Riverfront Building In The Works

June 8, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — A new $8.5 million office building is on the drawing board for the riverfront, but this time it’s planned to go up on the west bank of the Grand River.

The proposed building site is about a block south of the historic SixthStreetBridge where Front and Scribner avenues sort of merge at a parking lot that serves the Internal Revenue Service office on

678 Front Ave. NW
.

Front Street Property LLC wants to build a three-story, 46,000-square-foot structure with some indoor parking spaces and a surface lot. The building and the surface lot are going on three parcels. Two parcels are on Scribner and the third is the south portion of the riverfront parking lot on Front, which is the location for the office building.

“The building is going to go on the parking lot. There is a small building on one of the Scribner properties, and that is going to be demolished for a new parking lot for the office building,” said Dan Oegema, acting city economic development director.

The Christman Co. and Plante & Moran PLLC will occupy portions of the building. It’s uncertain how much space each firm will take, but whatever is left will likely be leased.

Front Street Property requested a brownfield designation for the parcels, and the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority granted that request last week. City commissioners set July 10 for a public hearing on the request that would allow the firm to capture taxes worth $828,750 over an estimated eight years for the improvements it will make to the sites.

Front Street Property is also asking for a Single Business Tax Credit of $850,000 for the project, which is expected to create from 50 to 75 jobs.

Should the project go forward — and the chances are good that it will — it would become the largest new development to be built along the west side of the Grand River since Mercantile Bank of West Michigan located its headquarters at 310 Leonard St. NW a few years ago. Although the bank isn’t exactly on the river, Oegema felt that project drew attention to nearby lots on the riverbank, and he believes more development will take place there.

“We think we’re going to see more of that in the future,” he said.    

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