Downtown highrise apartment project breaks ground


A rendering of The Venue Tower, Venue entertainment complex and beer garden in downtown Grand Rapids next to The B.O.B. Courtesy Orion Construction

Construction has begun on a highrise apartment complex downtown that will stand alongside an entertainment complex and beer garden.

Orion Construction and The Gilmore Collection in Grand Rapids announced today that construction has officially started on The Venue Tower project in the former B.O.B. parking lot in Grand Rapids, at 20 Monroe Ave. NW.

DTN Management in Lansing is the owner and property manager of The Venue Tower.

The Venue Tower project, which will be constructed by Grand Rapids-based Orion, is anticipated to be completed in three phases, with the apartment highrise being the first phase. Construction is on the apartment tower is expected “to go vertical” this spring and be completed by next spring.

The next two phases for The Venue Tower project are building a 38,000 square foot, three-story Venue entertainment space and the beer garden.

John and Greg Gilmore will own the Venue and beer garden.

Midland-based Chemical Bank is serving as a financial partner for the tower portion of the project, while Grand Rapids-based Mercantile Bank is providing financing for the entertainment venue.

Apartment tower

The first step is to complete the 92,000-square-foot apartment tower, which will house 44 one-bedroom apartments, 20 two-bedroom apartments and 24 studio units under 500 square feet, or "micro-lofts," to comprise a total of 88 units.

John Wheeler, a spokesperson for Orion Real Estate Solutions, a division of Orion Construction, said the motivation behind the micro-lofts is to create living space that "goes beyond being small."

“It’s about efficiency and impact of everything from the physical space to the utilities to the lifestyle it encourages,” Wheeler said. “These are designed for the active urbanite who desires quality, not quantity. So we’ve incorporated these to complement and diversify our typical audience.”

Tom Tooley, VP of ConceptDesign in Grand Rapids and project architect, said Grand Rapids housing studies show a growing demand for micro-housing options, and all of the tower's units reflect consumers’ expectations.

“The tower will offer a variety of floor plans, all featuring large windows and efficient kitchen and living space allowing for entertaining,” Tooley said. “The sleek, modern design of each unit will reflect the contemporary feel of the steel and glass exterior.”


Orion Construction and its real estate division, Grand Rapids city officials, state of Michigan representatives and project team members gathered at the project site today to celebrate its kickoff.

The groundbreaking ceremony included remarks from several people: Greg Gilmore, CEO of The Gilmore Collection; Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss; Kris Larson, CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.; Ryan Kilpatrick, Michigan Economic Development Corp.; Zachary Dennis and Dan Terpsma, Chemical Bank; Tom Tooley, ConceptDesign; and John Wheeler, Orion.

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