24-story hotel envisioned for DeVos Place


Courtesy Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention Arena Authority

A $97-million, 24-story hotel could be the solution for an underutilized area of DeVos Place downtown.

A presentation by Progressive AE at the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention Arena Authority meeting last week suggested a hotel to fill in an underused area of the convention center on Monroe Avenue NW, between DeVos Performance Hall and the Windquest Building. The presentation was a result of a Monroe Avenue Activation Study Feasibility Study.

The hotel would have street-level access, a valet, restaurant and retail, along with four stories of hotel amenities and support and 20 stories of rooms.

The 400-room hotel would serve the need suggested by the Grand Rapids Destination Asset Study revealed in December, which suggested a single, large hotel would be needed to attract new convention business. The hotel would be owned the City of Grand Rapids and Kent County.

The presentation was based on the study that looked at activating Monroe Avenue. Progressive AE cited several projects underway or recently completed to help activate the corridor, including the MSU Biomedical Research Building, The Rowe, Calder Plaza re-design process, river restoration and the 250 Monroe renovation.

Among the project goals listed in the study were to create a financial catalyst, create an urban corridor and create a destination. The study looked at several options, including an exterior raised platform, atrium, lowered floor and a multi-story, mixed-use project.

The first three would have leasable space and activate a current slab building, but didn’t check off all three goals.

A hotel, based on an “upscale to upper-upscale flag” would check all of the goal boxes.

Several local hotel projects have been announced this year, but none are of the scale or vicinity to DeVos Place suggested by the destination asset study.

Rockford Development was added to the team for the feasibility study for the hotel.

The presentation assumed the project would be financed through tax-free bonds with 3.5-percent interest over 30 years. A positive cash flow after debt was predicted by year two, with positive cash flow in excess of $2 million annually after five years.

The hotel is far from a reality, however. The presentation suggested a third-party market study to further consider alignment with the destination asset study and budget resources before a formal project is brought to the table.

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