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The former Sligh Funiture Co. building near downtown Grand Rapids. The former Sligh Funiture Co. building near downtown Grand Rapids. MIBIZ FILE PHOTO

Developer planning massive Sligh factory housing project requesting extension

BY Wednesday, April 13, 2022 04:55pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Sturgeon Bay Partners is seeking an extension involving plans to redevelop the former Sligh Furniture Co. factory in Grand Rapids into a 753-unit apartment project.

The Detroit-based developer has requested the Grand Rapids City Planning Commission for a six-month extension of the optional plan review that commissioners approved on April 22, 2021. Planning commissioners are scheduled to consider the request on Thursday.

The city’s zoning ordinance specifies that optional plan reviews are valid for a one-year period, which was granted for the project based on discrepancies in building height in some parts of the site plan. 

Sturgeon Bay Partners has received concept approval for the building facade design, but it is working to make minor modifications to the unit count and type to further the city’s housing goals, according to a memo to the city by Lynée Wells, the founder and president of Grand Rapids-based Aligned Planning and a consultant on the project.

“With market fluctuations resulting in volatile pricing for construction materials, as well as product shortages, we must consider many attributes of the building construction, which necessitate more time for final design,” Wells said in the memo. 

Construction has not started on the site, and the developer has not yet purchased the building that formerly housed Sligh Furniture Co.

Sturgeon Bay Partners, doing business as JV SBAM SA LLC, acquired 188 Wealthy St. SW, 190 Wealthy St. SW, and 440 Grandville Ave. SW on May 14, 2021 for a total of $5.3 million, as MiBiz previously reported. The three properties are on the same block as the Sligh building, which is planned to be renovated into 753 apartment units as well as commercial and retail space.

Sturgeon Bay Partners co-founder John Gibbs did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the extension for the project. 

Gibbs told MiBiz last year that the project would carve out at least 10 percent of the total unit count to be affordable housing, which would be anywhere from 60 percent to 80 percent of the area median income, he said.

Touloukian Touloukian Inc. is the project architect while Grand Rapids-based Barnes & Thornburg LLP serves as the legal adviser. 

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