32 Market Ave SW - Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Apartment complex proposed for former GR Social Security office


News Desk WOODTV8
Published 7 / 11 / 16

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A construction company has submitted a proposal that would turn the former Social Security office in Heritage Hill into an apartment complex.

The current proposal from Orion Construction would create about 80 one and two-bedroom market-rate apartments on the 2.3 acre site, located at 50 College Ave. SE in Grand Rapids. The plan shows five individual buildings that are two to four stories tall.

Also included in the plan is about 95 parking spaces and a plan to preserve and re-purpose the two historic structures on site.

A rendering of the proposed apartment complex for 50 College Ave. in Grand Rapids. (Courtesy Orion Construction)

The building at 50 College, between Fulton and Cherry Streets has been vacant for several years since the district office for the Social Security Administration relocated to Knapp Street NE.

“We’ve been looking at this property for four or five years,” Ryan Wheeler, the vice president of development for Orion, told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday. “It’s extremely exciting to finally have the ability to get a project going here.”

Orion’s proposal was presented before the Heritage Hill Zoning Committee on Tuesday. The next step is a meeting with the Historic Preservation Commission on July 6 for an advisory review.

The Historic Preservation Committee has recommended the main, non-historical brick building be torn down, but there are two historic buildings on the site that were built before 1923.

“We just want to be respectful of the Heritage Hill Association and obviously the restraints of the Historic Preservation District and try to find a plan that everyone and as many people as possible are happy with,” Wheeler said.

He said the company has had success doing that elsewhere, like with its Gateway at Belknap, Eastown Flats and Fulton Square developments.

“We take a lot of pride in the way we work with neighbors and  create projects that work for everyone,” Wheeler said.

If everything goes smoothly with the Historic Preservation Commission and moving forward, Orion hopes to break ground on the 50 College development next spring.