GRAND RAPIDS — A Detroit-based developer recently acquired three properties near downtown Grand Rapids as part of a larger mixed-use plan to redevelop the former Sligh Furniture Co. building.
Sturgeon Bay Partners, doing business as JV SBAM SA LLC, acquired 188 Wealthy St. SW, 190 Wealthy St. SW, and 440 Grandville Ave. SW on May 14 for a total of $5.3 million, according to property records. The three properties are on the same block as the massive Sligh Furniture building, which is planned to be redeveloped into 753 apartment units along with commercial and retail space.
Sturgeon Bay Partners co-founder John Gibbs told MiBiz that he expects to close on the purchase of the Sligh Furniture Co. building in the near future, which is the last major piece of real estate the company needs to acquire for the massive development.
Gibbs plans to redevelop nearly the whole block of land bordered by Wealthy Street SW, Grandville Avenue SW, Logan Street SW and Century Avenue SW in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood near downtown. The mixed-use development is planned to include 753 apartment units across three buildings, commercial space, a cafe, a five-story parking garage and a central plaza that could hold a variety of events open to the public.
“We’re excited to start working with different types of neighborhood organizations for programming for the public square. It’s a big project and these things take time,” Gibbs said. “It’s important to make sure they’re done right.”
Gibbs expects the entire development will cost “north of $100 million.” He is working with a Connecticut-based partner originally from Michigan to finance the project. Gibbs started looking at the project — which would be his first in Grand Rapids — more than a year ago, and he is open to potentially more projects in the city.
The Sligh factory project calls for a “healthy mix” of commercial and retail tenants in the development, Gibbs said. He has started reaching out to businesses in hopes of bringing a grocery store as a tenant, he added.
“We also intend to start working with The Rapid and other transportation groups,” Gibbs said. “We haven’t sat down with them yet but we would love to add a stop at our site and make it as pedestrian and biker friendly as possible with bike lanes and Uber drop-offs and pickup areas.”
The project is “pretty far along” in identifying one construction group for its ground-up construction and will also work with a developer on the renovation of the historic Sligh building, Gibbs said. Aligned Planning is consulting on the project, Boston-based Touloukian Touloukian Inc. is the project architect, and Grand Rapids-based Barnes & Thornburg LLP serves as legal adviser.
The project has received some backlash from current tenants operating out of the Sligh building, including multiple antique stores that could potentially be displaced by the development.
“While we understand the need for affordable and workforce housing, we would still love to figure out a way to make sure some of the tenants can still call the Sligh building home,” Gibbs said. “I still have not heard from any of them directly but we still plan to work with them.”
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