Grand Rapids to consider $22M in brownfield incentives for 8-story Spectrum Health development COURTESY RENDERING

Grand Rapids to consider $22M in brownfield incentives for 8-story Spectrum Health development

BY Wednesday, October 13, 2021 02:56pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health has filed a Brownfield Plan Amendment for its new Center for Transformation and Innovation, an eight-story office tower planned for the Monroe North neighborhood near downtown Grand Rapids. 

The City of Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority plans to consider the measure at an Oct. 27 meeting before it goes to city commissioners for final approval.

Spectrum has about $22 million worth of estimated eligible costs associated with the redevelopment project. According to city staff, about $16 million could be reimbursed over the next 21 years.

The Grand Rapids-based health system has planned the massive development for a 4.8-acre site at 635, 706 and 725 Bond Ave. NW. Spectrum estimates the first phase of the project will support about 1,800 full-time staff members. That includes many Spectrum Health employees now working in other locations across the greater Grand Rapids area who will relocate to the new facility, Alan Kranzo, senior director of real estate strategy and planning for Spectrum Health, said at an Oct. 12 Grand Rapids Economic Development Project Team meeting. 

Spectrum expects to add at least 350 new jobs because of the new facility, Kranzo added.

“This really gives us a great opportunity to create a destination in the heart of Grand Rapids where we’ll be bringing various individuals and leaders from other areas of Spectrum Health and bringing them to one specific location,” Kranzo said. “This is really a strategic location for us in close proximity to the medical center that will also be a destination for other health care workers and partners across West Michigan and across the country.”

The first phase of the CTI also includes constructing two parking decks with 420 spaces each, building a 215-space surface parking lot on Bond Avenue and renovating the former Brass Works building at 648 Monroe Ave. NW. Spectrum expects construction of new buildings to begin this fall, with completion targeted for spring 2023.

Crews have finished demolishing the former Gill Industries Inc. facility on Ottawa Avenue, while construction continues inside the Brass Works building after Spectrum Health purchased it last year for $25 million, as MiBiz previously reported. 

Jimmy John’s sandwich shop will stay on as a tenant in the Brass Works building and Spectrum is in the process of working with the building’s three other current tenants who are interested in relocating, Kranzo said. 

To leverage brownfield authority support for the project, Spectrum also is working with the city to remove several parcels of land from the SmartZone district and the Downtown Grand Rapids Development Authority.

The DDA voted Oct. 13 to remove a parcel of land at 710 Monroe Ave. from the DDA district to facilitate the brownfield project. As well, the city Local Development Finance Authority voted Oct. 7 to remove from its Certified Technology Park the five parcels located at 710 Monroe Ave. NW, as well as 635, 706 and 725 Bond Ave. NW. 

The LDFA also voted to remove four other properties that were not tied to the Spectrum project because of other planned or completed development projects. 

“The potential of what will happen around that development is substantial,” said Grand Rapids Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong. “We don’t necessarily know what that will be, but there is land around there to make it happen and infrastructure for that to happen within the SmartZone so there will be some recapture of potentially what they have forgotten to facilitate in this project. This could be one of the most important economic development projects we’ve undertaken.”

The Grand Rapids City Commission will likely vote on the removal of properties from the SmartZone and DDA districts when it considers Spectrum’s brownfield plan amendment later this month.

While the city is moving ahead with removing the 710 Monroe Ave. property from the DDA jurisdiction, the effect on the DDA will be minimal, said Tim Kelly, president and CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., which administers the DDA. Because the city added the property to the DDA district after the SmartZone was established, the DDA does not collect tax increment revenue on the parcel. 

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