GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A building that once housed apartments will soon become a parking lot as part of a new development on Grand Rapids’ West Side.
On Thursday, the Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved Construction Simplified’s request to tear down the five-unit building and replace it with a parking lot to support an adjacent four-story development at the corner of Lexington Avenue and W. Fulton Street.
The new development’s ground floor will be occupied by a business providing medical and recreational marijuana. Construction Simplified, which has outgrown its offices about five blocks away on W. Fulton Street, would move into the top two floors of the building.
Construction Simplified President and Founder Brent Gibson said street parking is hard to come by because Grand Valley State University is nearby. He showed the planning commission photos of streets lined with vehicles and cars parked in yards.
“We need this parking to make this a viable development. If not, I can tell you it will probably sit there indefinitely. And our hope is that we can contribute,” Gibson said, adding that he owns several properties nearby that he plans to develop into multi-family housing.
“In general, I’m not a huge fan of getting rid of housing since I know that we really need that in this community. But I get that this level of intensity of a use needs parking and Fulton is parked, fully parked most of the time. So, yeah, I’m in support of it in this case,” Laurel Joseph, planning commission member, said.
Grand Rapids Planning Director Kristin Turkelson pointed out new development projects adding new residential housing to the community, including The Edge Flats on Seward and a recently approved plan to redevelop Lexington School into 39 apartments.
John Ball Area Neighbors also submitted a letter supporting the project.
The five-unit house that will be demolished was recently vacated, according to a planning commission staff member. Gibson expects to start work on the parking lot this summer. He’s hoping to finish the development in the next two years.