Commission approves concept of 40-story highrise downtown


A partial rendering of the entrance to the 40-story highrise planned for downtown Grand Rapids, at 10 Ionia Ave. NW. Courtesy Hinman

A 40-story highrise proposed for downtown has received some initial nods from a city commission.

The Grand Rapids Historical Preservation Commission voted last night to table the full project and allow the developer, Portage-based Hinman, to come back with more details on the design and materials of the apartment and hotel building proposed for 10 Ionia Ave. NW.

However, the commission did approve the conceptual footprint and height of the proposed 418-foot-tall highrise, which would be the tallest building in Grand Rapids.

“In concept, this is a beginning point,” said Emily Uebbing, commission chair. “There’s a few more details lacking we’d ask to have in front of us.”

The highrise must receive a certificate of appropriateness from the commission, as it falls within the Heartside Historic District, despite its location across Fulton Street and the majority of the district.

The firm would also renovate a nearby parking lot on Ionia Avenue and Louis Street, which would be connected to the tower via skywalk.

Previously, there was an 11-story building on the proposed 11,040-square-foot site that is now a parking lot, but the building was torn down in 1979.

Hinman representatives at the meeting told the commission they believe adding a building to the site is more historically accurate than a parking lot. They added that the 40-story highrise could fit with the rest of downtown, especially the Central Business District, which they said the project more closely aligns with than Heartside.

The commission would like to see more contextual evidence of how the highrise would contrast to the surrounding buildings.

There were also some questions regarding the human scale of the building and how to ensure it’s not too tall, despite the conceptual height approval.

Hinman representatives hope to be back in front of the commission for the next meeting.

40 stories?

Hinman COO Rich MacDonald laid out a variety of reasons why the building is designed to be 40 stories:

  • Iconic building in downtown
  • Demand for hotel and residential space
  • $6.3 million in potential annual consumer spending from the building’s proposed 255 apartments
  • Enhances skyline
  • The firm owns the tallest building in Kalamazoo, and it hopes to own the tallest building in Grand Rapids

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