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Construction resumes, new restrictions on sites

"It’s great to be back and going forward for your family, and know when your next paycheck is coming in."
Credit: 13 OYS
A sign outside the construction site on Leonard.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As the governor's order lifts restrictions on construction, crews are eager to get back to work. 

"It’s great to get back into the swing of things," said Steve Schwan, superintendent of construction for Wolverine Building Group, "I forgot to make lunch! I wasn’t ready for that."

RELATED: Construction work starts back up May 7

Schwan and his crew are back to work at a project on Leonard St. and Broadway Ave. It will become home to Paradigm Design, and another unannounced tenant. 

The Westside project has been in the works for a few months, but was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We had to put everything on hold and pause," said Johnny Brann Jr., the developer for Leonard Street Development Partners, "So we’re a little behind, maybe we’ll make up some time, if not we have flexibility in our project timeline."

However, things on the site are running a little differently. Schwan says there is, "all kinds of rules and regulations now."

Workers must wear masks, keep their distance, and answer health questions and get their temperature taken before work for the day. 

"Getting used to the masks," said Schwan, "getting used to the sanitation, getting used to cleaning things, glasses fog up with the masks, we’re getting our feet wet for sure."

But Schwan says even with the new way of doing things, it's important they got back to the site, so the crew could work. 

"It’s great to be back and going forward for your family," said Schwan, "and know when your next paycheck is coming in."

RELATED: Whitmer signs executive order to reopen construction, real estate on May 7

The construction site is located near Brann's Steakhouse on Leonard. 

Brann said the goal of the project is to be a development catalyst for the Westside. This particular building will bring 70 to 80 jobs to the area. 

"We believe in the city, we believe in Grand Rapids and West Michigan," said Brann, "and even with all that’s been going on, it’s a good bet for us, it’s an easy risk to take because we believe this community is going to be tremendously positioned and uniquely positioned, even compared to the entire country, to be able to bounce back from this."

Even with the halt in construction, Brann said he hopes the project will wrap up in November or December of this year. 

"Cranes are progress," said Brann, "so when you see cranes in the city, it’s progress. But only if they’re moving, and they’re able to move again now. So, that’s why it’s so exciting. You see crews working around in West Michigan and the city again. So, those visions people had, they had the idea, put it on paper, and now it’s coming to life, and we get to see that start to happen again."

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