‘Exploding’ West Side welcomes Bridge Street Lofts at Red Lion site

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A five-story development rising from the site of the former Red Lion restaurant is getting ready to welcome new tenants to Grand Rapids’ West Side.

Construction crews are bustling to finish work on Bridge Street Lofts, located at 449 Bridge Street NW between Turner and Seward avenues. Tuesday, workers were laying bricks outside the ground floor commercial space, adding cabinets in each of the 44 units and installing an elevator that will scale all five floors of the development.

“I think people are just going to love this neighborhood, the proximity to the night life, the amazing restaurants, the great Bridge Street Market. It’s such a walkable neighborhood and it’s so close to downtown, you’ve got the best of both worlds,” said Greg Lobdell, co-founder of 3Mission Design and Development.

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A June 2019 photo shows Bridge Street Market in Grand Rapids.

His company bought the property in 2017 with hopes to rehabilitate the Red Lion to open a new restaurant. But after a site survey showed a corner of the building had sunken 18 inches, 3Mission had to change its plans.

“We decided the highest and best use was to build this mixed-use property on the site,” said Lobdell.

With the help of a $330,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and guidance from architectural firm Gafari, crews leveled the Red Lion in June 2018 and have been transforming the site ever since.

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A July 2019 photo shows crews demolition the former Red Lion restaurant on Bridge Street NW in Grand Rapids.

Lobdell says the top four floors of the new development will contain 24 studio apartments and 20 one-bedroom apartments with a “modern industrial feel.”

“We think people are really going to love the openness, the airiness, the really big windows,” he said.

While there are six layouts, every living space will have windows overlooking Grand Rapids and the same amenities.

“They’re going to have in unit washer and dryers, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances. Many of the units have custom-made sliding barn doors. So, we really think people are going to like the layout, light and the finishes,” Lobdell added.

The spaces will range from 370 to 650 square feet in size, with a rental price of $900 to $1,300 a month.

“We worked really hard to make sure 55% of these units are available to people that make up to 80% of the average median income. So, hopefully it will allow people that previously couldn’t live in this neighborhood to come and be in this neighborhood,” said Lobdell.

The co-founder of 3Mission says they’ve already taken “a ton of calls” from people interested in moving in. Leasing is expected to start in early December with all of the apartments ready for move-in on Feb. 1.

“This West Side neighborhood is just been exploding. We’re really happy to be a small part of it,” said Lobdell.

The 8,100 square-foot main floor is reserved for restaurants and businesses, but 3Mission says it cannot share who is moving in just yet.

“It’s going to be an amazing commercial space. We’re really excited about it but we can’t talk about the final details until we open the upper floors,” said Lobdell.

The $11 million investment is expected to create roughly 100 jobs.

At least one piece of the Red Lion still lives: Lobdell says former property owner Walt Gutowski Jr. kept the restaurant’s iconic sign and is “preserving it for future use.”

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