GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After nearly a decade in development, Studio Park is set to open at the end of September.

The project, which cost $160 million or so, will mark the return of movie theaters to downtown Grand Rapids.

Keeping with the Loeks family’s movie tradition, they’ve added some Easter eggs to the project.

As you pass along the brick wall leading to the theaters, you might notice the darker color bricks that stand out.

Those are from the old Studio 28.

There’s even tradition in Studio Park’s address.

“When my grandpa started the theater business, it was not only downtown, it was at 123 Pearl Street,” said Emily Loeks, director of community affairs for Studio C. “And we are now at 123 Ottawa.”

Her family began operating theaters downtown in the 1930s and pioneered the suburban theaters with Studio 28 in the 1960s.   

“It’s a return to downtown that is coming full circle in some ways after 75 years,” Loeks said. “We are so excited. This is a project that I think a lot of people feel that they’ll have a personal touch point with.”

The site, which used to be two city parking lots south of Van Andel Arena, broke ground in the spring of 2018.

After months of site prep work, the buildings began taking shape this spring.

“It’s generated so much community interest because we’ve been asked for decades to build some components of this, like the theater downtown. People are really eager to see it come to fruition,” Loeks said.

Along with the nine-screen theater, the complex will include 140 apartments.

The project also includes restaurants, retail space, a parking garage with more than 900 spaces and a 200-seat music venue.

“It’s a very intimate space where people can just get really connected with their favorite musician,” Loeks said.

At the heart of Studio Park is a public gathering spot dubbed “The Piazza.”

“There will actually be an outdoor screen that will enable us to do a lot of outdoor events. Most of them will be free events with movies, sports and other kinds of festivities out in the piazza,”  Loeks said.

The hotel, also under construction at the site, is set to open in a year.

An office tower and condos above the parking structure are planned in the next few years. 

“Coming downtown and being able to do a project again that’s a return to the heart of our city is very exciting to us,” Loeks said.