GRAND RAPIDS — City commissioners released a deed restriction on the former Monroe Avenue Water Filtration plant last week and now Ed De Vries Properties can continue developing it.
When the city sold the property to Dykema Excavators, the City Commission restricted development to “commercial business purposes” only. The lifting of that restriction means that residential and office uses can now be developed on the site at 1430 Monroe Ave. NW, in addition to commercial uses.
“Anything that gets this thing moving, functioning and alive is a good thing for that part of the city,” said Rick Tormala, Second Ward City Commissioner.
Ed and Michael De Vries are hoping to build townhouses, offices and a restaurant on the property. Ed De Vries told the Business Journal last week that the lifting of the restriction allows them to continue researching possible uses and potential tenants.
The De Vrieses have an option to buy the plant and its property. But their next step is to go before the city’s zoning appeals board and ask for a zoning change. Right now, the site is zoned for light industrial.
“From their history, I’ve seen nothing but quality developments from them,” said Roy Schmidt, First Ward Commissioner, of De Vries Development.
At first, the vacant filtration plant was going to be turned into a water research facility, but project backers haven’t been able to find the funds to make it happen. City Manager Kurt Kimball told commissioners that the De Vrieses have offered to set aside 25 percent of the plant for the water research facility should the money be found to build it.