Nonprofits eye new campus


The proposed project for Samaritas includes replacement of the roof, mechanical, plumbing, electrical and fire protection systems. Rendering courtesy city of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids city staff are mulling over the rehabilitation of a disused property into a consolidated campus for Samaritas and other local nonprofits.

The Grand Rapids City Commission held a public hearing to consider the establishment of an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation District for 650 Burton LLC — an entity affiliated with the Pinnacle Construction Group — for a project located at 2080 Union Ave. SE.

650 Burton also applied for a 10-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Exemption Certificate for the same project. The applicant purchased the property and has plans to rehabilitate the property into office space for Samaritas.

The proposed exemption will assist the applicant in creating office space in a building that has been vacant and underutilized.

Samaritas intends to consolidate its West Michigan offices into the building, while 650 Burton will own and maintain the building.

The project is a component of a larger overall redevelopment effort, which includes affordable senior housing at the adjacent property, 650 Burton St. SE.

James Lewis, development director for Pinnacle Construction Group and representative for the LLC, said Bethany Christian Services hopes to expand on a portion of the property, as well.

The property currently contains a one-story structure consisting of 24,000 square feet. The proposed project includes replacement of the roof, mechanical, plumbing, electrical and fire protection systems, as well as significant interior and exterior upgrades to prepare for occupancy. A partial second floor will create an additional 6,000 square feet of office space.

Grand Rapids Economic Development Director Jonathan Klooster said the building originally was constructed in 1955 and last used as a gym and locker rooms for a charter academy until approximately three years ago.

“The property was inspected by the city assessor, and it meets the definition of ‘functionally obsolete,’ which qualifies it for this program,” Klooster said.

When the project is complete, the consolidation of Samaritas’ offices will result in 105 jobs moving from within the city to the property with the opportunity for 30 new jobs, Klooster said.

Investment in the rehabilitation currently is estimated to be $4 million with hard construction costs of $3.8 million.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved the project in January 2018, and the city commission approved the rezoning of the property to a planned redevelopment district the following month.

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