Inside Grand Rapids’ biggest new apartment construction projects

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – There’s still a lot of concrete to be poured and drywall to be painted, but progress is being made on two of the city’s largest apartment construction projects.

Rockford Construction Co. and Wolverine Building Group handed out hardhats and safety vests to reporters on Wednesday, Aug. 23, so they could show off the progress they are making on projects along Market Avenue SW and in the Midtown Neighborhood along the Medical Mile..

At 234 Market Avenue SW, Rockford Construction is past the halfway point in building an apartment complex that will include 235 rental units, a 300-car parking ramp and ground floor retail space

The property sits just west of a $60 million expansion of Founders Brewing Co. and across Market Avenue from 19 acres of riverfront property used by city public works departments. The city-owned land is on the market as a prime site for future development.

Project manager Dan Korcek said they are on schedule to complete the $44 million project by July 2018. Construction on the site of a former Showgirls Galleria night club began last October. The project has between 85 to 135 construction workers on the site every day, Korcek said.

The four-story apartment project will include units ranging from "micro-units" with less than 300 square feet to two-bedroom, two-bathroom corner units that will include exterior balconies with glass rails. The development also will include four-multi-story live/work units.

Pre-leasing by the owner, East Lansing-based Maplegrove Property Management has not yet begun.

At the Brix at Midtown project, Wolverine Building Group showed off 73 apartments they opened earlier this month. When completed by the end of January, the development will have 287 residential units and a 330-space parking garage.

Sprawling across the backside of the Michigan Street Hill, the four-story apartment building will be the largest wood-framed building in Grand Rapids, according to Project Manager Troy Hedman.

Offering one-bedroom to three-bedroom apartments, The Brix at Midtown will include three courtyards, a dog park, clubhouse, swimming pool and fitness center.

The Brix at Midtown name pays homage to the early history of neighborhood and "Brickyatt," the Dutch term for brickyard, according to Brookins. Dutch and Polish immigrants made bricks from clay in the neighborhood that were used for building materials.

The project is located east of Mid Towne Village, which includes a medical office building, Park Place condominiums and a Hampton Inn and Suites Hotel

The $53 million project is owned by Rise Real Estate, a Valdosta, Georgia-based developer that purchased 20 homes and businesses north of Michigan Street between Grand and Benson avenues.

The two projects are among several large apartment projects that are under construction in West Michigan this summer.

In Grandville, construction workers are working towards a fall completion of the Grand Castle Apartments, a 15-story project fashioned after the Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany.

The Grand Castle is aimed at middle-income and young professional, with monthly rents starting at $800 for a studio apartment to $1,740 for three-bedroom units. The penthouse units will rent for up to $4,500 for a 6,315-square-foot unit.

With more than 500 rental units in a turreted complex that will rise up to 15 floors, the $40 million Grand Castle promises to change the face of Grandville and the area’s rental market.

Along Monroe Avenue NW north of downtown, Orion Construction is working on Rivers Edge, a 34-unit apartment complex at 1001 Monroe Avenue NW.

Across the river, The Woda Group, an Ohio-based developer of affordable housing projects is building a 68-unit project called "Grand View Place."

In Grand Rapids Township, construction workers are building The Springs at Knapp’s Crossing, a 248-unit apartment community located along the East Beltline Avenue NE north of the Village at Knapp’s Crossing.

Along Knapp Street west of East Beltline Avenue NE, an Indianapolis apartment developer is building Knapp Corner Flats, a 203-unit complex aimed at millennials.

DeWys Manufacturing CEO Jon DeWys told Stabenow that it is important to start exposing young people to experiences in manufacturing and skilled trades early to bring relevancy.

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