Heartside May Get New Ramp

February 10, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — “Build it and they will come” is a popular phrase for ball fields.

Well, for parking ramps, an equally appropriate expression might be: “It hasn’t been built yet and it’s already full.”

A new six-story, 320-space parking ramp planned for Commerce Avenue and Cherry Street in the Heartside Business District has pretty much sold out all of its monthly spaces while it’s still on the drawing board. Parking Services Director Pam Ritsema announced last week that four entities in the Cherry Street Landing area of Heartside were set to lease almost every available space.

“We’re going to go forward with this particular project,” said Ritsema.

The ramp is a joint venture between Parking Services and Cherry Street JV LLC, which is developing the Cherry Street Landing project, and is expected to cost about $7 million to build. Parking Services plans to spend $1.75 million in cash to get the project started and then use a municipal bond package to finance the remaining amount over 30 years.

A start date for construction wasn’t announced, as the effort will need approval from the City Commission, but Rockford Construction is likely to direct the work. Design Plus is the architect of record.

A study done last year reported Heartside would need 1,300 parking spaces within the next five years. The ramp’s 320 spaces represent about 25 percent of that amount.    

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