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$50M apartment project along Medical Mile gets green light from city planners

July 10, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A massive apartment project that will bring 287 new housing units to the Medical Mile got the green light from the city’s Planning Commission on Thursday, July 9.

The project, which will replace 20 homes and businesses north of Michigan Street between Grand and Benson avenues, now goes to the full City Commission for approval.

Developer Matt Marshall of RISE Real Estate, said he hopes they can get their approvals and complete the acquisition of the properties by early November. Construction on the $50 million project should take about 15 months, he said.

RISE, based in Valdosta, Ga., plans to build two four-story apartment buildings and a 334-space parking deck east of the Mid Towne Village development, which includes a medical office building, Park Place condominiums and a Hampton Inn Hotel currently under construction.

“Grand Rapids is turning into a major metropolitan area in terms of what it used to be,” Marshall said. “People are demanding to live downtown. We were fortunate to find an area that we thought was ready for redevelopment. ”

City planners approved the project unanimously after hearing an endorsement of the project by the Mid Town Neighborhood Association, despite the misgivings of several neighbors.

Mark Stoddard, co-president of the neighborhood association, said the developers have been cooperative in meeting with neighbors and addressing their concerns.

Mary Andersen, who lives across the street from the development on Grand Avenue NE, said she was opposed to the size the project and the impact it would have on traffic and congestion in her neighborhood.

Andersen, who operates an art studio from her home, said parking is already in short supply on her street because of the bars and restaurants along Michigan Street.

Likewise, Stephen Langridge, a long-time resident of Grand Avenue, said he worried about the noise and congestion the development would bring to the street he’s lived on for more than 25 years.

City officials said they were satisfied with traffic studies that showed the project would not adversely affect traffic on Michigan Street, which most of the residents are expected to use as they come and go.

City Planning Director Suzanne Schulz said they are in discussions with The Rapid transit system to increase bus service along Michigan Street NE.

As published in mLive.com

Jim Harger covers business for MLive/Grand Rapids Press. Email him atjharger@mlive.com or follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google+.