GRAND RAPIDS — An active Grand Rapids housing developer is planning a six-story apartment building that includes repurposing a historic structure in the downtown Heartside neighborhood.
Karl Chew of Midland-based Brookstone Capital is proposing the housing project on a vacant surface parking lot along the north wall of an existing historic building at 78 S. Division Ave. Five floors of the new building are planned for residential use and the ground floor will be a parking garage.
The surface parking lot where the new construction is planned used to house a gas station. The existing three-story commercial building on the lot was built in 1900 and was formerly Tini Bikinis Bar & Grill. Heartside Ministry purchased the building in 2014 and later sold it to Brookstone Capital affiliate 78 South Division Avenue LLC in 2017, according to property records.
The city’s Historic Preservation Commission will consider the proposed development for conceptual approval at its Aug. 19 meeting. Chew is also seeking approval for general repairs and new windows for the three-story structure at 78 S. Division Ave. The proposed development will need formal approval from the Historic Preservation Commission in the future as well as planning commission approval.
Chew could not be reached for comment.
The new construction would be built onto the north wall of the historic building, which is made from brick and void of detailing on the other sides of the building. The buildings are proposed to be connected, and the historic building will undergo a complete renovation, according to an application filed with the preservation commission.
The addition will have a frontage of about 43 feet on Division Avenue and is planned to be nearly 73 feet tall with a garage and a penthouse in the northeast corner. Dark gray masonry is planned for the new structure, and most of the existing exterior materials of the historic building on the site are proposed to remain the same.
The developer plans to seek Low Income Tax Credits as well as Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits to restore the historic building. State Historic Preservation Architect Robbert McKay advised in an email included in the historic commission’s agenda packet that any addition more than six stories in height would not be accepted as part of the federal tax credit application.
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