Nonprofit redevelops downtown bar building


Heartside Ministry in downtown Grand Rapids shares “hope, faith and life” with its underserved neighbors by offering various programs such as GED classes. Photo via

A social services nonprofit that helps its underserved neighbors is beginning the process of transforming a former bar and grill downtown into its new home.

New façade

Heartside Ministry received approval last week from the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, which is operated by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., for a $15,000 Building Reuse Incentive Program grant for the former Tini Bikini’s Bar and Grill building, at 78 Division Ave. S.

Heartside Ministry plans to relocate its full operations to the building from its current location, at 54 Division Ave. S.

The reconstruction process will take place in two phases, and the grant funding was authorized for phase 1, which is expected to cost $63,000.

Grant proceeds will help offset some of the cost associated with the historic restoration of the building’s façade.

In July 2014, the building sustained damage to its façade when the driver of a van lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the building’s storefront.

The phase 1 construction work will include the complete restoration of the damaged storefront, including new entryway windows and façade improvements.

Reconstruction is expected to begin in April and should be completed by June.

Redeveloping space for programs

Phase 2 of the reconstruction project, which includes renovations to the basement and floors two and three of the building, will take place at a later time. The upper portion of the building has not been used for several decades.

The ground floor of the building will house the Heartside Gallery and a community center.

The building’s basement will be transformed into studio space and will house a public restroom that will be open 24/7.

The upper two floors will include office and meeting spaces and a chapel.

Heartside Ministry plans to operate a GED and literacy program out of the space as well.

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