Downtown moves forward with Studio Park project


Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids will feature a movie theater, hotel, apartments, retail and office space and a parking ramp. Courtesy Integrated Architecture

The land transaction for a major downtown development project is expected to be completed today.

The City of Grand Rapids said today the Downtown Development Authority, or DDA, should finish the land transaction for the Studio Park project downtown, signaling the start of construction and changes to surrounding streets.

Jackson Entertainment is purchasing from the DDA two city parking lots — Area 4 and Area 5 — for $6,876,606 and the northbound and southbound U.S. 131 “business routes” between Cherry and Oakes streets, just south of Van Andel Arena.

The Studio Park project will feature a piazza, a nine-screen Studio C! theater, hotel, apartments, retail and office space and a parking ramp in the $110-million first phase.

A $30-million second phase will include a residential tower constructed above the parking ramp.

In anticipation of the development, the city is making changes to the surrounding streets this month, with work continuing through late summer and resuming next year.

Planned changes include removing the northbound and southbound US-131 business routes between Cherry and Oakes streets, extending Ottawa between Cherry and Oakes and installing a traffic signal at the Ionia Avenue-Cherry Street intersection.

The project will require seven phases of street construction, six of which will occur this year. Detours will be clearly marked throughout the project. The 2018 work will conclude before ArtPrize in September.

The business routes close to traffic today. The Area 4 and Area 5 parking lots are remaining open for now.

The city will hold an informational open house about the project and how it will impact downtown traffic and parking from 4-6 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, at 185 Oakes St. SW.

Assistant City Engineer Rick DeVries said the project will include multiple phases to minimize impact on the community.

“We anticipate that work will move smoothly and that each project phase will highlight the progress of the work,” DeVries said.

Road construction costs are estimated at $3.2 million, with roughly $261,000 from the city’s Water System Fund, $369,000 from the Sewer System Fund and $2.6 million from the Street Capital Fund.

The city will front end the costs and be reimbursed though Brownfield and DDA tax increment financing, or TIF — new taxes generated by the Studio Park project. 

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