Growing Grand Rapids and beyond: 21 places aiming to open in 2021

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The new year will bring new businesses to downtown Grand Rapids.

Dozens of bars, restaurants, hotels and other developments are expected to open in 2021. Some of the projects were originally slated to finish last year but pandemic-prompted delays pushed back plans.

Here are 21 places planning to open in Grand Rapids in 2021:

Acrisure |100 Ottawa Ave. SW

Targeted opening: First quarter of 2021

(A photo posted on Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.’s Facebook page on Dec. 12 shows crews finishing work on Acrisure’s new offices at Studio Park.)

Despite some brief construction delays, the $31 million project bringing Acrisure to downtown Grand Rapids is on track to finish in the first fiscal quarter of 2021, company spokesperson Elliott Bundy said in mid-December.

Emily Loeks with Studio Park expects Acrisure to move into the space in February 2021. However, Bundy cautioned the date could always shift, especially during this pandemic’s unpredictable circumstances.

“The building has to be complete and everyone has to be comfortable with a co-working environment,” he explained, emphasizing the importance of the health and safety of Acrisure’s employees.

On Dec. 8, the Michigan Strategic Fund Board agreed to amend a $7 million grant and tax incentive agreement for Acrisure to allow its employees to temporarily work remotely in Kent County.

Construction on the seven-story office building is well underway. Bundy said when the firm finishes current hiring, about 500 employees will work in the company’s consolidated offices.


Ambiance GR Kitchen & Lounge | 106 Pearl Street NW

Targeted opening: When pandemic restrictions lift

(A Jan. 20, 2020 photo shows the interior of Ambiance GR Kitchen & Lounge on Pearl Street NW in downtown Grand Rapids.)

After months of delays, the modern lounge and restaurant’s opening now hinges on when the pandemic will ease.

“Once it is safe, come prepared to eat, drink & dance night away all under the same roof,” Team Ambiance posted on Instagram.

Demolition on the former home of Raggs to Riches started about 18 months ago and stretched on longer than planned because of issues uncovered with the building, which was built in 1874. As Ambiance GR neared opening, the pandemic reached West Michigan.

Once open, the cocktail bar will feature live music, comedy and poetry performances and a menu of Cajun-infused American cuisine, including some vegan options.


Condado Tacos | 449 Bridge Street NW

Updated targeted opening: Feb. 4

(A Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. photo posted Oct. 12, 2020 shows a sign above the future home of Condado Tacos, located at 449 Bridge Street NW.)

West Michigan’s first Condado Tacos is hoping to welcome its first customer by month’s end.

However, officials with the restaurant cautioned the grand opening could slide depending on state and local COVID-19 mandates at the time.

The restaurant, which specializes in custom-made tacos, is moving into the ground floor of Bridge Street Lofts, located on Bridge Street near Winter Avenue NW.

Construction is well underway with plans to soon announce the local artists who will create the restaurant’s unique wall mural reflecting Grand Rapids’ history and culture.

The finished restaurant will include patio seating with a total capacity of 221 people.


The Finnley boutique hotel | 65 Monroe Center NW

Targeted opening: June

(A February 2020 photo shows The walkway entrance to The Finnley, a micro boutique hotel located on the corner of Monroe Center and Ionia Avenue NW.)

The walls are up inside downtown Grand Rapids’ new five-room micro hotel.

Owner Brad Veneklase said that while the layout of each guest room is different, each will contain a king size bed, custom cabinets, TV, Wi-Fi, an eating area and a walk-in tile shower, as well as high-end finishes. A mural created by local artist Ellen Rutt will greet visitors as they walk down the stairs to The Finnley’s entrance.

With a maximum of two guests per room, The Finnley is geared toward couples enjoying a night out and professionals visiting downtown.

An added bonus during the pandemic: The Finnley is scrapping the traditional check-in procedure and going all-digital when relinquishing rooms to guests.

Veneklase said construction delays prompted by the pandemic slowed the project, but he’s aiming for a June completion. The interior of the boutique hotel will remain a mystery until The Finnley is ready to open.


GRNoir Wine and Jazz indoor bar| 35 Division Ave. S

Targeted opening: When dining restrictions are lifted

(A still image taken from video GRNoir posted on Facebook shows the interior of the wine and jazz bar.)

State dining restrictions aimed at slowing the pandemic also stopped this wine and jazz bar from welcoming customers for a grand opening. Last month, GRNoir rolled out curbside service for its wine and food pairings.

GRNoir is focused on celebrating the culture of wine and jazz, including Black influence on both.

GRNoir plans to welcome visitors inside its lush jewel-toned lounge area as soon as the state lifts the dining restrictions. The wine bar also plans to add live jazz performances from local and regional artists two to three times a week.


K-ROK Korean Barbecue & Karaoke | 169 Louis Campau Promenade NW

Targeted opening: Sometime this year

The former hotel storage space turned restaurant and karaoke bar was getting ready to open when the pandemic started and state ordered restrictions began.

Owner Robert Yoon said he still plans to open downtown Grand Rapids’ first Korean barbecue restaurant and karaoke bar. His family also owns Emonae Korean BBQ in Cascade Township.

K-ROK contains three karaoke booths that will be available by reservation and tables with inlaid LED grills for guests to cook Korean staples.

Yoon said K-ROK will also offer a variety of Korean beers, soju and soju cocktails.


Küsterer Brauhaus | 642 Bridge Street NW

Targeted opening: By late summer

  • cedar springs brewing kusterer brauhaus
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  • cedar springs brewing kusterer brauhaus

Times are tough, but Cedar Springs Brewing Company isn’t giving up on a yearslong dream to open a Bavarian beer hall in Grand Rapids.

“We believe in the West Side, we believe in the project,” said owner David Ringler, who added that his company is trying its best to work with other stakeholders in the project.

While pandemic circumstances have slowed the project, Ringler is hopeful construction will rev up again soon.

Küsterer Brauhaus will feature a German brewing system that will pump out signature Küsterer Bier, Bavarian beers and Cedar Springs brews.

The beer hall will expand on the Bavarian experience with deli-style food guests can enjoy from regular tables or long tables traditionally found in Germany.


Madison Church and ICCF campus | 415 Franklin Street SE

Targeted opening: February

The transformation of the former Grand Rapids Christian High School into a campus for worship, affordable living and events is well underway.

Crews recently refinished the original wood flooring in the early childhood center and added lighting and terrazzo flooring to the atrium, which will serve as a community gathering space.

Joanna DeMoor-Tannor, site executive director from Madison Church Franklin Campus, said the $23 million makeover, which started in July 2019, should be mostly complete by mid-January. The church is focused on raising the final $1.5 million it needs for the project.

Madison Church expects to move into its long-awaited sanctuary in February — the same month families should start moving into the building’s 41 apartments. Inner City Christian Federation expects to move into its new offices at 415 Franklin in spring as well.

As of mid-December, 415 Franklin’s early childhood center was on track to open in early summer.


MDRD | 187 Monroe Ave. NW

Targeted opening: Early 2021

Perched on the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza, the successor to iconic Cygnus 27 offers unmatched skyline views of downtown Grand Rapids paired with modernized Spanish cuisine.

New floor to ceiling windows and stadium seating mean all guests will have a great view of the city as they dine on complex dishes created from a mix of local ingredients and Spanish imports, including Iberian pork and octopus.

Vivid murals of Spain dance across the walls of the restaurant’s three banquet rooms, which all have new flooring and distinctive lighting.

Gold and white tile spills across the wall above the new marble bar, mimicking falling confetti during Spain’s infamous Carnival. The drink menu includes traditional Spanish cocktails.

MDRD was two days away from its official grand opening when a state mandate came down closing indoor dining for bars and restaurants. AHC Hospitality plans to open the new restaurant in early 2021, depending on when the pandemic-prompted restrictions are lifted.


The Morton boutique hotel | 55 Ionia Ave. NW

Targeted opening: Sometime this year

(A September 2020 photo shows the entrance to The Morton building, located at 55 Ionia Ave. NW.)

Plans to convert three of the building’s 13 floors into 32 high-end hotel spaces for extended stay guests hit delays in 2020, but the owners of The Morton building say the project is still on.

Owner 55 Ionia Partners LLC believes changing over some of the empty apartments and condominiums into boutique hotel rooms will also make the ground floor commercial space more marketable.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation signed off on the transformation in December 2019. In September, a spokesperson for 55 Ionia Partners said the new boutique hotel is on track for a 2021 opening, but didn’t elaborate further.


Planet Fitness | 234 Market Ave. SW

Targeted opening: After pandemic restrictions lift

(A Dec. 17, 2020 photo shows the ground floor of 234 Market, where Planet Fitness will open.)

The holding pattern continues for Planet Fitness’ newest Grand Rapids location.

PF Michigan Group is leasing a 24,797-square-foot space in the mixed-use development dubbed 234 Market. The building also includes apartments and a smaller commercial space.

Like other Planet Fitness locations, the gym includes cardio and strength machines and the PF Black Card lounge featuring tanning, hydromassage and massage chairs.

The business was originally slated to open in late spring of 2020, but pandemic prompted state orders restricting gyms changed those plans.

PF Michigan Group says construction will resume “when the government-mandated restrictions lift (such as the 25% occupancy limitation for gyms and mask mandates). Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. expects the new Planet Fitness to open sometime this year.


Poke Poke Sushi Unrolled featuring Boba Bar | 20 Fulton East

Targeted opening: Sometime this year

(A December 2020 photo shows the outside of Poke Poke Sushi Unrolled and Boba Bar, located at the corner of Fulton Street and Sheldon Avenue SE in Grand Rapids.)

Signs for 20 Fulton East’s ground floor restaurant are still up, but information about the project is scant.

A manager for Poke Poke Sushi Unrolled told News 8 in December that he couldn’t give details about how the project is progressing or when the restaurant aims to open. However, the company’s website lists the location as “coming soon.” Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. anticipates Poke Poke Sushi Unrolled will open sometime in 2021.

The restaurant at the corner of Fulton Street and Sheldon Avenue would be the first Poke Poke Sushi Unrolled in West Michigan. The company’s website lists six locations in metro Detroit serving up its customized poke bowls.

The company first mentioned its plans to add a Grand Rapids restaurant in November 2019.


Pux Cider Taphouse | 311 Fuller Ave. NE

Targeted opening: Feb. 1

Overlooking Fuller Park, the taproom for Schaefer Cider Company’s line of hard ciders features finishes made from recycled wood crates once used to haul apples.

Outside, the owners of Pux Cider Taphouse have repainted the brick, removed the awning and replaced the ramp with a fresh concrete front patio. Inside, they’ve painted and added drywall, lighting, a bar and other fixtures.

The plans also call for an indoor retail area.

Construction challenges and issues uncovered with the building delayed the taproom opening for months. The Schaefer family is now setting its sights on a spring opening.


Residence Inn Downtown Grand Rapids | Intersection of Ionia Avenue, Fulton Street and Louis Street NW

Targeted opening: Spring of 2021

The triangular 13-story hotel at the corner of Ionia Avenue and West Fulton Street has been transformed into a 147-suite hotel with a second-floor heated indoor pool overlooking Van Andel Arena, fitness center, guest laundry room and an outdoor patio complete with a fire pit, grill and guest seating.

Each room includes one king or two queen beds, a full kitchen and a living area.

Outside, crews removed construction fencing surrounding Residence Inn’s new heated sidewalks along Fulton Street on Dec. 21. The walkway over Louis Street connecting the hotel to the parking ramp at 30 Ionia Ave. SW is also complete.

General manager Andrew White says the rooms are furnished and workers are putting the finishing touches on the hotel’s community spaces.

The pet-friendly hotel’s services will include complimentary grocery shopping service for guests, according to the Residence Inn Grand Rapids Downtown Facebook page.

The Hinman Company has not yet announced the two businesses that will be moving into the 5,555-square-foot ground floor retail space.


Skelletones | 133 Division Ave. S

Targeted opening: September

(An October 2020 image provided by Mark Leech shows the refinished floors of the Division Avenue building that will once again house Skelletones.)

A safe haven for young musicians that shut down in 2009 is returning to its old home on Division Avenue near Cherry Street.

Co-owner Mark Leech says about a dozen instances brought him back to restoring and reopening his old music venue where acts including Still Remains, La Dispute and Against Me! once played.

“My heart just kind of broke for this underground demographic of kids that don’t know where they fit in,” he told News 8 Monday. “There was nothing for them anymore.”

Leech announced the return of Skelletones in August. Since October, he and his wife have restored the hardwood floors, built the stage and started replacing the bathroom.

In the process, they’ve uncovered old pieces of their business, including Skelletones stickers, band stickers and hooks and brackets for stage lighting.

Skelletones will host high school and college band performances Friday and Saturday nights, and the occasional national touring artist whenever they’re available. Cover is expected to be $5.

The owners are still fundraising to cover the cost of a new PA system. Leech is now aiming for a September opening date, coinciding with back to school season.


Stan Diego Baja Taco Kitchen | 55 Ottawa Ave. SW

Targeted opening: Sometime in 2021

(A Nov. 30, 2020 photo shows the future home of Stan Diego Baja Taco Kitchen at 55 Ottawa Ave. SW in Grand Rapids.)

Construction is already underway to transform the upscale interior of the former Wheelhouse restaurant into a colorful, southern California-inspired space that will serve up tacos and margaritas.

The 8,000-square-foot restaurant will have a similar color scheme and design to the original Stan Diego Baja Taco Kitchen in Allendale, which opened in April 2018.

Owner Meritage Hospitality Group told News 8 in December it will wait until “downtown becomes alive again” to open the new Stan Diego located near Van Andel Arena. Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. anticipates that’ll happen sometime this year.


Texas de Brazil | 111 Lyon Street NW

Targeted opening: Sometime this year

(A photo posted to Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.’s Facebook page on Dec. 28, 2020 shows construction on 111 Lyon Street NW, which will house Texas de Brazil steakhouse.)

West Michigan’s first Texas de Brazil steakhouse will be located on a corner of the revitalized Old Kent Bank building.

So far, crews have have ripped out the old stone wall installed during the city’s urban renewal era and gutted part of the building to make way for 18,000-square-feet of storefronts. Fifth Third Bank has moved the branch located at 111 Lyon Street NW into a different section of the building.

Jeff Stachowiak with CWD Real Estate said the company expects the redevelopment project to wrap up by the end of the first quarter. The restaurant is expected to open after that; DGRI anticipates it’ll be this year.

CWD Real Estate says four businesses will move into the building. The developer expects to announce who the new tenants are soon.


Wise Men Distillery tasting room | 146 Monroe Center NW, Suite 150

Targeted opening: January

(A Dec. 17, 2020 photo shows the interior of Wise Men Distillery’s new tasting room in downtown Grand Rapids.)

Overlooking Rosa Parks Circle, Wise Men Distillery’s cozy downtown tasting room envelopes visitors in the smell of fresh cut wood and warm lighting.

The Kentwood-based distillery plans to serve up custom cocktails, flavored whiskeys, vodkas and hard seltzers in the space when the state allows indoor dining.

When capacity restrictions ease, the McKay Tower business will accommodate up to 20 visitors at its bar, booths and tables. Visitors can also get a cocktail to go.

Wise Men Distillery hopes to open a heated outdoor area soon for visitors to enjoy their drinks as well.


BEYOND GRAND RAPIDS

Gun Lake Casino restaurants | 1123 129th Ave., Wayland Township

Targeted opening: End of summer

The $100 million expansion will add three restaurants and a new entertainment venue to the casino located near Wayland.

Gun Lake Casino President and Chief Operating Officer Sal Semola says the casino will grow by 72,000-square-feet, allowing the tribe to add 450 slot machines, 12 new table games and expand its nonsmoking area.

Gun Lake Casino says it will reveal the names of its new restaurants closer to opening, which expected to happen at the end of summer.


Haymarket Plaza | Downtown Kalamazoo

Targeted opening: Sometime this year

Developers with properties bordering downtown Kalamazoo’s former Ihling Alley are converting the corridor into a community event space that will host food trucks, entertainment and provide outdoor seating for dining.

Plans for Haymarket Plaza call for decorative concrete, lighting and Landscape Forms furniture, as well as two projectors that will display art, announcements and entertainment on the northeast side of the Haymarket Building.

Developers say a snowmelt system has already been installed in the new concrete, which runs near the north side of East Michigan Avenue, from Edwards Street to the Haymarket Building.

If all goes well, the project will wrap up sometime in 2021.


The Pack Indoor Dog Park | 5205 West River Drive NE, Plainfield Township

Opened: Jan. 4

Paws are now racing across the specialty flooring at Michigan’s first indoor dog park, located on West River Drive near US-131 in Plainfield Township.

Crews installed the flooring and signs at The Pack Indoor Dog Park in December.

Picardo’s colorful mural of past and present greets guests as they walk through the 10,000 square-foot space, which features bars overlooking an open dog play area. The business also includes a workspace with free WiFi, patio for adults and their pets to unwind, and a small boutique store to purchase pet necessities.

The Pack’s owners plan to open the building’s kitchen and bar as soon as the state’s dine-in restrictions are lifted and the space passes its final inspection.

The Pack Indoor Dog Park is open daily for play, with dog day care limited to weekdays. A five-visit punch card is $30, day care is $30 a day, and an annual membership is $200.

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