Architecture & Design, Economic Development, and Real Estate

Developer plans fairytale complex

July 10, 2015
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Castle apartments
A castle-like apartment building could go up in Grandville. Courtesy Land and Co.

A local developer is hoping new residents to the area will soon be able to live like royalty.

On Monday, July 13, the Grandville City Council will decide whether to approve Roger Lucas’ dream to build his own apartment development version of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, which also served as the inspiration for the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.

Lucas, a partner at the Grand Rapids-based development firm Land and Co., has visited Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany, 10 times, and said the beauty of its architecture and design made him want to build his own residential retreat in Michigan.

“I’ve been to Europe on many occasions and was always impressed with castles — how big they were and how’d they make great apartments,” he said. “No one’s ever seen what we’re doing; no one’s ever done it. I always thought castles were fun … you can literally live like a king.”

Lucas’ plan is to build a main 12-story tower with a similar roof and castle turrets to Neuschwanstein, and another six-story center surrounding it, at the vacant 23-acre site of the former LaGrande Mobile Home Park on 28th Street SW. He said the entire project would cost between $30 million and $40 million, but that financing has not yet been secured.

The tower would be 10 stories of apartments on top of two stories of a car garage that could park 580 cars. The whole building, including the garage, would be 700,000 square feet. The development would offer 356 apartments comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The average unit would be about 1,100 square feet and the price would be about $1,100 or more per month, he said.

Surrounding the main “castle” tower would be more than a dozen two-story carriage units that would offer another 104 living spaces. An additional 50,000 square feet for retail and office space would also be developed, he said.

Land and Co. would serve as the developer, contractor and designer, and Florida-based Fugleberg Koch Architecture would serve as architect.

If the project is approved Monday, Lucas hopes to start construction in early spring and have units available for occupancy later in the year.

The development plan and a planned-unit development rezoning request were introduced at the June 22 city council meeting, where the proposal was tabled. Councilors will resume their discussion July 13 and have the option to approve the plan and PUD zoning change at that time, according to Matt Butts, assistant city manager.

Lucas said the project would include many “firsts” for the area.

“We’ve never gone this tall before, but we think it’d be a wonderful project,” he said.

One voice that’s already spoken in favor of the proposal is that of Rusty Richter, managing broker at Richter Realty in Grandville.

“I think this will generate a redevelopment of the north side of Grandville. We’ve got a lot of development with the Rivertown Mall... Now we need to focus on the north end, which is where 28th (Street) is a catalyst for that,” he said.

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