Nonprofit completes $10M development
A local nonprofit has completed a $10-million mixed-use development to help revitalize an urban neighborhood.
This morning, representatives of LINC Community Revitalization, a Kent County neighborhood revitalization nonprofit, and the city of Grand Rapids cut the ribbon on LINC’s completion of its second phase of redevelopment in the Madison Square neighborhood.
In December 2012, LINC completed the project’s Phase I portion, an approximately $3 million redevelopment that involved adding 16 townhomes to the area. The $10 million Phase II involved the opening of a four-story, mixed-use complex at 413 Hall St. SE, a site that was formerly TJ’s Warehouse. The new complex offers 24 apartments on the top three floors and about 6,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.
“The work LINC is doing in our city is helping to transform neighborhoods and communities that need it the most,” said Mayor George Heartwell. “Phase II of their Southtown Square project has helped Grand Rapidians find quality, affordable and energy-efficient housing, and has allowed four businesses to open their doors in a new space.”
The Southtown Square complex was constructed by Wolverine Building Group, with Isaac V. Norris and Associates serving as the project’s architect and Concept Design Studios doing design.
Phase II of LINC’s plan also involved adding 20 more townhomes, 15 on Gilbert Street SE and five on Umatilla Street SE. Those townhomes were completed earlier this summer.
“Our focus has always been revitalization of neighborhoods and communities, and the completion of Phase II of Southtown Square achieves part of that goal in the Madison Square area of Southeast Grand Rapids,” said Darel Ross, co-executive director of LINC. “We hope to continue affecting change here and look forward to this neighborhood becoming a vibrant and modern place to live, work and play, with our Southtown development as its focal point.”
The Southtown Square apartments have already been leased. The first floor retail space has room for four tenants and has already named two of them: Grand Rapids African American Health Institute and Serenity Boutique, which was formerly housed in MoDiv in downtown Grand Rapids.
“Serenity Boutique is excited to open our facility in the Southtown space and be a part of the continued revitalization of Southeast Grand Rapids,” said Ebone Farely, owner of Serenity. “LINC is providing an amazing retail corridor for us and for several other businesses, and we hope that this support allows us to prosper and grow so that we can inspire other companies and small businesses to open their doors in this community, as well.”
Phase II’s purpose is to create a neighborhood catalyst that will attract and retain businesses and create better affordable housing for families in the neighborhood, a goal that will “send a different message to people driving through the area,” said Jeremy DeRoo, co-executive director at LINC.
“Tenants that are living here will pay one-third of their income to live here, but they can’t be making more than 50 percent of area median income,” he said. “We know that providing stable housing for families is very important, and high quality is important, as well … it’s important for the long term that kids can grow up here.”
LINC’s Phase III will involve building similar townhomes to add density to the area, DeRoo said, adding that between LINC, the city and others, there’s been about $30 million invested in the Madison Square neighborhood in the last decade.
“A number of studies … have shown that Grand Rapids just doesn’t have enough townhouses to meet market demands in general, but specifically for multi-family housing,” he said. “We’re looking to meet that demand in this neighborhood here because it’s uniquely positioned to have new housing added to it.”