Cleanup funding OK’d for Vandenburg Center revamp in GR

Grand Rapids

A rendering shared by CWD Real Estate Investment in November 2019 shows the proposed redevelopment of 111 Lyon Street NW in Grand Rapids.
(AMDG Architects/CWD Real Estate Investment/Triangle)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A multimillion dollar project to redevelop downtown Grand Rapids’ iconic Vandenburg Center is getting financial support from the state.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board Tuesday approved a Brownfield Act 381 Work Plan that would capture about $5.7 million in state and city taxes for cleaning up the sites at 111 Lyon Street NW and 200 Monroe Avenue NW.

Approximately $4.4 million of the funds are from the state. The majority of the money would go toward asbestos abatement.

downtown grand rapids lyon street nw granite wall
(A Nov. 18, 2019 photo shows the long granite wall on Lyon Street NW in downtown Grand Rapids before teardown.)

CWD Real Estate Investment’s first step in the Lyon Street project was to tear out the granite wall bordering the street.

The developer plans to renovate the ground floor of the Lyon Street building into retail space next.

Crews have also started installing approximately 5,400 square feet of heated sidewalks alongside both buildings.

(An Aug. 25, 2020 photo shows heated sidewalks being installed near the corner of Lyon Street and Monroe Avenue NW in downtown Grand Rapids.)

Sam Cummings with CWD told News 8 in November the goal is to make the Lyon Street site a daytime destination with a full-service restaurant and fast-casual dining options included in the space.

(A rendering released by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on Aug. 25, 2020 shows the proposed redevelopment of 111 Lyon Street NW in Grand Rapids.)

The second phase of work will focus on rehabilitating the 10 remaining floors of commercial space, with a goal of turning the space into office headquarters for a “high quality” national or international company, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

(An Aug. 25, 2020 photo shows construction at 111 Lyon Street NW in downtown Grand Rapids.)

The tax incentives also apply to the first floor of the six-story building on Monroe Avenue, which developers plan to transform into commercial space that would also likely include a restaurant. The remaining five floors of Fifth Third Bank’s former home were previously sold to RDV Corporation to serve as the DeVos family’s office and were not included in the request.

(A rendering released by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on Aug. 25, 2020 shows the proposed redevelopment of 200 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids.)

The structure at 200 Monroe Ave. NW was built in 1967 as part of the Vandenberg Center — a federal urban renewal project that also included Calder Plaza and nearby government buildings. The MEDC says redeveloping the space will help Grand Rapids’ goal of becoming a destination city for visitors, workers and residents to shop and dine “by creating the necessary critical mass.”

200 monroe avenue nw fifth third bank building devos family downtown grand rapids 2 120318_1543856772897.jpg.jpg
(A 2019 photo shows 200 Monroe Ave. NW in downtown Grand Rapids.)

Grand Rapids city officials approved their share of the Brownfield tax increment financing plan, valued at about $1.2 million, in January. A Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority support program is contributing $950,000 to the project for infrastructure and to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

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