Developer begins $7M urban apartment project


A partial rendering of Midtown CityZen in northeast Grand Rapids. Courtesy Third Coast Development

A local developer has broken ground on a $7-million apartment building in town that will feature a restaurant.

Grand Rapids-based Third Coast Development said recently it started excavation work for its Midtown CityZen, a four-story, 40,000-square-foot building just east of Medical Mile in Grand Rapids, at 637 Michigan St. NE.

The projected is expected to be complete this November.

The building will feature 44 units, ranging from 375 to 650 square feet and priced for individuals and families making 80 percent of the area median income, or AMI.

“We were trying to figure out ways to make apartments more affordable,” said Dave Levitt, partner, Third Coast Development. “We’ve been working on that concept for a couple of years.”

Third Coast enlisted the help of Mike Corby of Grand Rapids-based Integrated Architecture to design the apartments “from the user perspective out.” Levitt explained the perspective allowed them to design a building based on the exact amount of space they needed.

“It’s kind of like construction in reverse,” Levitt said. “That allows you to take space out of apartments that nobody needs anyway. There’s no wasted space.”

The building will also include 3,500 square feet of restaurant space on the ground floor.

Grand Rapids-based Wolverine Building Group is the project's contractor.

Lansing-based Michigan Community Capital, or MCC, signed on as an equity investor for the project.

MCC is a nonprofit community development corporation supported in part by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, or MEDC, through a $10-million loan facility, which is designed to target residential development to meet the needs of individuals and families making 61 to 120 percent of AMI.

“We are excited to join Third Coast Development at the onset of this project and assist in bringing quality housing to hard-working individuals and families who otherwise may not be able to afford to reside in a near-downtown setting such as CityZen,” said Eric Hanna, president, MCC.

Plans for the development were announced late in 2016.

The Business Journal previously reported Third Coast sought approval from the Grand Rapids Planning Commission to build on the site once occupied by vacant single-family homes.

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