DDA supports more renovations

August 5, 2010
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The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority recently awarded $286,950 in grants to assist with building renovations in the district.

The largest grant, $225,000, went to Flat Iron Holdings LLC, which is historically renovating a trio of structures along Monroe Center at Ottawa Avenue for ground-floor retail use and for office space on the upper three levels of the Flat Iron, the Groskopf store and the former Herkner Jewelry store. The DDA awarded each building $75,000.

The DDA had earlier given Flat Iron Holdings, led by local developers John Green and Andy Winkel, a grant worth $150,000. The board, though, amended that by adding another $75,000.

Flat Iron Holdings is renovating the three storefronts. Work still has to be done on the three levels of office space, which will be combined to create one large open space.  Eric Pratt, a DDA planner, said the developers told him they have found a tenant for the space and now are ready to start renovating the upper floors.

The DDA grants will be used to provide barrier-free access, install a fire suppression system, upgrade the utilities and restore the façade. Flat Iron Holdings is investing $4.5 million into the project, which will be LEED certified when it is completed.

The DDA also awarded a $50,000 grant to 68 Commerce LLC, which has HopCat co-owner Mark Sellers as an investor. The firm will use the grant to renovate the vacant building at 68 Commerce Ave. SW into an entertainment club called the Pyramid Scheme.

The Commerce structure is part of a larger renovation effort the firm is doing next door at 62 Commerce Ave. SW. That building will become a restaurant and brew pub to be called the Commerce Avenue Brew Pub.

The grant will help restore a portion of the building’s façade, install a fire-suppression system and provide barrier-free access. 68 Commerce LLC is investing $1.5 million into the project.

The DDA also gave two grants totaling $11,950 to Thailand Cuisine LLC, which plans to renovate 48 W. Fulton St. and operate a full-service Thai restaurant there. Most of the grant total, $10,000, will be used for utility upgrades, a second exit, and a fire suppression system. Another $1,950 will help cover the cost of installing a new sign above the storefront. Thailand Cuisine is investing about $74,000 into the work.

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