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Vacant grocery store could be demolished, turned into 150 apartments

Posted By: mlive on May 29, 2024.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

A long-vacant grocery store on Bridge Street NW would be demolished and replaced with a five-story apartment building containing 150 units and ground-floor commercial space under a plan being pitched by a metro Detroit developer.

Ryan Talbot, owner of Talbot Development, said he has secured an agreement to purchase the former Duthler’s Family Food store, 648 Bridge St. NW, and is seeking state and local incentives to help fund the project. The grocery store, a fixture in the West Side neighborhood for two decades, closed in 2017.

Located amid a bustling stretch of Bridge Street, where a host of apartments, bars, restaurants and more have opened over the past decade, Talbot called the location a perfect fit for high-density, multi-family housing.

“The housing shortage in GR is unbelievable,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is put as many units on the site as I can.”

Rental rates for the 150 apartments, 95 of which would be studio apartments, have not been finalized. But the units would be priced at the market rate, Talbot said. In addition to the 95 studios, there would be eight two-bedroom units, and the remainder would be one-bedroom apartments.

The proposed apartment building replaces another concept, a food truck court and bar yard, that was pitched for the Duthler’s property but did not come to fruition. David Meikle, the developer behind the food truck concept, is now asking the Grand Rapids Planning Commission to approve the concept at a different Bridge Street property.

The Bridge Street project would be Talbot’s second major project in Grand Rapids.

The Birmingham resident is the developer of The Current, a four-story, 72-unit mixed use development on the corner of Plainfield Avenue and Quimby Street NE in Grand Rapids’ Creston Neighborhood. The building is expected to open this fall.

Talbot said the Bridge Street project will have many similarities to The Current.

“The philosophy of this building is also to copy and paste as much of this DNA from the Creston project as I can,” he said. “That is to streamline the pre-development process as much as I can. So, it’s the same project team, the same design language, similar unit mix. It’s going to be the same architect and general contractor, Pinnacle Construction Group.”

Overall, the project is expected to cost about $31 million, Talbot said.

The project is still in the conceptual phase. But if everything goes according to plan, and if the project receives incentives from the city of Grand Rapids and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, demolition on the Duthler’s building could begin by the end of the year. Construction of the five-story apartment building would follow.

“I’m saying late spring of 2026,” Talbot said, when asked how long it would take to complete construction.

Moving forward, Talbot said he expects to seek site-plan approval from the Grand Rapids Planning Commission in July.

Once that is secure, he said he plans to apply for Brownfield tax increment financing and a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone tax cut from the city of Grand Rapids. He said he also plans to seek a low-interest loan from a Michigan Economic Development Corporation program.

“The neighborhoods have been really great and helpful to work with,” Talbot said, referring to neighborhood associations such as the West Grand Neighborhood Organization and John Ball Area Neighbors. “I’ve met some really helpful people, and they’ve had good ideas.”

The apartment building will have an emphasis on sustainability, Talbot said.

“It’s going to be an all-electric building,” he said. “No gas is runs into the building at all. It’s going to have solar panels. It will have probably about 10 EV (electric vehicle) chargers on day one, and then conduits under the parking lot to expand that number as adoption increases.”

There are also plans for a rooftop deck.

“You’ll have great views of the soccer stadium, the downtown skyline and sunsets,” he said, referring to a proposed 8,500-seat soccer stadium proposed on the West Side near the David D. Hunting YMCA.

A ground-floor commercial space is expected to house a café, though there is no tenant identified for the space at this time, Talbot said. There will also be a lobby and fitness area on the ground floor, he said.

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