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Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Real estate projects to watch

The Exchange

After about five years in the making, one of the largest recent mixed-use projects in Kalamazoo has started to take shape.

Two Kalamazoo-based developers and a well-known Grand Rapids contractor started work earlier this spring on The Exchange, a $52 million, 15-story project being built along West Michigan Avenue in the city’s central business district.

Developers Phoenix Properties LLC and PlazaCorp Realty Advisors Inc. — along with general contractor Orion Construction Co. Inc. — will offer about 60,000 square feet of office and commercial space, 133 market-rate apartments and a 300-space parking deck.

The partners anticipate construction will take about two years.

In January of this year, the project received a $6.4 million loan through the state’s Community Revitalization Program (CRP) fund, which developers say was necessary to bridge a financing gap.

“Demand has always been high for housing in downtown Kalamazoo,” Phoenix Properties principal Gregory Taylor told MiBiz for a previous report. “The difficulty is the equation of cost versus rental (rates). We’ve had to be patient and very creative about how we secured incentives because the costs haven’t gone down and rents haven’t appreciated. We couldn’t assemble the adjacent land so we decided to go vertical. All of that has helped our numbers.”