currently operates in Grand Rapids and was looking to expand, he said.

Last week, the North Quarter Corridor Improvement District, a tax incremental financing district aimed at specific neighborhoods around the city, recommended that the Grand Rapids City Commission approve both of Hartwell’s projects.

The commission will hold a public hearing on the developments on Oct. 13, city officials confirmed to MiBiz.

Hartwell’s two projects in the Creston corridor come at a time of significant growth for the neighborhood. Grand Rapids-based 616 Development LLC plans two mixed-use projects in the area, as MiBiz has previously reported. Other plans in the area include a microbrewery slated for 1504 Plainfield Ave. and an upscale bistro and cafe at 1747 Plainfield Ave., the former D’Amico Food Mart facility, according to reports.

Urban planners have long touted the area as a prime spot for redevelopment because of its proximity to downtown Grand Rapids and to transit connections.

Reflecting on the neighborhood and its growth, Hartwell said the Creston neighborhood shares many similarities with the Bridge Street corridor where his employer is particularly active in redevelopment.

Hartwell pointed to established businesses that have operated in the Creston neighborhood for years such as Graydon’s Crossing bar and restaurant, Sun Title Agency LLC and The Bradley Salon, owned by his mother.

Between the work of the aforementioned developers and business owners and those coming to the neighborhood, the Creston neighborhood is on its way to becoming an area where residents can live, work and play, Hartwell said.

“I want to come home from work, park my car and not drive it again until the next day. I want to be able to walk to everything,” Hartwell said, adding that many of the existing restaurants, shops and professional services allow for that. “I’d like to see no more vacancy.”

Read 5137 times Last modified on Monday, 28 September 2015 10:44

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