Construction is a season in Grand Rapids, and lately it seems the weather will never change. Those of us living in or around Grand Rapids are used to dodging construction barrels, taking scenic detours and finding new and exciting ways to get to home or work.
This year has been one of large developments such as The Rowe, New Holland Brewing and Arena Place, to name a few, and 2017 is teeing up to be much of the same — but with a twist.
The larger projects of 2016 will set the stage for a multitude of smaller developments to support the influx of residents living in newly constructed condos and apartments throughout the city.
So what can we expect in 2017?
- Service businesses such as bookstores, laundry mats, coffee shops (yep, even more!) will fulfill the needs of those living downtown and in the Greater Grand Rapids area.
- Neighborhoods outside the traditional boundaries of downtown such as Creston, North Monroe and Stockbridge will find everything they need to live, work and play within walking distance as these areas continue to be developed.
- Infrastructure improvements also will continue as development districts are formed and new tax incentives are offered. This can currently be seen along Michigan Street and the West Leonard business corridor.
- There will be continued challenges with parking as we move from being car-centric. Grand Rapidians will need to utilize public transportation to get into or around the city as we become more bike and pedestrian friendly.
- Some of the areas that were heavy in manufacturing and industry will become business or retail hubs as zoning and development restrictions change.
As 2017 approaches, Grand Rapids will see much change. As with all change, there will be push and pull with those wanting things to remain the same and others wholeheartedly embracing it. Much like Cleveland and Portland, Grand Rapids is building its identity as a place to live, stay and play.