WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Pines Golf Course in Wyoming may eventually be home to hundreds of apartments and what’s billed as Grand Rapids’ largest off-leash dog park.
Illinois-based developer Redhawk Multifamily and Indiana-based Domo Development shared their vision with neighbors during a series of community meetings this week.
Their proposal calls for 722 units on the 116-acre property located off Byron Center Avenue SW just north of 52nd Street. The apartments would be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units with 25 layout options in three building styles. Each apartment would come with high-end finishes like granite countertops, wood floors, wood cabinets and stainless-steel appliances.
“It appeals to a wide population base, from empty-nesters to millennials,” said Mark Avis with Redhawk Multifamily.
The proposal also includes a 25-acre fenced leash-free dog park complete with a dog beach on the northeastern portion of the property.
“It’s gigantic. It will be the largest one in Grand Rapids,” Avis said.
The dog park would be open to the public with an entrance fee, according to Avis. He said the fee would support registering dogs that visit the park, maintaining the grounds and holding owners accountable for handling and cleaning up after their pet.
“We probably will do DNA poop testing, yes… because it makes people be accountable, so it’s important,” he said.
Residents of The Pines development would have exclusive access to a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse with a heated pool, golf simulator, fitness and yoga rooms, meeting space, game room and courts for pickle ball, tennis and bocce ball.
Avis said the proposal would leave 70% of the site undeveloped and preserve 40 acres of existing tree canopy and wetlands, making The Pines one of the lowest density multifamily housing developments in the Grand Rapids area.
During a Wednesday forum with neighbors, Avis stressed how the project balances the desires of the seller, developer, city and neighborhood by building well below the number of apartments that could be allowed on the property through Wyoming’s newest master plan.
The property is currently zoned for single-family homes, but the Wyoming (re)Imagined plan calls The Pines an “opportunity site” to address the city’s housing need. The master plan says 13-15 housing units per acre would be needed to keep up with anticipated demand through 2045. Avis said for The Pines, that would translate to 1,700 to 2,300 units.
Avis said while Redhawk’s developments in Rochester, Minnesota and Bloomington, Indiana also faced opposition, neighbors with some of the nicest homes supported both projects.
“Because I think in the end, common sense prevails. And if we didn’t do what we’re doing, the alternative could be worse,” Avis said. “The property is going to get sold and it will get developed… I strongly believe this proposal is in the best interest of all four parties.”
The family that’s owned The Pines Golf Course for 55 years is nearing retirement, according to a letter they recently sent community members. They approached Redhawk and Domo Development after seeing their plans to preserve much of the land at the former English Hills golf course in Walker while redeveloping the site for housing.
“I have done everything in my power to have all enjoy this little treasure. As I grow to retirement and have the right opportunity, it only makes sense to turn it over to the only development co. that I would ever trust,” an owner of The Pines Golf Course stated in a message to News 8 Saturday.
“They’re doing what I think is right for the Wyoming community… because they have roots here,” Avis told neighbors Wednesday morning.
Avis said he and his partner took what they learned from the English Hills project to improve this process. They also spent the last seven months researching the property and community needs, according to Avis.
The proposal presented by Redhawk and Domo includes installing a traffic signal and adding turn lanes near the development to ease traffic congestion caused by more housing.
All of The Pines’ proposed apartments would be market-rate class A housing, with a two-bedroom apartment costing approximately $2,000 per month.
The development targets people who want to rent even though they have the means to own a home. The average household income in newly constructed communities like the proposed Pines is $110,000, according to a property management company that oversees more than 20,000 luxury apartments nationwide, including a few by Redhawk.
“These are the neighbors you want. They have money… these are people that spend money. They support the local economy, they support Wyoming,” Avis said.
Redhawk expects The Pines development to pump $19 million into the local economy, lead to approximately 300 jobs and generate $84 million in local construction income.
The Pines’ amenities will be available beyond regular business hours, catering to professionals at the nearby University of Michigan Health – West campus who may work a non-traditional shift. The proximity to the medical campus also appeals to empty nesters who now account for the highest increase in renters, according to Avis.
While The Pines won’t have affordable housing, Avis said it will help with the dire need for area homes by growing the supply. The Wyoming master plan says the city has the potential to grow 30% by 2045, and will need 7,876 housing units by that time to keep the market healthy.
“People want to live in the suburbs. Open space is a big thing, amenities are a big thing,” he said. “The demand for renting apartments has never been greater. That’s prior to COVID, those trends have been happening like over the last 10 years, but it just kind of expediated it a little bit.”
However, people would have to wait until at least 2025 if they want a place at The Pines. The golf course will remain open for the 2022 and 2023 golf seasons, with construction starting after that, if the project is approved.
Avis expects to submit the development proposal to the Wyoming planning commission in a couple months after gathering public feedback. He already has several revisions planned after talking to neighbors, including adding more trees along the property line, and moving the dog park fence farther away from the border.
“I think 90% of people are happy with what we’re proposing,” Avis said. “It means a lot.”
Just like English Hills, The Pines will retain its name after redevelopment “because it’s historic,” Avis said.