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Plans for 111-room, 5-story riverfront hotel in Grand Rapids resurface

Posted By: mlive on March 8, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.


A southeast Michigan developer is bringing back plans to build a 111-room, five-story Staybridge Suites hotel at a vacant lot on the west side of the Grand River at 942 Front Ave. NW.

Jimmy Asmar, of Stellar Hospitality Grand Rapids, is asking the Grand Rapids Planning Commission to approve a waiver reducing the project’s required parking spaces from 83 to 44.

Asmar could not be reached for comment.

Stellar Hospitality Grand Rapids shares the same address as Stellar Hospitality Group in Farmington Hills, which describes itself online as an owner and manager of limited-service and full-service hotels from brands such as Hilton, Marriott and InterContinental.

The planning commission first approved a parking reduction waiver for the project in November 2019, several months before the COVID-19 pandemic. But the project, at the time, did not move forward.

Because Asmar did not act on the previous approval within one-year, he is required to seek another approval, said Grand Rapids Planning Director Kristin Turkelson.

Planning documents show the hotel would operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and would include a restaurant, open to guests only, serving breakfast and dinner as well as beer and wine in the evening.

The hotel would also house a roof-top patio and a small market.

The project, being built on a site that was formerly used a portion of a Ryder truck facility, also needs planning commission approval to serve alcohol.

In seeking the parking reduction, Asmar is pointing to the development’s proximity to public transit. The project is also offering two electric vehicle charging stations and bicycle parking spaces as well as eight covered bicycle parking spaces. When those parking uses are offered, the city offers a reduction in the total number of parking spaces required.

For example, the eight bicycle parking spaces would lower the total space requirement by two spots. The two electric vehicle spot would lower the total spot requirement by eight spaces. The developer is also pointing the option of using shuttle services and transportation options such as Uber and Lyft.

Turkelson said the development, which is on the west side of the river, “presents a nice opportunity for us to continue” a walkway along the Grand River.

“The plans are utilizing a height bonus to get to five stories by providing access along the river,” she said, noting that the plan is to provide the river walk from the hotel and south along Front Avenue.

“Another priority for the city is to see the investment along the riverfront,” Turkelson said.

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