A rendering of Metric Structures LLC’s Country Club Place development in Grand Rapids’ Creston neighborhood. A rendering of Metric Structures LLC’s Country Club Place development in Grand Rapids’ Creston neighborhood. COURTESY OF MEM Designs LLC

$8M north GR apartment project among recipients of state brownfield grants

BY Tuesday, November 08, 2022 10:51am

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy recently awarded a total of $1.73 million in brownfield grants for three redevelopments on contaminated properties in West Michigan.

The brownfield grants include $1 million for the Boston Square Together project in Grand Rapids, $430,000 for a multi-building apartment project in Grand Rapids’ Creston neighborhood, and $300,000 for a condominium development at 815 Verhoeks St. in Grand Haven. 

The state agency awarded the grants to the city of Grand Rapids’ Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and its Economic Development Corp. as well as the Grand Haven Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. The local entities plan to allocate the funds to the three redevelopment projects.

The grants will fund demolition, environmental investigations, disposal of contaminated soil and the installation of barriers and ventilation systems beneath future buildings to prevent potential exposure to residual contamination.

Jacey Shachter, president of Metric Structures LLC and developer of the Country Club Place project in the Creston neighborhood, said the $430,000 in brownfield funding is an important step for the project. The $8 million project would contain two apartment buildings with multiple levels, but a unit count is still undetermined, Shachter said.

“We like to do infill community development,” Shachter told MiBiz. “This is right in the Creston neighborhood, it’s been vacant for a long time and we like a good puzzle to figure out how we can add value and activate some of these infill sites.”

The development would be located on two parcels at 1603 Diamond Ave. NE and 1600 Country Club Drive NE. The plan calls for demolishing a 1,189-square-foot existing building on the site, allowing for the removal of contaminated soils underneath.

Affiliates of RDV Corp., the family office for the DeVos family, purchased both properties for $270,000 in June 2021, according to property records. Artesian Group LLC, registered to Angel Gonzalez, is the former property owner.

“The City of Grand Rapids Economic Development Corporation is grateful to EGLE for their investment in the cleanup efforts of this project,” Jonathan Klooster, executive director of the Grand Rapids Economic Development Corp., said in a statement. “Our partnership continues to make urban infill projects like this financially feasible and helps to incrementally increase housing supply in our community.”

Shachter hopes to break ground on the project in spring of 2023. Grand Rapids-based MEM Designs LLC serves as the project designer.

Boston Square Together

The contamination in Grand Rapids’ Boston Square neighborhood is likely from former uses on the property that include gasoline service stations and various auto repair and sale businesses, as well as commercial and light manufacturing uses. Contamination also resulted from the former presence of railroad spurs, according to local officials.

The $1 million EGLE grant will clear the way for Amplify GR’s ongoing Boston Square Together project. The project calls for two mixed-use buildings with 102 mixed-income residential apartments and 16,000 square feet of commercial space.

“Through our partnership with EGLE and the city of Grand Rapids, the Boston Square Together project can ensure the landscape is clean and healthy for current and future generations of neighbors,” Amplify GR Executive Director Jon Ippel said in a statement. “We are appreciative of the collaboration that affirms neighbors’ desires to one day achieve environmental justice.”

Future phases of the development call for additional mixed-income residential apartments and townhomes, as well as more commercial space and a community hub with various amenities, an amphitheater and public park. 

The project could create at least 24 part-time jobs and 24 full-time jobs.

“The city of Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is grateful to receive this grant from EGLE for the Boston Square Together project,” Klooster said in a statement. “EGLE has come alongside our existing community partnership with Boston Square Neighborhood Association, Oakdale Neighbors and Amplify GR and this award puts us one step closer to kicking off a significant part of the overall project.”

Grand Haven condo development

Meanwhile, three separate five-unit condominiums are set to be constructed at 815 Verhoeks St. in Grand Haven after the site’s environmental contamination is addressed with the $300,000 state brownfield grant. 

The project would encompass 16,000 square feet, and also provide space for local artisans, small incubator businesses and private storage. Once complete, the project could create five to seven full-time and 20 part-time jobs.

The property historically operated as a gasoline filling station and bulk oil storage facility. Contamination at the property is from leaking fuel from storage tanks on the property. 

“For decades we have looked at a dilapidated building and have worried about groundwater contamination from this orphan site. Now we will see a redeveloped, prosperous property returning value to the community,” Grand Haven Brownfield Redevelopment Authority President Joy Gaasch said in a statement. “This would have been impossible without the support of the EGLE brownfield grant funding.”

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