City approves $40M project


The 5.5 acres of land along Grandville Avenue will contain 48 rental units and 16 single and multifamily homes. Courtesy Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

After gaining the necessary approval, the $40-million Plaza Roosevelt development is set to begin construction in the fall.

The plan for the Roosevelt Park neighborhood, in southwest Grand Rapids, is the result of a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and various other organizations in the area.

The project began in 2013 when Habitat acquired 5.5 acres of land along Grandville Avenue between Graham and Franklin streets.

The partners unveiled their $40-million site plan in August 2017, and the plan went before the Grand Rapids City Planning Commission in January and the City Community Development Committee in early February.

“We’ve seen parts of this in various pieces along the way and have been aware of the process that has been going on for several years,” said city planning commission member Rick Treur. “It’s a great example of people working together.”

The plan went before the city commission Feb. 20 for public comment and final adoption.

“This has certainly been an amazing process, obviously by partnering with all these incredible institutions, but also the residents of Roosevelt Park,” said Bri McKee, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Kent County.

The other partners in the project are Ferris State University, Dwelling Place, Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Hispanic Center of West Michigan, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Clinica Santa Maria and the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association.

The association also has a neighborhood park committee, which is an individual group of neighborhood residents formally included in the decision-making process.

“As we made changes to the site plan, they were that first group we ran that information by,” McKee said. “They have an active voice and an equal vote.”

Most changes to the site plan involved the layout of buildings and the total number of units Habitat would build. The plan that went before the city commission detailed 48 rental units and 16 single and multifamily homes, whereas the initial plan unveiled in August estimated about 45 rental units and about 19 homes.

McKee said all changes were made prior to plan submittal.

The project will break ground beginning with Habitat’s affordable housing units and a new, 80,000-square-foot Grand Rapids Public Schools high school that will accommodate 500 students.

The other sub-projects include two mixed-use, three-story buildings on the north and south ends of the property by Dwelling Place; a 5,000-square-foot extension of Clinica Santa Maria; and the potential to expand the existing Cook Arts Center on the corner of Grandville Avenue and Graham Street.

There also will be a neighborhood plaza in the center of the development with green space, a neighborhood-designed bus shelter and integrated seating and fencing. The plaza is meant to be a public communal area and also can be decorated with outdoor art.

“That park is going to be, regardless of whether somebody lives on that property, a place that everyone can enjoy,” McKee said.

McKee added $40 million is the estimated cost for construction, including new builds and improvements to existing structures. Once construction is complete, the organization is open to financing continual program opportunities.

“Programs are to be determined,” she said. “That’s a process partners are continuing to identify.”

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