GRAND RAPIDS — Amway co-founder Richard DeVos and Alticor Chairman Steve Van Andel unveiled a new 24-story, 340-room hotel today, one being built to give the city enough rooms to meet the demand expected to come from the new convention center.
The $70 million football-shaped building will take two years to construct and will go up on a piece of riverfront property at the corner of Pearl Street and Campau Square Avenue across Pearl from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
The hotel will be operated by Marriott, will have a ballroom large enough to seat 1,000, and will have a parking deck for 700 cars.
“We still have a strong commitment to Grand Rapids,” said Van Andel, while adding that 80 percent of Alticor’s business is conducted outside of the United States.
“Give credit to the people of this community because they’re helping to pay for it,” said DeVos.
At least $11 million worth of public assistance will go toward the hotel’s construction.
DeVos said his longtime business partner and close friend, the late Jay Van Andel, agreed years ago to finance the new downtown hotel in order to fill the hotel-room void expected to come from the increase in convention business that DeVos Place is projected to create.
DeVos said Van Andel, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and was unable to speak at the time, still had the strength to take on another major project. The last decision Van Andel made regarding the hotel was to help DeVos choose Rockford Construction and Pepper Construction Co. of Chicago as the project’s construction manager.
Van Andel died in December.
“This building will be a special memory for us,” said DeVos. “It will be a great meeting place on the Grand.”
Lohan Caprile Goettsch Architects of Chicago and the BETA Design Group of Grand Rapids designed the blue structure.
New York’s Brennan Beer Gorman Monk will design the hotel’s interior.
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel President Joseph Tomaselli said a groundbreaking would take place this summer and the new hotel would open for business in September 2007. The project requires razing the old Israel’s Building.