Project 'Ideal' For Med School

June 7, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Developers of the planned Mid Towne Village development on Michigan Street hill have finalized the purchase of 42 properties in the project area and are ready to move ahead.

The mixed-use development, which covers a six-acre parcel bounded by Michigan Street, I-196, Paris Avenue and Union Avenue, will feature 182,000 square feet of retail, office, medical office and residential space across five buildings.

The first stage of development is set to begin in July and will involve demolition of about 35 homes. Demolition is expected to take 30 to 45 days to complete, said Brad Rosely, vice president of S.J. Wisinski & Co. and a representative for the development group.

Construction of the new buildings could begin as early as August. Wisinski & Co. will handle all Mid Towne’s lease agreements.

Rosely recently floated the idea that the Mid Towne location would be ideal for Michigan State University’s medical school should MSU decide to move much of its College of Human Medicine to Grand Rapids, as has been proposed.

He believes it’s “ideal” because of the Mid Towne project’s close proximity to Spectrum Health, GVSU’s Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, the Van Andel Institute and Saint Mary’s Mercy Medical Center.

But Rosely said neither he nor the developers, Mid Towne Village LLC, have approached MSU about that possibility as yet.

In a draft financial analysis released last month, MSU estimated the capital building cost of the medical school at between $45 million and $75 million.

According to the university, the numbers are based on rough estimates and no detailed facility plan has been completed to date.

As stated in the analysis, MSU expects to rent space in fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2005, but build a permanent home for the medical school and have it occupied no later than the arrival of students in Grand Rapids, which is projected to occur in fiscal 2007.

The Mid Towne project will start with Building D, a 25,000-square-foot, three-story building that will offer a mix of retail, office residential and “live-work” space.

Building A, a 60,000-square-foot, three-story building, will be positioned directly behind Building D and will be devoted to medical offices, with some retail space planned for the first floor.

After Buildings A and D are completed, construction will commence on Buildings F, C and B, in that order, Rosely said.

Brownstones and townhouses are planned for the two-story, 20,600-square-foot Building F on the east end of the site.

Building C, to be located in the center of the campus, will have three floors and 29,000 square feet of space for retail, office, live-work and residential tenants.

A four-story, 48,000-square-foot Building B on the north side of the campus will offer medical office space on the top three floors and a combination of retail and office space on the first.

Lease rates are listed at $18.95 per square foot for buildings A and B, and at $15.95 per square foot for buildings C and D.

“If it goes like it looks like it’s going to go, they might go up quicker than anticipated. It will be a lease-in-progress type of situation,” Rosely said.

Cornerstone Architects designed the buildings and Pioneer Construction is the general contractor. Other partners on the Mid Towne project are Van Tol, Magennis & Lang Inc., Driesenga & Associates Inc. and National City Bank.    

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