Remake adds residential component


Construction of a three-story mixed-use building in downtown Hudsonville is scheduled to break ground in the fall. Courtesy city of Hudsonville

The city of Hudsonville’s efforts to establish a true downtown have attracted private development.

On the heels of the city opening the Terra Square project’s co-working space and farmers market, as well as the restaurant Sonder Provisions opening this fall, construction of a three-story mixed-use building will begin soon on a site next to the former car-dealership-turned-community-center and complement the city’s plans to turn Harvey Street into a walkable corridor. The cost of the development was not disclosed.

Midwest Construction Group Inc. is expected to break ground on the development this fall, following approval for assistance by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and construction permitting by the city, said Scott Geerlings, president of Midwest Construction.

Geerlings said the company started working with Hudsonville more than a year ago, as the city started looking for residential and commercial developers to help create the vision of a thriving downtown.

“We started talking to them about different scenarios, and they had already established a master plan that was a guideline but not an end-all,” Geerlings said. “They were open to variations, and we helped come up with the best solution for their vision.”

Initially, Geerlings said the construction company had planned a two-story, strip mall-like development to help meet some of the city’s goals. Eventually, the developer met with Lakeshore Advantage and the MEDC and discovered those organizations desired some sort of downtown residential component and ultimately would help make the cost more feasible.

“They said they would love a downtown residential component, which is huge in downtowns, like Grand Rapids and Holland, even Zeeland,” he said. “Hudsonville has a great demographic with no downtown living and very few services that you could find in Grand Rapids or Holland.”

With various age groups, including millennials and baby boomers, expressing more interest in downtown living with downtown amenities, Geerlings said the inclusion of a residential component to the planned retail and office use made sense.

With the new aspect of the project in place, the developer added a third floor to the 8,400-square-foot building footprint. The first floor will contain retail, with a planned restaurant taking part of that space.

Geerlings said he couldn’t name any of the planned tenants, but the restaurant has multiple locations in West Michigan.

On the second floor, Geerlings said a financial services provider and a manufacturing office will share the second floor. The third floor will provide eight to nine residential units, depending on the final layout of the stairs and elevators.

Construction costs were an early hurdle to clear when providing residential component, but with help from Lakeshore Advantage and the MEDC, Geerlings said the conversations became a reality.

“Construction costs have escalated since the downturn,” he said. “Hudsonville had already been working on incentives for development, and it helped make this project doable. It’ll help make the rents more market rate and allow this property to get its feet off the ground.”

Geerlings said the shell of the building should be finished by later this year and the tenant build-outs can begin by the end of the year, with hopes to be operational early in 2018.

The development has met several barriers, but Geerlings said each time the project has evolved for the better.

“Every time we came to a crossroads, the discussions made it a better project,” he said. “The length of the planning process was definitely a benefit.”

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