GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Plans for the Arena Place Building west of the Van Andel Arena are getting bigger.
The project’s developer announced the downtown law firm of Miller Johnson is going to move into four floors of the new multi-purpose development to be built on a parking lot along Ottawa Avenue SW between Oakes and Weston streets.
The building project is now slated to cost $45 million instead of $28 million and will be 11 stories, up from five, while including 101 market-rate apartments, said John Wheeler, president of Orion Real Estate Solutions.
The expanded project will include 60,000-square-feet of office space on six floors, three floors of enclosed parking with 250 spaces, and 15,200-square-feet of ground floor retail space that includes a Meritage-operated restaurant with outdoor seating on the building’s southeast corner.
The building’s 101 apartment units will be located on six floors and split between one and two-bedroom units, renting for about $1.80 per square foot, Wheeler said. The building also will include two smaller “eco-units” measuring about 500-square-feet on each floor.
Built atop the parking and retail levels, each of the apartments will offer a clear view of the surrounding downtown area, Wheeler said.
Wheeler said he was finalizing plans for a smaller eight-story version of the building when the law firm approached them about joining the development. Wheeler said he hopes to break ground on the expanded project in April.
The building will be completed in the summer of 2015, Wheeler said. Miller Johnson will move into its space by the spring of 2016, he said.
On Wednesday, Jan. 8, Wheeler will ask the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to expand the “tax increment financing” approved for the project from $2.8 million to $3.3 million. The 15-year agreement will assist in making the building accessible, Wheeler said.
Wheeler’s group purchased an option to buy the parking lot from the DDA for $2.2 million last May.
Aside from the restaurant space, no tenants are signed for the ground floor retail space, Wheeler said.
In the office part of the building, DoMoreGood and Mindscape will occupy two floors. DoMoreGood currently is located across the street in the Arena Station Building, 25 Ottawa Ave. SW.
Meritage, currently headquartered along the East Beltline NE in Grand Rapids Township, will occupy the seventh floor while Miller Johnson will occupy the building’s top three floors.
Miller Johnson, which will occupy the top four floors, will move 110 lawyers and 90 support staff into the space by April 2016, Wheeler said.
“The Arena Place project is an exceptional opportunity for Miller Johnson. Our firm has always been committed to downtown Grand Rapids,” said Craig Mutch, the firm’s managing member, in a statement.
“We are motivated by the growth in the Arena District and the role we, as a firm, can play in continuing to draw new energy to the area.”
Mutch, whose firm has been headquartered on three floors of the Calder Plaza Building for the past 33 years, said the new office space will be a “modern, highly-functional office that best reflects the environments many of our clients work in daily.
“The preliminary design includes innovative meeting spaces allowing optimum collaboration for our attorneys and clients,” Mutch said. “This project, and particularly the new offices, enhances our ability to provide our clients with the best service possible in all areas of legal representation for years to come.”
The move will create a large vacancy in the 10-story Calder building, 255 Monroe Ave. NW. Speaking for the building’s owners, George Wanty said the building already has two vacant floors available for new tenants.