Hearings For Icon And Fitzgerald

August 26, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Public hearings will be held in a few weeks to amend the brownfield agreements for a pair of downtown projects that are worth nearly $75 million combined.

Icon On Bond, being developed by Moch International, is a $60 million effort that proposes to build two nine-story residential buildings in the North Monroe Business District at the intersection of Bond Avenue and Trowbridge Street NW. Each building will have 118 units and two levels of covered parking.

The building sites are in the city’s Renaissance Zone, meaning most state and local taxes are exempted, at least partially, on the properties through 2012. The sites are also located in the city’s SmartZone.

The hearing, which will be held on the evening of Sept. 13, will determine whether Moch International will be reimbursed for the street reconstruction that is part of the project. The plan is to rebuild parts of Bond Avenue, and Trowbridge Street between Monroe and Ottawa avenues.

The street work is expected to cost Moch International $2.02 million. Should the city agree to amend the firm’s brownfield contract, something the city’s Brownfield Authority did earlier this month, Moch International would recoup through tax-increment financing (TIF) almost $1.84 million of its expense for the street reconstruction.

“It’s a good deal for us, because they have to agree to rebuild the roads, which costs more than the TIF,” said Susan Shannon, economic development director for the city.

Bloodgood, Sharp & Buster of Chicago designed the buildings. Wolverine Construction will manage the project, which is expected to take from 12 to 14 months.

The second hearing that evening involves the $13.8 million conversion of the downtown YMCA at 33 Library St. NW into The Fitzgerald, a 50-unit condominium residence being developed and marketed by Second Story Properties.

“Our plan is to build on the original architectural details, creating a warm and inviting foyer featuring wood paneling, ornamental columns and a period lounge, including a fireplace and rich appointments,” said John Green, Second Story executive vice president.

Should city commissioners agree to amend the brownfield agreement, Second Story could capture about $1 million in taxes over four years as reimbursement for the demolition work and asbestos and lead removal in the eight-story building. In addition, the city would be able to capture $775,000 for improvements it made to Veterans Park, which is across the street from The Fitzgerald.

Cornerstone Architects is designing the renovation of The Fitzgerald. Construction is expected to begin early next year and take a little more than a year to complete.         

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