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After a slowdown in 2020, GR construction projects slated for downtown over the next year

Grand Rapids Planning Director said they saw a 50% decrease in construction investment in 2020 compared to 2019. Now, commission agendas are extremely full.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Cranes mean progress, and more of them will fill the sky in Downtown Grand Rapids over the next year. 

The COVID-19 pandemic affected construction work in 2020. There was a significant slowdown in the amount of projects started, according to the Grand Rapids Planning Director, Kristin Turkelson. 

She said the department saw a 50 percent decrease in construction investment in 2020 compared to the year before. However, only a 14 percent decrease in permits, suggesting smaller projects still moved forward. 

Now, projects are continuing onward. 

"We do have a lot of projects in the pipeline," said Turkelson. "So, I think over the next year, we'll really start seeing a resurgence of that development."

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She said while many projects were on construction pause last year, planning continued. Now, she said their Planning Commission agendas are extremely full for the next couple of months. That is a good sign for the Commission, as progress continues. 

"We're hearing from architects, and engineers that are really busy," said Turkelson, "So, those are great signs and indicative of I think over the next several months, we'll start to see more construction being more construction starting."

One larger, completed project for downtown is the new Residence Inn on the corner of Fulton St. and Ionia Ave. It had its soft-opening a few weeks ago, now booking guests to stay in the new hotel. 

The project was originally slated to open in November, but was pushed back to February. Director of Sales Cassaundra McDougall said they would have liked to have a big grand opening with a lot of fanfare, but the soft-opening has been special as well.

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"It's really inspiring to see what can be done with spaces that are underutilized," said McDougall, "This was a 30-passenger car lot, small service lot. Now, we’re 147 rooms, so that's amazing. And to hear about other projects maybe inspired by us."

The ground floor of the building is currently empty. McDougall said they are close to securing two eateries for the retail space, which will be announced soon. 

"I think it’s given a lot of positivity to our community," said McDougall, "That not only is the project completed, but we’re open and welcoming guests and that’s just trends for the future of people coming in. I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re giving them a little bit of that hope."

According to Turkelson, some large projects in construction stage currently include: 

  1. 109 Michigan Ave. – MSU's new radio pharmacy building.
  2. 613 Eastern Ave. SE - New construction of a 4-story, multi-family residential building, with common spaces and first-floor commercial space for future tenant. 
  3. 430 Monroe Ave. NW – New, 10-story office building, set to be the home of Perrigo.
  4. 470 Market Ave. – renovation of existing, historic building, which will include 173 residence units. 
  5. 111 Lyon St. – renovation of existing building, including additional retail tenants along Lyon

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