City Centre Project Picked Today

May 13, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — City commissioners are expected to choose a project for the former City Centre parking ramp today. Commissioners will make their choice from five proposals and then give staff members the authority to begin negotiating a deal for the city-owned 37,000-square-foot parcel at Division Avenue and Fulton Street.

“That will also give them some time to do some due diligence,” said Susan Shannon, economic development director for the city, of the chosen developer.

An evaluation committee met with the five developers last month and selected a $24 million proposal submitted by RSC Associates of Chicago as the one that best fits the city’s goals for the property. The 11-story building offers retail space for a bookstore, a cafe and a jazz club, 74 condominiums and 194 parking spaces. Second Story Properties, the Rise Group and Built Form are principals in the project.

Coming in a close second for the committee was a proposal from Rockford Construction and Design Plus. Called One Fulton Plaza, the four-story building would have retail space, 40 condos, and 118 parking spaces for an investment of $12 million.

“We were very comfortable with both of them,” said Richard Craig, a local architect and member of the evaluation committee. “It was a tough decision.”

Finishing third was a $24 million proposal from Fulton & Division LLC. It’s an eight-story building with retail space, offices, 57 residential units and 363 parking spaces.

Craig, who presented the committee’s evaluation to the Parking Commission last week and will do the same at this week’s City Commission meeting, said the two proposals from James Azzar and Robert Tol didn’t meet the city’s goals.

The city hopes to close the deal for the property in September. If commissioners choose the RSC proposal, construction would be done in the summer of 2008. RSC has offered $2 million for the site, which was appraised at $1.95 million. Proceeds from a sale would go to the Parking Services Department.    

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