Real Estate and Small Business & Startups

616 housing plans in Creston, downtown add up

June 10, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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With several developments finishing up, expect another 616 Development underway this summer.

As 616 Lofts on Michigan and 616 Lofts on Monroe fill up with tenants and 616 Lofts on Alabama finishes construction, the Grand Rapids company expects to begin construction on 616 Lofts on Plainfield in August.

All that remains in the Michigan and Monroe properties are several two-bedroom apartments, according to 616 Development Director of Development Jeff Olsen. Leasing began this weekend at the Alabama development’s two buildings, which open in August and October, respectively.

“Leasing has looked really good, and we’re working to finish a few retail tenants at Michigan,” Olsen said

Leasing within 616 Development projects has leveled out, said Monica Steimle, director of community relations. She said when the company first started opening apartments, there were fewer units in the projects and in the downtown vicinity.

Now, as 616 Development’s larger projects come online, so too do other developers’ large projects, such as Orion Construction’s Arena Place and Rockford Construction’s The Morton.

Olsen said developers need to start looking at different housing types — ranging from micro units to larger units.

Steimle said the community is talking about different housing options, not just affordable versus market rate.

“We have just been starting from scratch,” she said. “The fun part right now is trying to take an active look at what’s here and what to bring to the table.”

Within the 100 units at 616 Lofts on Alabama are studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 415 square feet to 1,200 square feet. There are bi-level floor plans, as well.

Leasing began this weekend, with prospective residents checking out a model unit, floor plans and submitting applications and deposits. Rents range from $900 to $1,950.

“It’s exciting to have that open on the West Side,” Steimle said, adding the location is near the soon-to-open New Holland Brewing Co. project and the accompanying apartments on Bridge Street.

The next project on the agenda is 616 Lofts on Plainfield, which has been moving through the city planning process. Demolition of existing buildings should begin in August, with a 12-month construction timeline.

Located in the Creston neighborhood, 616 Lofts on Plainfield will include 44 apartment units, 8,300 square feet of retail space and 15,000 square feet of office space, including the new offices for 616 Development. The project was announced in 2014.

Olsen said the company continues to work through the planning and financing phases of the downtown Studio C! project with Grand Rapids-based Loeks Theatres Inc. The Downtown Development Authority approved the two-phase, $140 million project in April.

The first phase includes a nine-screen movie theater, 900-space parking garage, 38,000 square feet of retail space, 187 residential units developed by 616 and a public piazza.

Studio C! plans build on years of work by city leaders and stakeholders noted in GR Forward and Arena South Visioning plans, Steimle said.

“It’s exciting to focus again on a direct downtown location and building up on surface parking lots,” Steimle said. “It brings all those pieces together and is a big deal for us. It’s been a fun exploration because it gives us an opportunity to bring something new to the table.”

Steimle also said 616 Development continues to look at surrounding Grand Rapids neighborhoods for opportunities but isn’t set on leaving the downtown area following Studio C!, as there are other infill prospects.

“There’s a ton of opportunities, and we’re excited the community is bullish about (housing),” she said. “We want to be mindful with what we have and lead the conversation in housing and how it can benefit the community.”

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