Developer plans $32M apartment building


Heritage Tower was originally built in 1930 to house the Old Merchants National Bank and Trust Company. Courtesy City of Battle Creek

A local developer aims to breathe new life into a historic building in the region.

Heritage Tower at 25 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Battle Creek sat empty and condemned until Grand Rapids developer Mark Harmsen took over about 18 months ago.

“It was a condemned, mold-filled building, although we got a lot of the mold out now,” Harmsen said. “We removed the hazardous materials — a lot of asbestos in the building.”

The crews also replaced the old, leaking roofs on the building last fall and this spring.

After shoring up the damage from years of neglect, builders are ready to begin renovating the historic structure into a mixed-use complex this fall.

The bottom two floors of the 19-story building will be reserved for office space and retail, Harmsen said, while the remaining floors will have 85 market-rate apartments, coming in one-bedroom, two-bedroom and micro units.

Harmsen said it would be about a $32 million investment to restore the building to its former glory. He expected the first apartments would be leased as soon as spring of next year.

“The restoration costs are extremely high because there’s so much beautiful architecture that has to be rebuilt,” he said. “It’s the type of building you’d only expect to find in a large market like Detroit or Chicago.”

Christman Company is the general contractor on the build out. Integrated Architects is the lead architect, along with historic architect Randy Case.

Heritage Tower was built in 1930 to house the Old Merchants National Bank and Trust Company.

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