GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The owners of a $14.6 million development that will replace the former YMCA on Grand Rapids’ West Side are sharing their vision for the project.

Victory on Leonard will be built at 900 Leonard Street NW, located between Widdicomb and Fremont avenues.

(An Oct. 28, 2020 photo shows the former Geek Group building at 902 Leonard Street NW in Grand Rapids.)

Co-developer Jack Hoedeman says the building’s name was inspired by a photo of his grandfather’s West Side home, which had a World War II “victory garden.” Project stakeholders are hoping to pay tribute to the development’s namesake with a rooftop or community garden.

“We thought that was a great way to connect the building with the community,” Hoedeman told News 8 Wednesday.


Victory on Leonard will contain 119 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments as well as workout and community rooms. Hoedeman says each apartment will have a bike storage space, “really good” amenities, lots of windows to provide natural light and a balcony.

“People want to live alone because of COVID, so this is a way for them to live without a roommate and still get that outdoor feel with a balcony,” Hoedeman said.

(A rendering provided by co-developer Jeff Royce shows what the interior of a two-bedroom apartment at Victory on Leonard is expected to look like.)

An 1,800-square-foot space on Victory on Leonard’s ground floor will be dedicated to retail. While no tenants have been chosen, Hoedeman favors adding a coffee shop.

Zeeland Lumber & Supply has been picked to supply wood needed for the project and developers plan to source materials locally whenever possible, according to Hoedeman. Victory on Leonard is also working on hiring minority-owned, women-owned and micro-local contractors for more than 15% of the project as part of its bid for a 15-year Neighborhood Enterprise Zone tax break.


Hoedeman says Victory on Leonard is aiming to have the most electric vehicle charge stations of any place in Grand Rapids, with 35 planned for its covered carports. The development will have an additional 55 parking spots in its on-site surface lot.

Victory on Leonard is also working with the Rapid to install a covered bus shelter next to the property.

“We want to give the people that live in that Leonard corridor lots of different transportation options,” said Hoedeman.

Victory on Leonard’s apartments will embrace the tiny living trend with apartments ranging from 338-square-feet for a studio to 792-square-feet for a two-bedroom unit. Hoedeman says the move to smaller space is “more cost effective,” leading to lower rent rates than other apartments nearby. Plans outlined for the city list Victory on Leonard’s rates at $930 to $1,500 a month, depending on apartment size.

Housing is in high demand in Grand Rapids. The Westside Corridor Improvement Authority says Bowen National Research determined the city would need 1,469 new apartments by 2025 for the income group Victory on Leonard is targeting with its rent rates. The authority says the study showed Grand Rapids will also add another 751 households whose income falls within that range during that same time period.


On March 24, the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is expected to take up Victory on Leonard’s request for a nearly $1 million tax capture to help pay for asbestos mitigation and site cleanup. The city commission would schedule public hearings thereafter.

Hoedeman says demolition is on track to start in mid-April with construction starting in mid-June. He expects Victory on Leonard to be ready for move-in in June 2022.