Newsmaker Condos Downtown
Over 1,000 units were introduced to downtown
Leading the charge is Parkland Realty Inc., the sales and marketing arm of Parkland Properties, which this year closed on 120 units between the nearly sold-out Union Square (180 units, 600 Broadway St. NW) and The Boardwalk apartment-to-condo conversion (230 units, 940 Monroe Ave. NW).
"It's completely changed the neighborhoods and the community," said Jonathon Rooks,
Joe Ross, co-developer of the Park Row Condominiums at Mid Towne Village with Kegle Construction, attributes the residential growth to the growth of industry in the larger downtown market. In his case, the adjacent Medical Mile health care corridor on
"This wouldn't be happening if men with a lot more vision than I weren't driving the growth," said Ross, who also pointed out the contributions from philanthropists such as the DeVos, Van Andel and Meijer families.
At least one development occurred with little aid from the community, as Moch International's Icon On Bond (118 units,
"When they finally topped off the building, I got to go up on the roof and take a look around, and it was just an unbelievable feeling knowing the amount of work that went into getting to that point," said Joe Moch Jr., of Moch International.
Icon On Bond sold 14 units during the generally slow holiday months. With half of the complex sold, it hopes to begin moving residents in by April.
Most of the major developments have seen brisk sales, particularly in the highest and lowest price ranges. With nary a unit priced below $200,000, River House at
"All before anyone could actually see the building," said Daniel Wert, River House project manager and representative of Robert Grooters Development Corp., which also created
Second Story Properties, one of the firms central to the revitalization of the downtown office and retail market, is currently transforming the former YMCA building at 33 Library St. NW into The Fitzgerald (45 units) and converting the Hillmount (100 units, 505 Cherry St. SW) apartments into condos.
"This is the culmination of what my company has been working on for 15 years," said Second Story President Sam Cummings. "When we first started in
The Hillmount has sold with "great velocity," according to Cummings, with 60 units sold and 40 already occupied. The Fitzgerald, still in the presale period, started slow, but saw a run at the end of the year. With four sales during the last week of December alone, half of the project is now spoken for.
Cummings noted that for many years the downtown residential market has been incredibly underserved. Perhaps the most significant factor in the recent wave of development is that each project is so vastly unique, including super luxury high-rise (River House), adjacent medical office space (Park Row), terraced gardens on the Van Andel Arena strip (Tall House), tax-free living (Union Square) and Bohemian simplicity (Hillmount).
With the surge in capacity, the question is consistently raised as to whether the market can support the growth. Jay Fowler, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, isn't worried.
"I don't think we're looking at an overabundance of condos," he said. "I think there is a pent-up demand; there hasn't been many brought on board the last couple of years."
That the city's condo supply has suffered is painfully true. There have been only 10 condo developments of any significance completed in the downtown area since the practice was created nearly 30 years ago. Only 16 units came onto the market in the decade after the 140-unit Plaza Towers high-rise on
However, there has been a distinct industry response to the current wave of condos, as it appears that Tall House, if it breaks ground this year as planned, will be the last development of any size for a number of years. Other projects announced recently have curtailed their plans, most notably Two West Fulton, as Second Story Properties has indicated the 80-unit development will now likely be apartments.
A Busy Year For Condos
Downtown developments actively sold or under construction in 2006.
|Union Square||600 Broadway St. NW||180||Completed||Parkland Properties|
|Cherry Street Lofts||143 Cherry
||Completed||Virgin Soil Development|
|The Boardwalk*||940 Monroe Ave. NW||230||Construction||Parkland Properties|
|The Fitzgerald||33 Library
||45||Construction||Second Story Properties|
|Icon on Bond||538 Bond
|Hillmount*||505 Cherry St. SW||100||Construction||Second Story Properties|
|Park Row||Michigan Street NE||33||Construction||Kegle Construction|
|River House||337 Bridge St. NW||207||Construction||Robert Grooters|
|Tall House||45 Ionia Ave. SW||93||Marketing||Tall House Enterprises|
*Apartment-to-condo conversion. As a result of its nearly complete renovation, Cherry Street Lofts is not identified as such.