Partners plan parking garage downtown


GVSU’s Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences is located on the Medical Mile in downtown Grand Rapids. Photo via

A new six-level parking garage with 1,220 spaces is being planned for downtown.

The Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees and Spectrum Health formally approved a parking ramp that will be built on land owned by the institutions on Michigan Street.

The ramp will be for Spectrum Health employees and Grand Valley students in the health professions and nursing programs. 

The ramp will replace existing surface parking lots owned by GVSU and Spectrum Health.

It will be east of the existing GVSU Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences and adjacent to the state-funded health building approved for 333 Michigan St. NE, which is scheduled to open in 2021.

The two institutions worked with the city and the neighborhood organization, Neighbors of Belknap Lookout, to preserve space in nearby neighborhoods by building the ramp on Michigan Street.  

"One of the university's goals in expanding the health campus has been to work with our neighbors," said John Kennedy, chair, GVSU Board of Trustees. "We are pleased we could devise an efficient plan on Michigan that meets the parking needs of students and employees and eases the burden on people living near this area of tremendous growth. This is a great example of the cooperation West Michigan is known for and the solutions that drive this region forward."

Grand Rapids Second Ward Commissioner Joseph Jones said the decision to refrain from building on the Belknap Lookout neighborhood aligns with a goal of organizations.

"Several years ago, the Neighbors of Belknap Lookout, Grand Valley and the City of Grand Rapids signed a memorandum of understanding in an effort to reach consensus around development, affordable housing preservation and being good neighbors,” Jones said

The design of the 420,000-square-foot facility will be coordinated with the existing Center for Health Sciences building and the proposed health building. It will be designed and constructed to LEED standards, although there is no LEED certification category for parking ramps.

GVSU will be the developer of the project. The choice of building materials and systems will be selected to minimize construction time. Changes in the way people use cars — the use of car-sharing services, for example — will be kept in mind during design.

The day-to-day operation of the completed ramp will be handled by Spectrum Health. Officials at Spectrum Health approved the project last fall.

GVSU’s trustees approved $39,354,000 for the project. The source of funds will be $21,769,000 from the university's parking revenue bonds and $17,585,000 from Spectrum Health.

The architect is Grand Rapids-based Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, and the construction manager is Grand Rapids-based Pioneer Construction.

Construction on the ramp is scheduled to begin this May, with completion scheduled for May of 2021.

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