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Franklin & Eastern Business District


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Not the sexiest topic, but worth a discussion.

Opening soon on Eastern near Franklin will be Sam's Philly Steaks. The remodel looks pretty darn nice, especially in the context of the neighborhood. This is the only cheese steak place I know of in the area, so I know I will give them some business.


Fifth Third seems to be an anchor at the intersection. They closed the Lake Dr branch over this one, so I would like to think that this location is in for the time being. Metro PCS did a great looking renovation to the SE corner as well.

Other than that, there is a gas station, some Non-Profits with varying levels of building condition, a closed-down car wash, a couple barber shops, and some vacant buildings.

Years ago, this intersection was home to the first Eastern Floral. It is at an intersection that gets a decent level of traffic, with some residential districts that are filled with beautiful architecture that (in many cases, at least) has been run into the ground as absentee landlords took over when people moved to the 'burbs. It is a walkable area, with multiple bus stops and ample parking.

Given what happened with Cherry St, then a few years later on Wealthy St, the Franklin/Eastern district may be the next logical area (IMO) where we may see some revitalization in SE Grand Rapids. With perhaps the highest crime rates in town, the district has a long way to go to attract certain types of businesses. There are few incentives currently in place (like ren. zone on Wealthy, for instance) for businesses and developers to come in and make changes. However, rents are low and buildings are available for cheap.

My questions:

What would it take for this district to turn-around?

What businesses could succeed in this corridor?

If a good restaurant, bar, or retail store opened near the intersection, would you spend your money there?

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