City has no reservations about hotel
Grand Rapids city commissioners amended a Renaissance Zone agreement last week for a proposed hotel at Monroe Avenue and Newberry Street in the Monroe North Business District, and that action gives Hotel Holdings Monroe LLC two more years to start and complete the project.
Peter and Brian Beukema, the father-son team that makes up Hotel Holdings, now have until July 1, 2011, to begin construction on their nine-story, 238-room hotel. Their project, now estimated at costing $37.2 million, would have to be finished by June 30, 2013.
The hotel was initially to have opened this year, but the recession and credit crunch put the start of the project temporarily on hold.
“The property has been vacant since 2004 and it will be a catalyst for major development in the North Monroe area, providing additional hotel space at a mid-market price range as well as meeting room, banquet facilities, a restaurant, fitness center and retail space in the downtown area,” explained City Economic Development Director Kara Wood.
The 40,000-square-foot property has been in the Renaissance Zone since 1997. Commissioners extended that designation in October 2007, which gave the site a 12-year extension on the nearly tax-free status until Dec. 31, 2022.
But the amendment the city awarded the Beukemas last week doesn’t add two more years to the tax status, just to the construction schedule.
The city stands to gain about $36,000 in new income-tax revenue each year from the 150 jobs the Beukemas said the project will create.
The Beukemas bought the property in August 2007 from Blue Bridge Ventures LLC, which purchased the site from Western American Mailers in 2004 when the marketing firm moved to 33rd Street.
The Beukemas recently razed the WAM building at a cost of $50,000. Commissioners reduced the letter-of-credit they have to file with the city for the project by that amount to $950,000.
“Public infrastructure improvements will be made including the replacement of old utilities, streetscape improvements and installation of a snowmelt system. Street lighting will also be added to provide a safer walking environment for downtown residents and guests,” said Wood.
The Beukemas told the Business Journal that they feel the site is an ideal location for their hotel. With Sixth Street Park and the east bank of the Grand River across from the hotel and Canal Park just a block north, they thought the site would give guests more of a residential feel when they arrive. They also liked the property because it isn’t far from the convention center or the medical developments on Michigan Street.
“It’s a very pedestrian-friendly area, and it’s a beautiful area of Grand Rapids, as well,” said Brian Beukema.
The Beukemas has been in the hotel business since 1979. Their company, Suburban Inns, owns and operates the Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express, both in Holland, and the Holiday Inn Express in Grandville.