Focus, Construction, and Real Estate

Arena Place closing in on project’s last retail tenant

Development also will feature law firm, PR firm, physical therapist, credit union and restaurant.

July 31, 2015
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Arena Place ottawa
A rendering of the 11 story, mixed-used Arena Place in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Orion Construction

The $50 million, 130,000-square-foot Arena Place project, which will include ground floor retail, office and apartment space, and a three-level parking deck when it is completed in April, is just weeks away from signing its last tenant.

John Wheeler, director of business development at Orion Construction, said he expects to fill the remaining 1,900 square feet of retail space within the next couple of weeks.

Other retail tenants that will call Arena Place home include Wheel House — a restaurant owned by the Meritage Hospitality Group — a physical therapy firm, a fitness center operator, a coffee shop and a credit union.

Wheeler said the building’s office tenants have all been signed. They include Miller Johnson law firm, Meritage Hospitality Group and Do More Good.

The building’s 100 apartments will be ready for residents to move in beginning in February.

Wheeler said Arena Place would offer 70 one-bedroom units and 30 two-bedroom units. The market-rate apartments range in price from $1,100 per month for a 630-square-foot, one-bedroom unit, to $1,700 per month for the two-bedroom, two-bath options.

“We are very affordable, as far as our competition,” Wheeler said.

He said the efficiency of the building means residents’ occupancy costs will be less than in other apartment complexes that are less efficient.

Arena Place’s three-level, 288-car parking garage will help accommodate the building’s more than 500 tenants and residents.

Parking has been a major concern in the Arena South area, but Wheeler said he thinks there is plenty of parking in the building’s vicinity.

He noted there would be 45 spaces within the parking deck available for visitors coming and going throughout the day. Wheeler also said the city is adding 14 metered parking spaces along Ottawa Avenue to accommodate visitors.

“I think this area is vibrant, and you can always find a place to park,” he said.

Anticipating that many of the building’s residents and workers won’t own cars, Wheeler said bicycle infrastructure is being included to support bicyclists.

A car share program will be made available onsite, as well, allowing residents to rent a car as needed. Wheeler said as the need grows, additional cars would be added to accommodate tenant needs.

“So if you don’t want to have your own car, you are going to have accessibility to an automobile that you can rent,” he said.

He noted the cost of owning a car today is quickly approaching the cost of monthly rent, so the expectation is that more and more people living and working downtown will choose to forgo car ownership and rely on biking, public transit and car share options for getting around.

Some of the building’s other unique features include: a fitness center, which is exclusively for use by those working and living in the building; a refrigerated storage area to accommodate grocery delivery during the day so a tenant can have groceries delivered while at work; 24-hour onsite property management; and a 10th floor clubroom with a fireplace and balconies for parties and other gatherings.

Wheeler said the building also will accommodate pet owners, for the most part.

In addition to Arena Place, Orion Construction is about to begin construction later this month on its $19.5 million Gateway at Belknap project, which will be another mixed-use development.

The project will include 87 market-rate apartments, three retail spaces and one restaurant space, plus a parking ramp and surface parking lot that will accommodate 120 cars.

The project will be completed in fall 2016.

Orion also expects to begin construction of its Fulton Square property in Eastown as early as November of this year, pending zoning approvals. The $8.8 million mixed-use project will include 47 apartments and three retail spaces.

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