DDA backs building projects with grants

February 13, 2011
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Members of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority awarded $109,200 in building reuse grants last week to three proposed construction projects in the district.

A $50,000 grant went to Rood Sixty North LLC for its renovation of the historic Rood building at 135 Pearl St. NW, just a few steps east of Monroe Avenue. The building has been home to Flanagan’s Irish Pub for more than 20 years, and the development firm plans to turn the top three floors of the four-story structure into 15 market-rate apartments. The DDA grant will help pay for a historic renovation of the façade, an upgrade of the utilities and a reconfiguration of the building’s fire suppression system. Rood Sixty North is investing about $745,000 into the project.

The board gave two building reuse grants worth a total of $49,200 to G-B Holdings for its improvement of the former Reptile House building at 135 S. Division Ave. The DDA awarded the first grant in July 2009 for the first construction phase, which included restoring the front façade. The DDA handed out the second grant last week, which will be used to restore the rear façade, upgrade the utilities and build a fire-rated stair tower. The developer plans to offer commercial space on the first floor and build two condominiums on the second floor. G-B Holdings is investing $240,000 into the project.

A $10,000 grant went to 45 Ottawa Associates LLC for restoration of the former Custer Office Showroom building at the corner of Ottawa and Louis NW. The development firm is renovating the building for Davenport University. 45 Ottawa Associates initially asked for a $50,000 grant but the DDA Incentives Program Advisory Board recommended a $10,000 grant because the building is fairly new compared to the others awarded grants.

“They don’t have those issues. It’s a relatively modern building,” said DDA Executive Director Jay Fowler, who added that fire protection and barrier-free access aren’t issues for the building. The project will reportedly cost $940,000 to complete.

Prior to these awards, the DDA had handed out building reuse grants worth $88,371. The board also had spent nearly $25,000 for economic development activities and retail support by the end of January, which is seven months into the fiscal year.

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