Loose Leaf Is A Solid Project

July 22, 2007
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Infinity Companies LLC is renovating and expanding the former Loose Leaf Bindery building into loft apartments and plans to market the units to young professionals and college students.

“Our target market is young professionals, art students, graduate students, as well as law students. We’re targeting these demographics due to their proximity to the suite and their disposition to choose to live in an urban environment,” said Kris Elliott, a principal with Infinity Companies.

When the work is completed next spring, Loose Leaf Lofts, at 333 Commerce Ave. SW, will offer 34 market-rate units. Studio lofts, live-work lofts and penthouse suites are all in the mix.

“The variety of units directly correlates to the demographic that we expect to serve. There will be a sky lounge for sunbathing and cookouts. There will also be an on-site diner, coffee shop and grocer to service the residents, as well as the neighborhood,” said Elliott.

“This will be a residential enclave with a lush landscape, with private areas both in and out,” he added.

The lofts will feature exposed brick walls, timber columns, balconies, patios and appliances. Rents are expected to range from $700 to $1,200 a month.

Half of one floor will be set aside for students enrolled at the Douglas J. Aveda Institute, a cosmetology school, salon and spa at 138 Commerce Ave. SW.  Fourteen suites are being built to house the school’s out-of-town students.

About 2,000 square feet will be reserved for retail. Infinity Companies will operate the coffee shop. The Lansing-based company owns several restaurants, including the Grand Woods Lounge at 770 Grandville Ave. SW in Grand Rapids.

A small courtyard will be built in front of the building. The project also includes a glass atrium. Turner & Callaway LLC of Brighton designed the project.

“This project is very unique but cutting edge for downtown Grand Rapids. It is a combination of many different ideas spanning from historic building re-use to new building construction and market-rate loft apartments. This concept is pulled together with an urban design style geared toward young and aspiring professionals,” said Curt Mulder of Fryling Construction, the project’s general contractor.

“I think it’s going to be a really modern and unique space for Grand Rapids,” added Aaron Jonker, also with Fryling Construction.

The work involves renovating the three-story, 18,000-square-foot building and attaching a four-story, 15,000-square-foot addition to it. The addition is being built on an adjacent lot.

“The crux of the project, from a construction standpoint, is connecting the two buildings, making sure that process goes smoothly. There is going to be a lounge and a deck on the top of the existing building, so putting that on top of the existing structure is part of the uniqueness of this construction,” said Jonker.

Laying the foundation for the new addition was the first step.

“While we’re getting that ready for framing, we’ll be doing miscellaneous work, like the specialized demolition or preparation in the old building. We hope to be ready for framing both buildings at the same time,” said Jonker.

“The new addition is going to be all-frame construction, and then we go up by floors doing the new-building construction as well as the interior framing on the existing building. So the finishes are happening concurrently,” he added.

Construction is expected to take eight months and Loose Leaf Lofts should be ready for occupancy in March.

“It is an emerging market as it relates to residential and entertainment elements,” said Elliott of the downtown district.

The state and city granted Infinity Companies a brownfield designation for the project that will give the firm a business tax credit of $282,923 and allow the developer to capture another $197,448 in state and city taxes for improving the site. The project will generate $3.3 million in new capital investment and create up to 20 new jobs. CQ

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