GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Years ago, when John Wheeler would pass by the 125-car parking lot at the corner of Ottawa Avenue NW and Lyon Street, he dreamed of creating a development that would add to the vibrancy of downtown Grand Rapids.
Now, about three years after inking a deal with Grand Rapids-based Ellis Parking Co. to develop the property, that dream has become a reality.
Wheeler’s company, Orion Real Estate Solutions, is hosting a grand opening Friday morning for a 12-story Hyatt Place hotel at 140 Ottawa. It stands next to a 15-story commercial office tower and parking garage that was also built by Orion on the site of the former parking lot.
“This hotel is a dream come true for me,” said Wheeler, president of Orion Real Estate Solutions. “It’s a vision that we’ve had for downtown Grand Rapids for a long time, which is to try and take these surface parking lots and really engage the community and do something vertical, fun, and something that fills a need, not creates a want.”
Together, the buildings cost about $80 million to build.
They’re owned by a partnership that includes Orion Real Estate Solutions, DTM Management of Lansing and SIBSCO, the real estate firm run by the family of Peter Secchia, a local business leader and former U.S. Ambassador to Italy.
Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Hyatt Place boasts 160-rooms, a 24-hour gym, 1,551-square-feet of meeting space and a kitchen that serves a selection of meals available day and night. The hotel allows visitors, for a $75 fee per-stay, to bring up to two dogs, each of which can weigh up to 50 pounds.
Wheeler said all rooms have floor to ceiling glass, a feature that’s designed to “bring the outside in.”
“It’s an ambiance that says, ‘come on in, enjoy the common spaces, enjoy a larger room, but feel like you’re outside in the view of the city,” he said. “Most hotels they don’t really have this much exposure that brings in the outside.”
The Ellis family and a host of developers, politicians, bankers and lawyers, staged a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, June 27, to celebrate a $72 million office tower and hotel project being built on the 125-space parking lot.
The hotel, whose rooms range from $179 to $299 per-night, officially opened to visitors on Aug. 13.
It joins a growing number of hotels in downtown Grand Rapids.
In April, for example, a 250-room Embassy Suites by Hilton opened at 710 Monroe Ave. NW. And in June, a 130-room AC Hotel by Marriott opened at 50 Monroe Ave. NW.
Meanwhile, a 130-room Marriott Residence Inn is under construction at the corner of Fulton Street NW and Ionia Avenue. In addition, a 164-room Canopy by Hilton hotel is expected to open in mid-2020 within the Studio Park development in downtown Grand Rapids, according to Hilton’s website.
Despite the growing number of rooms, Orion says he’s confident business will be strong at Hyatt Place. Since opening in August, the hotel has already sold out twice, and he’s optimistic that business travelers, families visiting Grand Rapids, and people attending conventions and trade shows at DeVos Place will keep the Hyatt’s occupancy rate strong.
Another big draw: concerts at Van Andel Arena.
“Every sold-out concert there, we sell out,” Orion said, adding that one of the Hyatt’s sold out nights occurred last month when county musician Chris Stapleton came to the arena.
Hyatt Place is managed by AHC+Hospitality, a Grand Rapids-based firm that also manages operations at four other hotels in the city: JW Marriott, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott and AC Hotel by Marriott.
The hotel will also feature an independently operated first-floor restaurant. Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar is scheduled to open at Hyatt Place in spring 2020.
The 15-story commercial office tower, located adjacent to the Hyatt Place, was completed this summer. Known as the Warner Building, it includes a 432-space parking garage, encompassing floors 2-8, while the remaining floors will be occupied by Warner, Norcross + Judd, Chemical Bank and Van Wyk Risk Solutions.
Van Wyk Risk Solutions has moved into the building, while the completion of the interior space leased by Chemical Bank and Warner, Norcross + Judd is ongoing, said Orion spokesperson Jason Wheeler.