Businessman plans bar on West Side


500 Leonard St. NW, painted black, is just east of Seward Street NW in Grand Rapids. Photo by Ehren Wynder

A businessman is proposing to open a bar with live entertainment on the West Side.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission is scheduled to review an application for a special land use to open the business.

The applicant, Bob Schellenberg, is requesting approval to open the establishment at 500 Leonard St. NW. The vacant commercial property was most recently used as a pawn shop.

Schellenberg’s proposal for the more than 3,000-square-foot building includes open seating and a bar area with a total occupancy of 109 people. The proposed hours of operation are 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

In a letter Schellenberg submitted to the city development center, he says his vision for the site is a re-imagining of a former bar called Jukes, which existed on the same block until 2012. Schellenberg is budgeting under than $250,000 for improvements.

Two residentially zoned properties adjacent to 500 Leonard, at 1141 and 1147 Hamilton Ave. NW, are proposed to be used for on-site parking, according to documents from the planning commission.

Per the proposal, the existing house on 1147 Hamilton would be demolished, but the house on 1141 Hamilton would remain, and the balance of the property would be used as part of the parking lot. The two properties total about 13,600 square feet, and Schellenberg has proposed 21 parking spaces.

The request for a special land use is scheduled for review during the planning commission’s regular meeting on March 8.

The review was tabled from the Feb. 8 meeting, when the public notice incorrectly listed 1141 Hamilton Ave. NW as 1143 Hamilton Ave. NW.

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