GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Some big projects will bring some big investments to downtown Grand Rapids. The City's Downtown Development Authority voted Wednesday morning to put its financial support behind three of those projects.
The support totals $94 million in private dollars by the time the last nail is pounded in.
24 Hour News 8 has reported about a few of the proposed projects:
- 20 East Fulton
- A high-rise that would house 108 renovated apartments.
- Arena Place
- Located southwest of Van Andel Arena.
- Would have offices and market-rate housing.
- Morton House at the corner of Monroe Center and Ionia Avenue NW
- Would have at least 100 market rate apartments and 25,000-square feet of retail space.
- Original facade will be renovated.
DDA officials said people living in the aforementioned apartment projects will generate over $5 million in spending downtown.
Out of all three projects, Morton House is probably the most recognizable. The building's history reflects the development of what is now Monroe Center.
Built in 1922 by J. Boyd Pantlind -- the same man who would eventually build the Pantlind and later the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel just up the street -- it was the last of the luxury hotels constructed downtown before the Great Depression. Kent State Bank, which later became Old Kent Bank, had space in the building.
Through the years, there were changes to both the physical structure and the tenant base. Four decades ago, the hotel was converted into low-rent apartments.
In recent years, the Morton House was more infamous than famous.
"It's been a little bit of a blighting influence for the last few years," Downtown Development Director Kris Larson said.
But a local developer wants to breath new life into the Morton House.
By the time the dust settles, the $21 million renovation project will be the last major piece to the revitalization of Monroe Center, bringing at least 100 market-rate apartments and 25,000 feet of retail space.
"There is a great vibrancy happening downtown right now. There's a resurgence of people waiting to live in the downtown area." said Mike Mraz, Vice President of Real Estate Development for the project's contractor Rockford Construction.
The DDA approved $120,000 in grants and guaranteed another $1.5 million in future tax collections will go back into the improvements around the more public areas of the building, including restoration of the building's original facade and removal of the building areaway, a section that extends from the Morton House basement under the sidewalk and a portion of Ionia Street.
The law allows the DDA to take the taxes collected within the authority boundaries and use them for specific projects that help boost the downtown economy.
"The DDA's support is vital to make a project like this happen," Mraz said.
The plan is to bring crews in to start working on the project this fall, and finish the project by the same time next year.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Police say snow made roads "treacherous" Sunday and urged people to stay home if possible.