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A rendering of Wheeler Development Group’s original mixed-use Robinson Flats proposal in Grand Rapids’ Eastown. A rendering of Wheeler Development Group’s original mixed-use Robinson Flats proposal in Grand Rapids’ Eastown. Rendering courtesy of Ghafari Associates Inc.

4-story Eastown apartment project halted as construction costs rise

BY Monday, June 13, 2022 02:14pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Wheeler Development Group LLC has halted plans for a 39-unit, mixed-use apartment development in Grand Rapids’ Eastown neighborhood because of escalating construction costs and interest rates, MiBiz has learned.

The four-story Robinson Flats project planned for 1407, 1409 and 1417 Robinson Road SE included retail space on the ground floor. The site plan called for demolishing some of the existing buildings on property proposed for the development. The market-rate apartments were set to include studios, one- and two-bedroom units, as well as underground parking.

Wheeler Development reached an agreement with property owner Ufuk Turan, doing business as 1411 Robinson LLC, to “hold off” on pursuing the development, said Wheeler Development Communications Director Jason Wheeler. 

“We sure hope we’re able to be welcomed into Eastown when we have a viable product that we feel would be mutually beneficial for residents,” Wheeler said. “When we were bidding it out every two weeks, a supplier would notify us about materials (cost) increases and interest rates going up from the bank. Those factors combined made us and our partner say we need to hold off.”

The project — which was first made public a year ago — came in “way over budget,” primarily because of the planned underground parking component of the development plans.

The cost of construction materials and services for nonresidential construction increased by nearly 21 percent in April 2022 compared to April 2021, according to the latest data from Associated General Contractors of America. 

Wheeler Development Group altered its original concept after holding community meetings with residents and the Eastown Community Association last year. The community association board voted in September 2020 to support the development’s request for city brownfield tax incentives. Alterations included aesthetic changes, the removal of originally proposed ground-floor apartments, and considering landscape buffering around the development.

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Read 4271 times Last modified on Monday, 13 June 2022 14:21
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