Arts & Entertainment, Government, and Higher Education

Commission amends Gallery on Fulton agreements

City to list commercial property on near southwest side for sale.

August 30, 2013
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Gallery on Fulton
Events and educational programs to be hosted by UICA and Ferris/Kendall will take place in two vacant retail spaces on the Division Avenue side of the building. Photo by Johnny Quirin

Now that Ferris State University and Kendall College of Art and Design have decided to acquire the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids city commissioners had to alter two agreements the city has with the Gallery on Fulton — UICA’s home for the past two years.

“We were the ultimate partner in the Gallery with the parking ramp,” said Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong. In addition to the city-owned ramp, the development also includes an apartment complex.

Commissioners agreed to amend the master deed they executed three years ago with Two West Fulton LLC, the building’s owner and developer. The change admits Ferris State and Kendall College into the structure’s condominium association.

“The association governs the building where UICA is,” said DeLong.

Commissioners also amended the development agreement the city established with Two West Fulton in 2010.

The change lets Ferris State and Kendall College use two of the Gallery on Fulton’s retail condos for events and educational programs to be hosted and conducted by UICA. DeLong said the retail spaces are on the Division Avenue side of the building and are vacant.

The building is located on the southwest corner of Fulton Street and Division Avenue.

“This is good news for the continuing operation of UICA,” said Mayor George Heartwell of the recent acquisition. Commissioners approved both amendments unanimously last week.

Also last week, commissioners agreed to list a city-owned, non-residential property at 30 Lexington Ave. SW for sale with the Multiple Listing Service operated by the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors.

The property is situated south of Fulton Street and north of Watson Street and between the GVSU downtown campus and the West Fulton Business District. The city acquired the parcel following its extension of Seward Avenue from Fulton to Wealthy Street several years ago.

City Economic Development Director Kara Wood said the city doesn’t have a use for the land and will offer it for sale in hopes of getting a mixed-use office development built there.

She said the city is willing to offer a one-year option on the site for $50,000. If a second year is needed, the option price would rise to $75,000 for year two. The option is non-refundable, as the city will use those dollars to cover costs associated with preparing the site for sale and marketing it.

A developer that purchases the property will be required to invest at least $7.5 million into a project for the site and create a 60,000-square-foot, mixed-use development at minimum. A proposal most likely will have to consist of ground-floor retail space and office suites on the upper levels.

Wood said the investment and square footage minimums were determined in conjunction with the city’s planning department as being appropriate for the parcel’s size.

The property is expected to be listed for 30 days at a price of $1.625 million. The minimum-required investment of $7.5 million cannot include the cost of the land.

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