More Condos Proposed for Wealthy in Downtown Grand Rapids

In an article in Tuesday’s Grand Rapids Press it was reported that yet another upscale housing development is being proposed for downtown Grand Rapids. The latest project would be a 10-story condominium tower on the corner of Fulton and Division where there is currently a vacant Junior Achievement building.

The $32 million building, dubbed “Park Place,” would consist of 150 “high-end” condominiums. The condos would have limited accessibility to many traditional residents of the neighborhood with prices ranging from $300,000 to over $1 million per unit. The project is being designed by Design Plus and will be marketed to “empty-nesters and professionals” who want to live in the downtown area.

As is the case with similar projects currently under construction, the new condominiums will not be affordable to many longterm residents in downtown Grand Rapids. Moreover, the project is characteristic of recent development in downtown–it caters only to the wealthy. None of the recent housing projects have any low income units, nor has any of their space been set aside for downtown residents without homes. The Grand Rapids Press has also recently reported that homeless people have begun sleeping in Heartside Park, clearly demonstrating the need for housing that is accessible to people of all (or no) income levels. The article on homeless people in Heartside Park was notable because it discussed, however briefly, the tensions between upscale residents and homeless people. While it has not become a major issue in Grand Rapids yet, in other cities upscale housing generally leads to increased police patrols and the criminalization of people without homes.

In addition to the proposed Park Place, there are a number of other upscale developments planned. Second Story properties is renovating the downtown YMCA, previously low income housing, into 40 upscale condominiums. More than 52 condominiums and apartments are being planned on the upper floors of a series of buildings along two blocks of Monroe Center.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org