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900 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. SW in Grand Rapids. 900 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. SW in Grand Rapids. COURTESY PHOTO

Supermercado Mexico owner plans $4.1M renovation to vacant south side GR building

BY Friday, June 24, 2022 02:41pm

GRAND RAPIDS — The co-owner of Supermercado Mexico grocery stores plans to invest $4.1 million to redevelop a vacant property into retail and office space in the city’s Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

Javier Olvera, co-owner of the Hispanic grocery store chain with three locations in Grand Rapids and Wyoming, is leading the development through 900 Cesar E. Chavez Property LLC. The project at 900 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW and 919 Caulfield Ave. SW would create 55 jobs, according to plans filed with the city.

“One of the main reasons we purchased this is we saw the potential,” Olvera told MiBiz. “We knew that with the growth of Grand Rapids, this would be a good remodeling project and investment. We saw this as a big opportunity for us to do something there.”

Renovation work could start in April 2023 to open a Supermercado Mexico on the ground floor of 900 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW, Olvera said. Olvera owns Supermercado Mexico with his wife, his brother and his brother’s wife.

“We are still not sure, but we want to remodel the building to have a future retail business or service and an office space on the second floor,” Olvera said. “We see it as a good investment.”

The proposed project is located in a city-designated Neighborhood of Focus and would meet “multiple objectives” in the city’s Strategic Plan and Equitable Economic Development and Mobility Strategic Plan, according to city officials. That includes “increasing the number and diversity of developers, property owners, and businesses participating in economic development programs” and “supporting the creation, retention, and growth of business, specifically minority and locally-owned businesses,” according to the city’s Economic Development Department.

The Grandville Avenue Business Association and the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association both support the project.

Javier OlveraJavier OlveraThe ground floor would feature 17,325 square feet of retail space. More than 14,000 square feet of office space on the second floor would be used by Supermercado Mexico and other office tenants, Olvera said.

The development team is seeking reimbursement for up to $897,556 for eligible brownfield activities on the site including demolition, lead and asbestos abatement, site preparation and public infrastructure improvements. The Grand Rapids City Commission will consider brownfield incentives for the project during a July 12 public hearing.

The city in March of 2018 approved an original brownfield plan for the property that allowed for Local Brownfield Revolving Fund grants to pay for initial environmental assessments, which have been completed.

Olvera purchased the property about seven years ago, according to property records. Previously planned renovation work was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

“The help from Grand Rapids as far as the brownfield plan is very needed because all of the prices in construction are increasing,” Olvera said.

A former Steelcase Inc. mechanical designer, Olvera — who also is a previous board member for the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce — owns La Tapatia and La Mexicana Bakery with the same ownership group behind Supermercado Mexico.

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Read 4467 times Last modified on Friday, 24 June 2022 14:47
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