GRAND RAPIDS — A second site tied to a failed development firm in Grand Rapids’ Creston neighborhood is attracting interest from a new developer.
Talbot Development LLC proposes a 72-unit mixed-use apartment building at 220 Quimby St. NE across the street from Creston Brewery. The parcel at the southeast corner of Plainfield Avenue and Quimby Street has long sat vacant and was the site of a separate mixed-use plan from 2020 that never materialized.
Talbot Development owner Ryan Talbot is under contract to purchase the property from Isaac Oswalt, doing business as North End Lofts LLC, for the construction of Hillcrest Apartments. Oswalt was part of The Establishment Group LLC, a group of investors including Derek Coppess that previously sought to develop apartments at the Quimby Street parcel. Coppess previously planned to develop the site through his former company 616 Lofts LLC, which filed for bankruptcy in 2018.
Talbot said he is not closely familiar with the property’s history, although he plans to add more density than previous plans and include clean energy components to help ensure the long-term success of the project.
“I look at a project and think I ought to be designing it as a 100-year commitment,” Talbot said. “I want to make sure it’s done as well as I can do it, and have it be future-focused, not just whatever is the cheapest way to do it today.”
The site plan calls for rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot and bike storage for residents. Talbot also is considering making the building fully electric-powered.
“We’re going to put as many sustainability aspects into this project as we can,” Talbot said.
Construction on Hillcrest Apartments could tentatively start by the end of April 2023 and wrap up by the summer of 2024, Talbot said. Grand Rapids-based Pinnacle Construction Group Inc. is designing and building the project.
The 45,000-square-foot building would contain about 1,000 square feet of commercial space for a cafe and 72 total apartments. The residential component of the building would comprise 49 studio apartments that are 350 square feet, 20 one-bedroom units that average 475 square feet and three two-bedroom units at about 1,065 square feet.
“This building is one story taller than (previous development plans) and there is ground-floor residential planned, so this is a bit of an evolution and will provide more housing units than what was proposed before,” Talbot said. “More retail was planned by other developers, but that’s really hard to fill nowadays.”
Talbot has experience developing similar urban infill projects in the Pacific Northwest, where he used to live, he said. Talbot recently moved back to southeast Michigan, where he grew up, to raise his children closer to his parents.
“I came back not only for family reasons, but also because I’m really bullish on the Great Lakes region for real estate development,” Talbot said. “Eventually I’d like to expand and do other projects here, but this is really my only focus at the moment in terms of development projects.”
The Grand Rapids Planning Commission on Dec. 8 will consider a 50-percent parking waiver for the Hillcrest Apartments site plan. The development calls for 28 parking spaces on site and leased access to 40 parking spaces on an adjacent city parking lot.
The project also has neighborhood support, a key distinction from past proposals. The Creston Neighborhood Association Board voted on Oct. 11 to support the development.
A number of businesses moved into the Creston Neighborhood years ago after 616 Lofts LLC announced plans for a pair of mixed-use developments at 220 Quimby St. NE and at the nearby 1329 Plainfield Ave. Neither project ever came to fruition.
Like the Quimby site, a new developer also has plans for the Plainfield Avenue property once slated for a 616 Lofts project.
First Companies Inc. has started demolition on the former Break Room bar site and an adjacent building, where it plans to construct a four-story, mixed-use apartment building at the Plainfield Avenue location, as MiBiz previously reported. First Companies aims to complete the project by the first quarter of 2024.