Crews raze ex-Geek Group site in Grand Rapids for Victory on Leonard

Grand Rapids

A Nov. 19, 2021, photo taken from video shows demolition underway on the former Geek Group site at 900 Leonard Street NW in Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A month after the former leaders of the now-defunct Geek Group pleaded guilty in a federal money laundering case, the building that once housed their business is being torn down.

Crews started demolishing the building on Leonard Street between Widdicomb and Fremont avenues on Nov. 1.

Honor Construction and Victory Development Group plan to build a mixed-use development on the site called Victory on Leonard. The project’s name is derived from the World War II gardens co-developer Jack Hoedeman’s grandparents grew on the city’s West Side.

“It’s just a great way to connect the building with the history of the community,” Hoedeman stated in a news release.

(A rendering provided by co-developer Jeff Royce shows what the outside of Victory on Leonard may look like.)

The complex will include a mix of 120 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments that are market rate. Developers plan to add electric vehicle chargers, some covered parking, balconies and washers and dryers in each unit. Amenities will also include bike and dog washing stations and storage space.

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

Developers favor adding a coffee shop to Victory on Leonard’s ground floor retail space, but no tenant has been chosen yet.

If all goes well, Victory on Leonard is expected to welcome its first tenants in spring of 2023.

The brick facility being razed for the project was built in 1957. It served as a YMCA until the organization moved into its current home downtown in 2005, according to Grand Rapids Public Library’s archivist Tim Gloege.

The building became a teen club in 2007 before eventually housing the Geek Group and National Science Institute, which shut down in December 2018 when federal agents raided the building. Federal authorities say three leaders of the National Science Institute laundered illegal drug money and traded roughly $740,000 in Bitcoin without a license.

Chris Boden of Grand Rapids, Leesa Vogt of Grand Rapids and Daniel DeJager of Tacoma, Washington pleaded guilty to federal charges connected to the scheme last month and are scheduled for sentencing in February.

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