Final Devos Place Phase In Sight

October 17, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — The third and final phase of construction for the new DeVos Place convention center is slated to get underway on June 1 of next year.

The work is expected to take about 20 months, meaning the $220 million facility should be completely finished Jan. 31, 2005.

The last leg of construction includes razing a portion of the Welsh Auditorium and replacing it with a new 40,000 square foot ballroom, which will also do double duty as a dining hall for up to 4,000 guests.

The historic Welsh lobby and façade will be saved from the wrecking ball and will be fully restored.

Dale Sommers, who represents the Convention and Arena Authority in the project, said that Phase III work will also involve a complete renovation of the Grand Center. Workers will add a new large kitchen, additional meeting rooms, rehearsal halls for the building’s four arts tenants and offices for the structure’s management firm SMG.

“There will also be a complete facelift on the outside,” said Sommers.

The phase also includes all the site work, the river promenade on the west side of the building and an extension of the walk along the Grand River.

In addition, Lyon Street Square, located between the convention center and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, will be redone. Workers will install a new surface on it, build a traffic island on it and line it with flagpoles.

“Lyon Street will become a real plaza-type street,” said Sommers. “It will still be open for traffic, but it will be spruced up a whole lot.”

The construction cost for the last leg will run $51.3 million.

“That phase will take 20 months to complete, and that will be completed on Jan. 31st, 2005,” said Sommers.

“The only exception will be if we run into some really lousy weather in the fall of ’04, we might have some additional plantings to do in the early spring of ’05. But that is minor.”

John Van Houton of Progressive AE is the design project leader for the third phase. The Erhardt-Hunt Group is the project’s managing contractor.

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