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Allan

New 5 story apartment building for GR

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New Division housing honors late DDA chairman

Saturday, September 04, 2004

By Jim Harger

The Grand Rapids Press

For the first time in several generations, new housing is being planned along South Division Avenue in Grand Rapids' Heartside neighborhood.

Dwelling Place Inc., a nonprofit developer, hopes to build a five-story apartment building as part of a $13.5 million renovation of its Dwelling Place Inn.

The project would expand the inn's 88 single-room apartments to include 116 low-income studio apartments and two "live/work" artist studios facing Division.

The project would be named for the late Verne Barry, who arrived in town as a homeless person in the mid-1980s. Barry later started Love Inc., a job training program aimed at the homeless. Barry was chairman of the Downtown Development Authority when he died this summer.

Verne Barry Place would mark the first new residential construction along South Division in recent memory, said Dennis Sturtevant, chief executive of Dwelling Place.

Once considered the city's Skid Row, Heartside has become its hottest real estate corridor as developers have poured money into old warehouses and storefronts, converting them into offices, college campuses, loft apartments and restaurants.

On Tuesday, Grand Rapids city commissioners will consider Dwelling Place's request to extend a 30-year tax abatement on the project and waive other property tax fees as part of the $13.5 million development package.

Assuming the project gets the commission's blessing and more than $10 million worth of tax credits from the state and federal government, Sturtevant said they hope to start construction next summer and complete the project within 12 to 14 months.

"We're really trying to fill in the holes along Division," he said. The new structure would be built on a parking lot that separates Heartside Ministries and Tini Bikinis Bar & Grill.

Dwelling Place Inn is a low-income housing project carved out of three old hotels 15 years ago. At the time, it was the state's first to be financed by federal housing credits, Sturtevant said.

The proposed project would replace the inn's 88 units with 44 studio apartments, he said. A glass atrium will connect the existing inn to the new structure.

The new building will have a 44-car parking garage on the first two floors and 72 new studio apartments on the top three floors.

Facing Division will be two market-rate units aimed at artists who would combine living and working space.

Sturtevant said the new rent-restricted apartments would replace some of the low-income housing that will be lost next year, when the 120-room downtown YMCA will be converted to condos.

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Awesome!!! Nothing makes me better than a building going up on a parking lot! I hope this becomes a trend all along S. Division. I hope it will even start to extend south of Wealthy. Even though it only 5 stories I'm sure it so a world of good in patching up the gaps in the street wall.

A great spot for a similar project such as this would be the nearby lot across the street from the Goodwill store. The structure that stood there burned to the ground some years ago and now the land is being used as a parking lot. That whole block could use some life.

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the dwelling place project is great - you are right on about filling in the street wall GR urbanist. I heard rumors of a big brewery / market / loft development going in south of wealthy west of division, but it was many months ago so I'm not sure where to point you to read more. anyway it's amazing how big downtown is becoming - from wealthy and division, practically, all the way up to monroe and leonard. that's over 2 miles of new developments.

so exciting

I hope it will even start to extend south of Wealthy. Even though it only 5 stories I'm sure it so a world of good in patching up the gaps in the street wall.

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the dwelling place project is great

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So, Dwelling Place is doing this one? I was told by someone who lives in one of their projects that they are among the sloppiest real estate proprietors in the city. I really don't know much about them myself. Regardless, why hasn't anything more happened since September?

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Centro,

It is happening. I was looking at the buildings the other day and it looked as if some materials had been delivered to the site. I think it is probably a planning issue as they are redoing the whole block. Probably using the empty lot as a staging area. But a couple of the buildings have new windows in place so I imagine they will start working on interior work as well as fixing up the facades soon. I think Verne Berry Place will start to rise this summer.

Joe

So, Dwelling Place is doing this one?  I was told by someone who lives in one of their projects that they are among the sloppiest real estate proprietors in the city.  I really don't know much about them myself.  Regardless, why hasn't anything more happened since September?

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