Partners start work on suburban apartment project


Courtesy Cherette Group

Crews are now prepping the site of a large apartment complex coming to a Grand Rapids suburb.

Site clearing and demolition is taking place in Walker on the corner of Lake Michigan Drive and Wilson Avenue to make room for Westown Apartments, a joint venture between local developers Cherette Group and JAG Development.

According to Walker Planning Commission documents, the project will include up to 209 apartment units in 10 multi-family residential buildings, a multi-use clubhouse building, a dog park, a pool, maintenance buildings, parking, landscaping, and related site improvements like stormwater improvements, signage, landscaping and an internal sidewalk network.

Between 410 and 444 proposed parking spaces, including 96 to 120 garage spaces, also are tied to the project.

The worksite stands on about 21 acres, which belonged to JAG Development before Cherette Group bought in on the property and had it rezoned for multifamily use, said Cherette Group co-founder Denny Cherette.

“JAG is a family office, and they have lots of real estate and other interests in various businesses,” Cherette said. “We’ve been fortunate to do things with them before.”

While Cherette Group is leading the Westown development, JAG Development has designated approximately 12 acres adjacent to the property, dubbed “Westown II,” for commercial use. Predicted uses could be office, retail and restaurants, although no plans have been formally announced.

“It’s one common ownership,” Cherette said. “It’s not a disjointed development by any means.”

Cherette predicted the first units will come online as early as late summer, and a new building will come online every 60 days thereafter.

Cost of the development was not disclosed. CopperRock Construction is the general contractor, and Ghafari Associates/Concept Design is providing architecture.

“We’re very gratified to be partnered with JAG,” Cherette said. “They’re really good people. It’s good to have all West Michigan partners as well … we’re confident it will be a best-class product.”

Cherette Group and JAG Development will have joint ownership of Westown once it is completed. Property management will be through Westown Property Management, to whom Cherette Group will provide oversight.

Daniel Power, Walker’s planning director, said the Planning Commission approved the final area site plan in August 2018 under certain conditions, which include investing about $1 million in road improvements associated with the project.

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