Grandville Michigan Hotels
For decades it served as a huge parking lot, but now the nearly four-acre site has become part of a grand plan to revitalize the Grand River into a recreational haven for people. The work is being organized under the umbrella of the Great Community Spaces, which are launching a "Public Spaces Project" to define the future of public spaces in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
These experimental efforts are being coordinated by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) and made possible by a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) under the Great Community Spaces Program. DGri experiments and develops ideas for better use of public spaces during the cold weather months.
A 2016 study commissioned by the Grand Rapids-based group, which includes various corporate and philanthropic leaders, identified a number of opportunities for expansion that are still underway. Portage, Michigan, real estate firm KPMG & Co., is proposing a hotel and hotel development for longer stays at the corner of Grand River Street and Michigan Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. In addition, a 246-room seven-story hotel overlooking the Grand River at the northern end of downtown will open this summer, and future development includes a hotel, restaurant, office space, retail space and residential units in 2019. The first of two new downtown hotels, the $1.2 billion 1,000-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot Grand Hotel, will open later this year, and the first hotel in a three-quarter-century downtown neighborhood.
The Authority's board will next work with architects on the design and explore possible financing options for the hotel construction. Another recommendation of the study is that the city submit proposals for the development of a hotel that is annexed or adjacent to DeVos Place.
To develop ideas for revitalizing 555 Monroe, DGRI launched a citizens "initiative - led by the GR Forward Goal 5 Alliance, which advises the organization on public space creation and project programming. Because placemaking strategies to promote opportunity for local businesses are a key value, we have also included the Monroe North neighborhood where the property is located in the creation of the Placemakers Alliance, a group of local business owners and community leaders focused on promoting public spaces, programming, and projects.
Other groups have developed a "palette park" approach, which focuses, among other things, on greening historically gray places with plants and flowers, adding seating and lighting to encourage people to linger, and increasing the volume of public art. In the wake of that transformation, Monroe has quickly begun to attract people who eat lunch, walk their dogs or shop. We were also able to bring some of the improvements identified into play.
While the white-water rivers are returning to the river and the new park is being built, it will take years to complete, 555 Monroe offers an opportunity to experiment with a new and fun way of reinventing it. Here is a look at some of the changes that are being brought into play to transform it from a car park into a place that invites people and begins to change the image of this waterfront district. Another encouraging trend is that changes to the property show that they are beginning to foster a sense of community in places that were once gritty, unused and overlooked.
The Grand Rapidians envision 555 Monroe as a space that eventually provides a front-row seat to enjoy the rapids that the community wants to bring back into the Grand River. The short-term goal is to turn this previously unused and lifeless property into a real asset that serves people as an amenity and helps revitalize the riverside and ultimately revitalize the Monroe North Downtown neighborhood. One of the keys to a great public space is the assumption that community is the expert.
This comes on top of the new Home2Suites Hilton, which opened earlier this year in Holland Township. For Holland, 200 additional rooms are expected to go online next year, including an AC Hotel Marriott opening in the heart of downtown with 130 rooms, a new hotel at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Grand River Street that will offer 160 rooms and occupy the twin towers that Orion Construction is building for the downtown business district.
In the next few years, more than 1300 rooms will be put on the market in the district, with a further 902 to be added. As development in the suburbs around the city swells, developers will add another 800 new rooms by the end of the year, with the potential to add another 2,500 to 3,000 over a decade, city officials said.
According to the Grandville Michigan Hotel Association's annual report, visitors booked 1.8 million overnight stays in the city last year. The current stock is a new record for the hotel, which last year earned nearly $216 million from bookings, a "new record."