GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD)  —  The “cultural anchor” of Grand Rapids’ Boston Square Together redevelopment has cleared another hurdle.

On Thursday, the Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved a special use permit for Amplify GR’s Boston Square Community Hub. The organization plans to renovate the former church at 1534 Kalamazoo Ave. SE and expand the building to accommodate a clinic and wellness center, child care center, community center with offices and a multipurpose room for community events.

(A rendering provided to the Grand Rapids Planning Commission shows what the inside of the Boston Square Community Hub may look like.)

The planning commission also approved a special land use permit allowing Amplify GR to demolish a former car wash at the corner of Fuller Avenue and Ramona Street SE. The space would become a 43-space parking lot supporting the community hub.

Amplify GR Executive Director Jon Ippel said it took four years of actively engaging and collaborating with the Boston Square neighborhood, Oakdale Neighbors and other city stakeholders to get to this point.

“The community hub is kind of the anchor, the cultural anchor of the Boston Square Together Plan that you’ve been a part of over the couple of years, so we’re really excited about the various different uses that are being integrated that really have been lifted up by what neighbors have been asking for in some cases for decades,” Ippel said.

(A site map provided to the Grand Rapids Planning Commission shows what the Boston Square Together project is expected to include.)

Amplify GR is partnering with IFF and the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative for the child care center. Ippel said the program will be open to 80 children between 6 weeks and 5 years old “with a heart and focus on serving the children that are in close proximity to that location.” Ippel expects the child care center to support households that have a variety of incomes.

Ippel said Amplify GR is still in talks with a potential medical services partner. The aim is to address social and health disparities within the neighborhood and immediate area.

The community hub would include nonprofit and co-working spaces, a café and Amplify GR’s offices. With a maximum capacity of 240 people, the multipurpose room would be available for community events, concerts and plays and could be rented out for private events.

Amplify GR is working with UrbanWorks Architects in Chicago in renovating and designing the community hub. The project’s first phase includes raising the roof of the existing building 5-6 feet to accommodate a second story.

The groups, organizations and services within the community hub are expected to support 40-50 full-time workers.