Arts & Entertainment, Economic Development, and Real Estate

$369M: Estimated economic impact of downtown movie theater project

April 13, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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partial rendering Studio C! downtown Grand Rapids Loeks Theatres
A partial rendering of the Studio C! movie theater in downtown Grand Rapids, which would be surrounded by a public piazza, retail and residential units. Courtesy Loeks Theatres

A proposed downtown movie theater project's first phase could create a $369-million economic impact.

The project

Earlier this week, Loeks Theatres and Grand Rapids-based 616 Development announced their plans for a $140 million mixed-use development in the heart of Grand Rapids, featuring a nine-screen movie theater called Studio C!, residential units, retail space, community space and a parking ramp.

The project would be located on city parking lots 4 and 5, south of Van Andel Arena.

The Downtown Development Authority will consider a property transition agreement at a meeting on Friday. The publicly owned property was optioned in 2012 to Jackson Entertainment, an offshoot of Loeks Theatres.

If all approvals go according to plan, construction could begin between February and June of 2017.

Civic estimates

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., or DGRI, — which manages the DDA — said today that it conducted an economic impact study on the $100-million first phase of the project: the theater, 187 residential units, 38,000 square feet of retail space, a public piazza and 900-space parking ramp.

The second phase would be a roughly $40-million residential tower.

DGRI said its study found that during the first 10 years after completion, the development would generate $369 million in economic benefits, not including the cost of construction, short-term construction jobs and income tax receipts.

“The proposed mixed use, high-density theater project is emblematic of the Grand Rapids DDA’s legacy of facilitating and participating in catalytic projects that change our downtown for the better,” said Kristopher Larson, president and CEO, DGRI.

DGRI said the first phase’s $100-million price tag would make it the sixth-largest development investment in downtown’s history, behind the $290-million Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, $220-million DeVos Place Convention Center, $165-million Van Andel Institute phase two, $137-million Meijer Heart Center and the $115-million JW Marriott.

10-year impact

  • $192.2 million in new consumer spending downtown
  • $156.4 million in payroll associated with new jobs housed in the development
  • $16.2 million in new sales tax payments to the state
  • $4.6 million in local property and income taxes, after tax incentives provided to the developers by the city of Grand Rapids and the DDA

One-year impact

  • $18.5 million in new consumer spending downtown
  • $15.1 million in payroll associated with new jobs housed in the development
  • $1.57 million in new sales tax payments to the state
  • $440,000 in local property and income taxes 

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