GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The developers that brought Studio Park to downtown Grand Rapids are getting ready to add a 16-story tower filled with apartments to the site.

conceptual rendring shows building outlines against sky with bridge in foreground
(A conceptual rendering provided by Integrated Architecture and Studio C show how the Grand Rapids skyline could change if the Studio Park tower, pictured right, comes to fruition.)

Jackson Entertainment, LLC expects to invest about $52 million into Phase 2 of the development, which is located at the southwest corner of Ionia Avenue and Oakes Street SW.

rendring of roadway with building image to right
(A conceptual rendering from Integrated Architecture and Studio C shows what the Studio Park tower could look like when driving on northbound US-131 in Grand Rapids.)

The tower would be built on the existing parking structure near US-131. First-floor amenities would include a pool, terrace, fitness facility and community room, according to a memo submitted to the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority. It’s also expected to include a 700-square-foot retail art gallery, according to a memo submitted to the Grand Rapids Economic Development Team.

The 11 floors above that would each contain 15 apartments – a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units. The top four floors would be reserved for about two dozen condominiums that would be sold to homeowners. In all, the project is expected to add at total of 189 market-rate housing units — nearly double what Studio Park currently has.

Studio Lofts, the current apartment complex at Studio Park, are fully occupied, owners say.

“It’s long been part of the plan to expand housing at Studio Park. The last couple of years have thrown some curveballs,” Emily Loeks, a spokeswoman for owner-operator Studio C, said. “But we’re really excited to be building an apartment and condo tower. This is going to bring much-needed housing to downtown Grand Rapids and it’s definitely a part of the ecosystem that we are excited about.”

“I think that we’re in everything that we read in everything that we hear, we’re just constantly reminded of the need for additional housing units across the board, so I want to say thank you for doing your part,” Commissioner Joseph D. Jones told J.D. Loeks during the Economic Development Team meeting Tuesday.

Two images showing glass tower renderings with buildings and highway nearby
(Conceptual renderings provided by Studio C and Integrated Architecture show what the new tower containing apartments and condos may look like at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids.)

The price point for renting in the new tower is well above the area median income, according to the Economic Development Team memo. Starting prices are expected to be around $1,594 a month for a 516 to 596-square-foot studio apartment. A two-bedroom apartment that’s 1,215 square feet is expected to cost around $2,870 a month.

(A graph included in the Grand Rapids Economic Development Team memo shows the proposed breakdown of apartment quantities and rates for the Studio Park tower.)

Jackson Entertainment finished the $135 million first phase of Studio Park in the fall of 2021. The development already includes the nine-screen Studio C movie theater, the Canopy by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown hotel, the headquarters for Acrisure, 106 apartments and storefronts for The Marketplace at Studio Park, Leo’s Coney Island, Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse, Pump House, Malamiah Juice Bar, Starbucks and One Twenty Three Tavern.

“It’s just been incredible despite the pandemic to see what we believe and what I still believe to be a transformational project that has led a lot of the energy throughout that southeast side, south arena side,” Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said during the Economic Development Team meeting Tuesday.

The DDA supported the first stage of development with a $5.35 million development support agreement, but developers have only used $2.4 million of that funding so far, according to Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. President and CEO Tim Kelly. He is suggesting including a new request from Jackson Entertainment — $600,000 to reimburse the cost of a tower elevator — in the original development support agreement. Under the proposal, the DDA would use 75% of available tax increment revenue for up to a decade to generate the funding.

The DDA will consider the funding request during its monthly meeting Wednesday morning. Jackson Entertainment is also seeking a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone designation for the apartments, as well as changes to the city’s Brownfield Plan to support the project, which will go before the respective board on March 15.

If all goes well, construction on the Studio Park tower would start this summer. A spokesperson said the goal is to open in 2024.