Real Estate and Travel & Tourism

Hilton brand hotel opens downtown

July 15, 2016
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Homewood Suites by Hilton downtown Grand Rapids
A look inside a suite at the extended-stay Homewood Suites by Hilton in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Edmark Development Company

A new 110-room Hilton brand hotel is now open downtown.

The extended-stay hotel Homewood Suites by Hilton opened to guests this week in the historic 290,000-square-foot Waters Building in Grand Rapids, at 161 Ottawa Ave. NW.

The six story, mixed-use building underwent a $40-million renovation for two years, led by Grand Rapids-based developers Visser Brothers and Edmark Development Company.

The hotel, which spans nearly 100,000 square feet, is located in the building’s south tower, with a two-story lobby and suites on floors two through six.

The building’s north tower is home to 44 apartments on the fifth and sixth floors and 130,000 square feet of office and retail space throughout the remaining floors.

Suites

The hotel's suites, which include studio, one bedroom and two-bedroom options, were configured based on the building’s existing windows, according to Bill Mast, president of the construction firm Visser Brothers.

Mast said the result is a variety of layouts and sizes. He noted suites range in size up to 1,000 square feet.

All of the rooms include a full kitchen and complimentary Wi-Fi and have been re-done with a modern design, while retaining some of the historic building’s distinct features, such as exposed brickwork, hardwood floors and large windows.

The hotel also includes a number of amenities: a saltwater pool; rooftop deck featuring the Waters View bar; a second bar, Lew’s on Two, on the second floor; fitness center; 24-hour convenience mart, which stocks a variety of drinks, snacks, chilled meals and travel essentials.

Mast said as an extended-stay hotel, the average stay is six days. He noted reservations for lengthier stays have already been made, with one executive booked in the hotel through the year.

Apartments, offices and retail

Mast said 20 of the mixed-use building’s apartments have already been leased, and he expects to see the rest leased within the first year.

He also expects to see the remaining retail and office space leased within the year. He said 88 percent of the office space is occupied.

Timeline and firms

Built in 1898, the building was originally used as a furniture showcase.

Visser Brothers and Edmark Development Company purchased the Waters Building through the Waters Building LLC in February 2014 for $12.75 million.

The building had previously been owned by Three Oaks Group LLC, which purchased the building in 2006, but lost it to foreclosure in October 2012.

Concept Design in Grand Rapids served as the project’s architect, and Visser Brothers served as the project’s contractor.

Grand Rapids-based Mercantile Bank financed the project.

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