Economic Development and Real Estate

Affordable housing planned for seven-story building downtown

March 7, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
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Keeler Building redevelopment exterior partial rendering
A partial rendering of the redeveloped Keeler Building in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Grand Rapids DDA

A mostly vacant seven-story downtown building could be given new life.

A developer is looking for tax exemptions and payment in lieu of taxes from the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, or DDA, for the Keeler Flats project at the Keeler Building, at 56 Division Ave. N.

The request will be heard at tomorrow’s DDA meeting.

No cost is associated with the project at this time.

The three-phase project would renovate the Keeler Building and feature 132 affordable rental units, a community center and commercial space.

The rental units would be reserved for households with income at or below 60 percent of area median income.

Included in the 132 units would be 42 for permanent housing for residents with developmental or physical disabilities.

There would be 33 parking spaces in the project as well.

Keeler Flats LLC, the project’s “seeking entity,” is split into two ownership entities. Phase one of the project would be by Keeler Flats I Limited Dividend Housing Association Limited Partnership, while phase two would be by the Keeler Flats II Limited Dividend Housing Association Limited Partnership. No entity is listed for phase three.

Muskegon-based Hooker DeJong is the architect on the renderings filed with the city.


Phase one includes construction of 67 units on floors two, three and four. The phase would consist of 36 one-bedroom, 24 two-bedroom and seven three-bedroom units.

Phase two would take to floors five, six and seven with the construction of 65 units. Included in the second phase would be 36 one-bedroom, 24 two-bedroom and five three-bedroom units.

Phase three includes construction of a 5,875-square-foot community day center on the first floor. The center would include a computer lab, vocational center, art studio and exercise and fitness center for residents with special needs through a partnership with IKUS Life Enrichment Services.

The rest of the first floor would be used for commercial space. Three commercial spaces are in early plans, including a 1,732-square-foot space, a 7,928-square-foot space and a 4,737-square foot-space.

Former plans

Chicago-based Franklin Partners walked away from plans revealed last year for the Keeler Building.

Franklin Partners had signed an option to buy the 170,000-square-foot building in January 2016, with plans to renovate it for a new office use.

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