Kendall Building May Finally Have New Life E-mail
by staff

*Confirmed on September 10, 2012*...616 Development has purchased the Kendall Building and will turn it into apartments, offices and ground floor retail space.

Here's the official press release:

616 Development today announced a $4 million plan to restore the five-story, 122-year-old Kendall Building, bringing new life to a long-vacant downtown location.

616LoftsattheKendallrendering The 616 Lofts at the Kendall project will restore a landmark building at one of the city’s busiest intersections with 12 market-rate apartments, offices and ground-floor retail space. A rooftop deck will also be added for residents of the Kendall and other 616 Lofts buildings to use.

“This is a project we have dreamed about for years as we walked and drove by this amazing, but neglected building,” said Derek Coppess, founder of 616 Development. “This building gives you the best access to everything downtown has to offer, and it’s literally across the street from public parking ramps and public transit. In short, it has everything we look for in a 616 Lofts building.”

The Kendall building has been mostly vacant and boarded up for more than two decades, despite its location overlooking the intersection of Fulton Street and Division Avenue. A company controlled by 616 Development closed on the purchase of the building last week.

“Having a proven developer announce this project as we prepare for improvements to the adjacent Veteran’s Park, Monument Park and Monroe Center streetscape will result in a remarkable change at this historic center of Grand Rapids,” said Kristopher Larson, executive director of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority. “Redevelopment of the Kendall building along with other improvements in the area will help reconnect Monroe Center with the eastern end of downtown.”

Apartments at 616 Lofts at the Kendall are expected to start at about $800 for a studio unit. There will be three two-bedroom units, six one-bedroom units and three studio units inside the top three levels of the building.

616 Development plans to move its corporate offices into the second floor of the building, providing a buffer between residents and ground-floor retail tenants. This follows the 24-hour building model that 616 Development has adopted at other projects downtown, including 616 Lofts on Ionia, a mixed-use project being completed this fall at 1 and 7 Ionia.

616 is in negotiations with several potential retail tenants.

“Our residents tell us they want to be in the heart of the city in unique spaces,” said Monica Clark, director of operations and community at 616 Development. “You can’t get much closer to the heart of the city than this historic building with its beautiful bay windows overlooking the Civil War monument. The easy access to downtown theaters, restaurants, shops and parking make it an excellent location for urbanites.”

The 616 Development team worked closely with Larsen and his now-retired predecessor, Jay Fowler, to bring the project to fruition.

“Without support from Kris, Jay and the city staff, this project would not have been possible,” Coppess said. “Kris is a true professional who is already working hard to continue the positive momentum established by leveraging public-private partnerships in downtown over the past three decades.”

616 Development is requesting the DDA’s support to cap property taxes on the building under the Michigan Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA). Coppess plans to introduce the project to the DDA board on Wednesday morning.

The developers also plan to request a state grant under the new Michigan Community Revitalization Program (CRP), which replaced the state’s brownfield and historic tax credit programs this year. 616 Development was among the first developers in the state to receive a grant under the CRP program for 616 Lofts on Ionia.

IMG_5884 September 5 article:

It looks as though the boarded-up Kendall Building located adjacent to Reynold's and Sons Sporting Goods at Monument Square might finally be given a new life.

Boutique real estate and development firm 616 Lofts recently posted a teaser on their blog unofficially announcing that they have "closed on a very historic, very dilapidated piece of real estate in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids" that they plan to convert into lofts. The blog post and 616 Loft's Facebook page offer more hints like "5 stories of historic awesome" and "Where East meets West, and North meets South, you'll find our next big project...", along with some sneak preview photos of the interior.

Based on all of the clues, it's likely that 616 Development will announce the Kendall Building as that next big project on Monday, September 10, 2012. According to the blog post, "once development is complete, the new 616 Lofts community will house – as always – a symbiotic blend of retail, commercial and residential spaces. We aim to make them available sometime in 2013." Pre-leasing is available.

Check out a photo gallery of exterior shots taken by GRNow along with interior photos shot by 616 Development.

Updated: September 10, 2012
Published: September 5, 2012

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