DDA and city speed up key Fulton project
Lodestar Construction will direct the first phase of a key downtown reconstruction project set to begin in a week or two and finish around Labor Day.
City commissioners and members of the Downtown Development Authority confirmed last week the company, located on Park Street in Grand Rapids, submitted the lowest bid for the project that will reconstruct Fulton Street from Division to Sheldon avenues at the east end of Monroe Center.
The work also will prepare Monument Park, a small triangular property that contains the city’s Civil War statue, for redesign.
The project involves removing sidewalks, walls, trees and street lights, upgrading utilities, installing ornamental street lighting and relocating the statue, while also reconstructing its base. The total cost has been pegged at $547,600, with the DDA picking up $478,600 of that tab. The remaining $69,000 will come from the city’s water and sewer systems.
Consumers Energy said it will reimburse the DDA $73,000 for the electrical conduit that is going in.
Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber has served as the project’s engineering consultant, while O’Boyle, Cowell, Blalock & Associates designed the streetscape.
“We worked with the consultants to expedite this project. The DDA wanted this done by the end of the year,” said City Engineer Mark De Clercq.
DDA Executive Director Kristopher Larson said the board wanted the project sped up so it wouldn’t interfere with 616 Development’s historic renovation of the Kendall Building. The five-story structure is being converted into apartments, retail space and the new headquarters for the company. It’s located at 16 Monroe Center, directly across from Monument Park.
“We have expedited this project,” said Larson.
City commissioners also favored moving forward with the work as quickly as possible so the Kendall Building can open on time. Residents are expected to begin arriving in mid-September.
“He’s a magician. I don’t know how he is doing it,” said Commissioner Walt Gutowski about Derek Coppess, who owns 616 Development and its property management firm, 616 Lofts.
“Reynolds and Sons Sporting Goods is also pleased,” said Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong of the longtime retail outlet at 12 Monroe Center, next door to the Kendall Building.
“No one is happier than Jeff Reynolds, I’m sure,” said Gutowski about the owner of Reynolds & Sons.
Rick DeVries of the city’s engineering department said the bid for the project’s next phase will come before the DDA at its August meeting. That stage is expected to begin in the second half of September and hopefully finish by the end of the year.
“It will be a nice gateway to downtown on Monroe Center,” said Commissioner Ruth Kelly.
OCB&A is also redesigning Monument Park. Wes Steer, who heads the firm’s Grand Rapids office, said the design’s main goal is to open the sight lines to the park so the Civil War monument can be seen from all angles.
“The monument has always been the focal point. If you approach Monument Park from Monroe Center, the monument is actually hidden by trees,” said Steer. He added that his firm’s redesign would “honor the service of veterans and not disturb the core of the park.”