Hinman Company’s long-awaited development plans for the triangular parking lot at 10 Ionia Ave. NW in downtown Grand Rapids are one step closer to fruition.
The city of Grand Rapids held a public hearing during its Oct. 23 meeting to consider the Portage-based company’s application for brownfield reimbursement.
Kara Wood, the city’s managing director of economic development services, told the city commission Hinman is seeking reimbursement for brownfield-eligible activities totaling approximately $2.2 million. Activities include the cost of environmental site assessment activities, demolition, site preparation, and both public and private infrastructure improvements.
The developer’s plans call for a 13-story, 135,555-square-foot tower, with 146 hotel rooms and 5,555 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The total estimated investment for the project is $36.4 million, with construction costs of approximately $27.7 million.
The hotel will be a Marriott Residence Inn, which Hinman COO Rich MacDonald touted as a reputable brand.
“We think that hotel and that brand will do a number of things. Obviously, it will help support the arena and the convention center, increase critical mass with visitors close to the mall, which will help support and sustain retail,” MacDonald said.
Hinman estimated 51 full-time jobs would be created in connection with the project, with wages between $10 and $31.25 per hour and an average of $12.52 per hour.
Hinman also owns the 30 Ionia Ave. NW parking lot across the street from 10 Ionia, and parking for the hotel will be accommodated in that ramp. MacDonald said the company received approval from the Grand Rapids planning commission to build an overhead walkway that would connect the two buildings.
Wood also said, because of Hinman’s willingness to invest in pedestrian improvements at all three intersections of the project, the company qualifies for a reduction in the annual administration fee from 10 to 5 percent a year.
Reimbursement is expected to occur over a 15-year period, with an additional five years of capture for the local brownfield revolving fund.
As the Business Journal previously reported, Hinman also has received approval for development support from the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority for approximately $1.4 million of eligible DDA activities, which include development of sidewalks, snowmelt, street furniture, landscaping and improvements associated with bringing the project into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, such as new doors, ramps and an elevator.
Earlier this year, Hinman decided to scale back its plans for the 10 Ionia site, which originally was going to be the site of a proposed 42-story skyscraper.
MacDonald cited market pressures as the reason for the change, but the façade and “flatiron” shape would stay the same regardless. The Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission approved the revised plans.
According to the Historic Preservation Commission’s website, the 10 Ionia lot was formerly the site of the Rindge, Kalmbach, and Logie Co., a footwear manufacturing company. The original building was constructed between 1898 and 1899.
MacDonald said the building housed a variety of different businesses over the years, including a service station at one corner of the property that was demolished in the 1970s. The current site is contaminated because of the history of automobile use, and the old building’s foundations still are present on the site.
“The site has a number of challenges, obviously the shape of the site and the fact that there are really no staging areas,” MacDonald said.
He said there are 156 parking spaces in the ramp, and with an estimated 75 percent occupancy for the hotel, he speculated a maximum 110 parkers would utilize the ramp at a given time.
“As time goes on, we’re estimating that fewer and fewer people will drive,” MacDonald said. “We’ll have some people that will take cabs and Uber or different means of transportation.”
Currently, Hinman expects to start construction between late December and early January 2019, and the company expects to wrap up mid-to-late 2020. The city commission will vote on brownfield approval at a later meeting.