GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The owner of Brann’s Steakhouse & Sports Grille and his son are working to give Leonard Street on Grand Rapids’ West Side a face-lift.
“Leonard Street is a gateway to the West Side,” Johnny Brann Sr. said.
He said he started buying up property near his restaurant on the north side of Leonard between Turner and Broadway avenues roughly 20 years ago. Now he wants to redevelop it.
There are currently three buildings on the lots: an apartment building, Brann’s catering and the West Grand Neighborhood Organization. Brann said he helped those tenants find new locations.
One of them, the West Grand Neighborhood Organization, said it is excited about Brann’s plan.
“The building has a lot of history, but things change,” the organization’s executive director Annette VanDenberg said. “Times change and change can really be a good thing.”
Brann and his son are waiting on a city permit to start demolition before putting up a 22,973 square feet mixed-use building. It would be one large, structure made out of brick and glass, extending from an alley in the middle of the block to Broadway Avenue.
“Even though this is going to be new, we want to have character for sure,” Brann said.
DeVries Jewelry next to Brann’s Steakhouse is planning to stay as it is, but the restaurant will get a new look inside and out.
“We are really excited that this could be a catalyst to continue that economic growth that we are seeing in Grand Rapids,” VanDenberg said.
Brann hopes to start building this December and expects to finish next summer.
He hopes that Leonard will soon see the same transformation that Bridge Street has undergone.
“The West Side is going to be the best side, always was and is, but it will be so much more improved and vibrant and we’re very excited about it,” Brann said.