City Adds Brownfields

GRAND RAPIDS — City commissioners approved brownfield plans for two high profile residential projects last week, developments that could add about 280 housing units to the downtown area.

Commissioners granted a brownfield to the $60 million Icon on Bond project at Trowbridge Street and Bond Avenue in the North Monroe Business District. The action will reimburse Moch International $1.8 million over 30 years for $2 million worth of improvements the firm will make to the city streets.

“This will not pay for all of it,” said Susan Shannon, economic development director for the city, who added that the $200,000 difference in the brownfield plan and street work tab could come before the commission again.

“The streets look like a war zone in Baghdad,” said 2nd Ward City Commissioner Rick Tormala, who credited former Mayor John Logie with being the driving force behind the revival of North Monroe.

Moch International plans to build two nine-story towers at Trowbridge and Bond. One has been designed to hold 118 condominiums, and the other will have a similar number of apartments. The building sites are located in the city’s Renaissance Zone and in the North Monroe SmartZone.

The Chicago Capital Management Group arranged for Moch International to receive a $26.5 million construction loan last month for the condo building that will go up on the southeast corner of the intersection. A union pension fund is backing the financing, and the loan covers more than 90 percent of the structure’s total development costs.

Michael Gordon, managing director of Chicago Capital Management, reported that the pre-sale of condos was going well.

Commissioners also granted a brownfield to Second Story Properties for The Fitzgerald, a transformation of the former downtown YMCA at 33 Library St. NW into 50 condos. The plan will reimburse Second Story slightly more than $1 million in tax increment financing funds over four years for demolition work and asbestos removal at the eight-story, 90-year-old building.

“There are a lot of challenges with this building,” said Shannon, who noted that a portion of the structure has to be gutted to make room for parking spaces.

Second Story is investing $13.8 million into the project.    

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