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Rendering of CWD Real Estate Investment’s 50 Monroe Avenue project Rendering of CWD Real Estate Investment’s 50 Monroe Avenue project COURTESY RENDERING

CWD moves forward with 50 Monroe renovation in downtown Grand Rapids

BY Wednesday, February 08, 2017 09:42am

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority board this morning agreed to provide tax increment financing to support a mixed-use hotel development in the core downtown business district.

A subsidiary of commercial developer CWD Real Estate Investment Inc. will receive up to $894,850 in TIF reimbursement over 13 years for a redevelopment project at 50 Monroe Ave. NW, where the company plans to develop a hotel and “hip loft” office space.

The company’s plans call for a $42 million investment in the facilities, which were initially built as three buildings in 1890, according to Kent County records. They were later combined into one building.

CWD intends to separate the buildings into two, which includes separating utilities and various other parts of the infrastructure, CWD Managing Partner Sam Cummings told MiBiz in an email.

“I haven’t been this excited about a building rehab for quite a long time,” Cummings said. “It’s gonna be fun to bring this old lady back into the light.”

Upon completion of the renovation — which involves removal of a facade installed in the 1980s, AC Hotels By Marriott reportedly has signed on to establish a 120- to 130-room hotel facing Monroe Avenue. The part of the facility that faces Ottawa Avenue will be upgraded for modern office space.

The newly opened 20 Monroe Live concert venue sits immediately south of the building.

An existing surface parking lot immediately north of the building will remain available for parking for the time being, said CWD Vice President of Operations Nick Koster, adding the company hopes to develop on that site in the future.

The Grand Rapids-based arm of radio and digital media company Townsquare Media Inc. will remain an anchor tenant in the office redevelopment, Cummings said.

He declined to specify any other tenants that may be looking at the space.

“We’re not in a hurry,” Cummings said of the ongoing 50 Monroe redevelopment in a previous MiBiz report. “We want to do the right thing for the long term. For our own pocketbooks, it’s better if (absorption) happens closer to the time we renovate, but we want to get the right uses. People respond to a good product.”

CWD will use the TIF funds for public infrastructure investment and making the redeveloped structures compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to a letter to the DDA from Jared Belka with Grand Rapids-based Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, the company’s attorney.

CWD acquired the 50 Monroe building in 2012. Since that time, occupancy in the building has slowly decreased, which was the subject of litigation in 2014, as MiBiz reported at the time.

Since acquiring the building, CWD has considerably lowered rents in attempts to lease office space, but has been largely unsuccessful in leasing up the building, according to Koster.

“Thirty years later, the building has not stood the test of time,” Koster said.

One of downtown Grand Rapids’ largest property owners, CWD has been bullish on the need for upgraded office space in the downtown area. In recent months, the company launched renovations on the building at 250 Monroe Ave. NW and acquired the 330,000-square-foot Fifth Third Bancorp. campus at 111 Lyon St. NW for $31 million, as MiBiz first reported.

Read 11787 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 10:06