Economic Development, Real Estate, and Travel & Tourism

Developer plans 12-story hotel downtown

January 19, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
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150 Ottawa Ave. NW Grand Rapids rendering
A rendering of the two-building Warner Towner in downtown Grand Rapids by Orion Construction. Courtesy Grand Rapids DDA

A slated $63.5-million downtown project could switch from apartments to a hotel.

Orion Construction’s project at 150 Ottawa Ave. NW will head to the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, or DDA, for an amendment to its original plan, requesting support for its modified plan for a 12-story, 160-key Hyatt Place, instead of the 123 units of market-rate apartments.

The 14-story office portion of the two-tower project would remain the same, with the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd as the anchor tenant.

A 5,000-square-foot restaurant would be on the ground floor.

The change is the result of the project not receiving enough tax-increment financing support from the State of Michigan, according to the DDA agenda. Also influencing the switch to a hotel is the 1,900 residential units in progress in Grand Rapids, including more than 500 of them by Grand Rapids-based Orion, according to John Wheeler, director of development, Orion Construction.

The project hopes to break ground in late April, according to Wheeler, with progress pending approval by the DDA and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., or MEDC, for brownfield reimbursement.

The ribbon-cutting date would be in November 2019 if the schedule is met.

The originally proposed project received support from the DDA last October.

Orion spokesperson Jason Wheeler hinted at the idea of a hotel in the project in a Jan. 13 Business Journal article.

“If we truly see a freeze in urban core market-rate housing, we have options with the housing portions of projects like 150 Ottawa to possibly introduce a hotel component, or additional parking or even reducing the project size,” Wheeler said. “We have always operated under the notion we will fill a need, not create a want.”

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