Architecture, Construction, and Government

Developer eyes brownfield reimbursement

CWD Real Estate Investment looks to reactivate properties in downtown and West Side.

December 20, 2019
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CWD recently announced plans to redevelop the corridor along Lyon Street NW between Monroe and Ottawa into a retail stretch with multiple storefronts and restaurants. Rendering courtesy CWD

Two major reactivation projects in Grand Rapids’ downtown core and West Side are up to be considered for brownfield reimbursement.

The Grand Rapids City Commission has scheduled a public hearing on Jan. 7 for a brownfield application filed by CWD Real Estate Investment for its redevelopment of 111 Lyon St. NW and 200 Monroe Ave. NW.

CWD recently announced plans to redevelop the corridor along Lyon Street NW between Monroe and Ottawa into a retail stretch with multiple storefronts and restaurants, according to an earlier Business Journal report.

“This has been a long time coming. Vandenberg and Fifth Third Center are in the middle of our city, but its street-level design has not stood the test of time,” Sam Cummings, managing partner at CWD, told the Business Journal in November. “With the proximity of our best hotels and our incredible convention center, it has the best location fundamentals for increased retail and restaurant density.”

The property consists of two structures, an 11-story building with adjoining above and below-grade parking at 111 Lyon and a six-story building with below-grade parking at 200 Monroe. CWD established a condominium for the first floor of the 200 Monroe building consisting of 7,500 square feet, which will be retained and redeveloped by the developer for retail space.

The remaining floors consisting of 84,000 square feet of the 200 Monroe building were sold to another entity affiliated with RDV Corp for redevelopment into office space to consolidate its headquarters and allow for additional company growth. 

CWD also announced it has secured its first tenant for 111 Lyon last week. Texas de Brazil, a Dallas-based Brazilian Steakhouse chain, plans to occupy 6,700 square feet on the western corner of the development.

CWD will complete redevelopment of 111 Lyon in two phases, according to city documents. The first phase will redevelop the ground floor retail space totaling 44,000 square feet, and the second phase will rehabilitate the 206,200 square feet above the ground floor to attract a new anchor tenant to the office space. The project also will include streetscape and infrastructure improvements, including new sidewalks, landscaping, stairs, furniture and snowmelt.

City documents also noted the total estimated investment in the project is $116.7 million with hard construction costs of approximately $80.8 million. CWD is seeking reimbursement for brownfield eligible activities totaling $5,692,888, including the cost of demolition and lead/asbestos abatement.

200 Monroe qualifies for the brownfield program as a “facility” per the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act of 1994, and 111 Lyon qualifies as it is adjacent to a facility.

Reimbursement is expected to occur over a 13-year period with an additional five years of capture for the Local Brownfield Revolving Fund. The developer estimates 350 full-time equivalent jobs will be created in connection to the project with average wages of $20 per hour.

The city commission also will hold a public hearing Jan. 7 for a brownfield application for another recently announced project along Leonard Street next to Brann’s Steakhouse.

The project, which will break ground in January 2020, came together through a collaborative effort of investors, including the father-son duo of Johnny Brann Jr., owner of Kitchen 67, Brann’s Restaurants and Interphase Interiors, and Johnny Brann Sr., owner of Brann’s Steakhouse.

Other partners include Mike Houseman, president of Wolverine Building Group, Dan Henrickson, president of Henrickson Architects & Planning, and Bill Hadlock, CEO of Paradigm Design

The development entity plans to demolish three vacant buildings at 415, 419 and 421 Leonard St. NW in order to construct a three-story, 23,000 square foot office building. The developer estimates 70 full-time equivalent jobs will be created in connection to the project with average wages of $37 per hour. 

When the project was announced in early December, Brann Sr. told the Business Journal his family has “a legacy of providing jobs and serving the community and the families who live here.”

First Ward Commissioner Kurt Reppart also praised the project, saying it was important to the growth of the West Side.

The project will provide space for commercial offices on the second and third floors for Paradigm Design and retail space on the first floor for prospective tenants of the development.

According to city documents, the total estimated investment in the project is $4.9 million with hard construction costs of approximately $3.6 million. The developers are seeking reimbursement for brownfield eligible activities totaling $458,464, including the cost of environmental site assessment and due care activities, lead and asbestos abatement, demolition, site preparation, and public infrastructure improvements.

Reimbursement is expected to occur over a 15-year period, with an additional five years of capture for the Local Brownfield Revolving Fund.

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