Campau Construction Boom

June 17, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — A torn-up

Pearl Street
and a torn-down IsrealsBuilding signals that construction on the new Alticor-owned, Marriott-operated hotel at
Pearl Street
and
Campau Avenue NW
has begun in earnest.

But that isn't the only building project planned for the immediate area.

Soon construction will be getting underway just south of the hotel site with the expansion of the RiverfrontPlazaBuilding at

55 Campau Ave. NW
, a 64,000-square-foot office structure that is fully leased to tenants who need more space.

"It's a pretty exciting project. We need the space to keep the tenants, who are doing very well downtown," said Steve Fry of Concept Design Group, the architectural firm designing the expansion.

The project is a five-story, 50,000-square-foot expansion of the building along the south property line, an area that serves as a portion of the structure's surface parking lot now. The two lower levels will be used for parking, the upper three for offices.

The Oldtown Riverfront Land Co. had to purchase a 42-square-foot slice of land from the Downtown Development Authority so the addition could line up with the existing RiverfrontPlazaBuilding and also have enough room for the hotel's parking ramp.

In what may be the smallest transaction of downtown real estate ever, Oldtown paid $1,844 for the strip of land that is 141 feet long and from 2.5 to 5 inches wide at various points.

"We wanted to start this (project) two weeks ago," said Fry, who added that they're waiting for building permits to be approved. "We're going to start it right away."

Also on the drawing board are streetscape improvements to Campau and an upgrade to the nearby Louis Campau Promenade. HP3 LLC, which is managing the hotel project for Alticor, is subcontracting the street work along Campau.

"It's going to be a tremendous upgrade to the streetscape," said Jay Fowler, DDA executive director, of the street that is roughly three blocks long.

The DDA, though, is handling the promenade work and will hire a landscape architect for the project that will stretch west from

Monroe Avenue
to Campau.

"We will take the lead on the design of the Louis Campau Promenade," said Fowler.

The DDA also is spending $2 million on the improvement projects for Pearl and Campau in conjunction with the hotel project, and also will reimburse Alticor for slightly more than $3 million over 20 years for work that includes construction of the hotel's two skywalks.

The 24-story, 340-room hotel and adjacent parking deck are expected to be completed in the fall of 2007. Cost estimates for the project have ranged from $60 million to $100 million. About $11 million of public dollars will go into the hotel's construction.    

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