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Developer plans urban apartment building

October 3, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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A local developer is planning a 44-unit apartment building in town that would feature “micro-units” and first-floor retail.

Grand Rapids-based Third Coast Development will head to the Grand Rapids Planning Commission next week seeking approval to build an 18,000 square foot, mixed-use apartment building, at 637 Michigan St NE.

The site is currently occupied by vacant single-family homes and next to the vacant Kent Novelty building and a retail building with a Jimmy John’s. Directly north of the site is the RISE Development apartment project.

Third Coast’s four-story building would include 3,800 square feet of retail space on the first floor, likely for a restaurant, according to a city application.

Thirty-seven of the apartments would be “micro-units” of less than 450 square feet. The other seven units would be two bedrooms.

The project would target the “missing middle [or] 80 to 120 percent of the area median income,” Third Coast Principal Max Benedict says in the application.

Benedict also says the developer would pay to improve the streetscape with wider sidewalks, on-street parking, a bus shelter and trees.

The developer is seeking a 76-percent variance in parking. The current number of required spaces would be 77.25. Third Coast is planning 18 spaces on site and hoping to promote alternate modes of transportation and collaborating with RISE Development on a parking garage, the application says.

During the July 6, 2016 Midtown Neighborhood Association Meeting, which unanimously approved the project, Benedict said the development would offer incentives for commuters “who do not need to park a vehicle.” 

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