Mixed-use plans unveiled for 820 Monroe


Some of the new apartments and commercial space will open in November 2015, with project completion scheduled early 2016. Courtesy 616 Development

A first look at the future of 820 Monroe is finally available.

The former Sackner Products building, 820 Monroe Ave. NE, will soon be home to 616 Development’s Lofts on Monroe project, marking one of 616’s largest projects to date.

The project will involve an approximately $22 million renovation of the four-story, 156,000-square-foot building, creating approximately 40,000 square feet of first-floor retail space and nearly 85 market-rate apartments, featuring 51 one-bedrooms units, 28 two-bedroom units and six studio units, as well as a rooftop deck. Phase 1 includes fourth-floor units and first-floor commercial space, which will be completed in November 2015.

The remainder of the units will be finished in early 2016. The project is being designed by Grand Rapids-based Integrated Architecture, with Grand Rapids-based A.J. Veneklassen Inc. serving as general contractor. The interior demolition is complete, while sandblasting is underway.

“We are really looking forward to making Lofts on Monroe a reality and creating a vibrant multi-use building that will strengthen the mix of the North Monroe corridor,” said Monica Steimle, 616 director of development. “616 is proud to play a role in the continued growth of downtown Grand Rapids and the micro communities that directly connect to the downtown area.”

Redeveloping the building is an important project for North Monroe Avenue, said Howard Hansen, chairman of the North Monroe Business Association. He called it “only the beginning of the next phase of major growth for our neighborhood.”

“The Monroe North Business Association is excited to have a 616 Development project underway at 820 Monroe,” Hansen said. “The prospect of more than 80 apartments and commercial/retail tenants in a building that was sorely in need of rehab is a windfall for the entire area — and the city, for that matter. 616 has a great reputation for quality developments and we welcome them to our wonderful community with open arms.”

The project marks a continued trend of converting downtown space to residential. In the Commercial Alliance for Realtors’ Mid-Year Commercial Real Estate Report, Chip Bowling, president of X Ventures, noted that 820 Monroe is a prime example of downtown office space being converted into residential space.

“Buildings formerly considered office space continue to be converted to residential — apartments or condominiums — which have decreased the availability of downtown office space. Great examples of that are 820 N. Monroe and the Waters Building,” Bowling said. 

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