Economic Development and Real Estate

Developer plans $21.8M lofts downtown

January 23, 2014
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Developer plans $21.8M lofts downtown
A rendering of the four story, mixed-use lofts on Monroe Avenue NW in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy 616 Development

A developer is planning a $21.8-million project to redevelop a four-story building into lofts in downtown Grand Rapids.

616 Lofts on North Monroe

The makeover of the former Sackner Products Co. building at 820 Monroe Ave. NW is in works by Grand Rapids-based 616 Development.

The city and the state need to sign off on the project, and 616 Development can get to work on renovating the 156,000-square-foot building, transforming it into a mix-used space, said Chris Knape, a spokesperson for 616 Development.

616 Development’s plan involves putting retail/hospitality on the first floor and adding 86 market-rate apartments.

The apartments could potentially infuse about $1.6 million in consumer spending in the Monroe North neighborhood, creating demand for retail, according to notes from the city’s Monroe North Tax Increment Financing Authority.

The project’s contractor will be Grand Rapids-based a.j. Veneklasen, and the architect will be Grand Rapids-based Integrated Architecture, Knape said.

“The redevelopment of this obsolete building into a mixed-use building with market-rate housing represents a tremendous opportunity to expand the 616 Lofts community, preserve and enhance an important part of Grand Rapids history and generate new economic vitality into the Monroe North neighborhood,” said Derek Coppess, founder of 616 Development.


In order to help offset project costs, 616 Development has asked the city tax authority to grant an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Exempt Certificate exemption, which would mean the building would placed on the OPRE tax roll for 10 years and be taken off the proportional value tax roll.

The tax authority would then experience a decrease of about $27,700 in tax increment revenues per year for as long as the exemption exists. Once the exemption expires, the property would likely generate about $115,000 per year in new tax increment revenues, according to the authority.

“Cooperation between the city, the MNTIFA and 616 is a vital component of our long-term redevelopment plan,” Coppess said. “There is still much work to be done before we can get started, but the support from our partners at the city represented a big step forward as we work toward finalizing our redevelopment plan.” 

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