Focus, Construction, and Real Estate

Orion completes two residential projects

Firm also has more urban residential projects underway.

May 2, 2014
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The new Bagley Townhomes feature an interior layout designed to appeal to younger creative people moving into East Grand Rapids. Courtesy Orion Construction

Two multi-unit residential projects down, the rest of West Michigan to go — at least that’s how Orion Construction Inc. sees it.

Orion, a Grand Rapids-based contractor, announced it has recently finished both its Bagley Townhomes project in East Grand Rapids and its Lake Forest Apartments project in Muskegon, both of which are now fully occupied, said Jason Wheeler, public relations coordinator for Orion.

Bagley Townhomes is situated on Bagley Avenue near East Grand Rapids High School. It’s a $5 million project that features a two-building townhome center, which is fully occupied. The center, which holds 16 units in each building, is about 34,300 square feet.

Progressive AE, a Grand Rapids-based architecture, engineering, construction and consulting firm, served as the project’s architect, and Orion was the general contractor, Wheeler said.

The new space has proved perfect for young creatives in the area, who enjoy living close to Gaslight Village, the city’s walkable shopping district, he said.

“These are clients who have a strong, keen eye for design and uniqueness within their condo. More or less, they’re for the couple experiencing the live/work/play environment in East Grand Rapids,” he said.

Orion’s second major multi-unit residential project, Lake Forest Apartments, 581 Lake Forest Lane, Muskegon, was a $1 million rebuilding project that came after a fire destroyed part of the existing Lake Forest Apartments complex in 2013.

The owner, DTN Management, hired Orion to do minor demolition work and rebuild the apartments. Wheeler said Orion rebuilt the three-story, 12,543-square-foot apartment building, which contains 12 occupied apartments.

“We did minor demolition to the foundation that was damaged, and then we did the construction from the ground up,” he said. “There weren’t a lot of new features but certainly improved quality.”

Both projects were significant for the company, but Orion still has a big year ahead, Wheeler said. The firm is in the midst of two more projects that will add a combined 160 market-rate apartments to the area.

Orion is working with MGC Holdings and Birchwood Heights Equity Corp. to develop the mixed-use Seventh Street Lofts project in the Aslan Building, 600 Seventh St. NW, on the west side of Grand Rapids. The project will create 35 apartments in the upper two floors of the building and will house a pub/eatery on the first floor, he said.

The construction firm also is waiting for pending approvals to begin work on Eastown Flats, a project that will bring residential and retail space to two buildings on the north and south side of Wealthy Street on the edge of the Eastown Business District. Much of the project is still under development, Wheeler said.

The projects do signify a trend, however, in that many contractors are looking to build residential and retail in the urban core around the downtown, Wheeler said. By the end of 2014, that will certainly be true for Orion.

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