I was reading an article by Jim Harger, from MLive Media Group. The article was talking about another expansion to the city of Grand Rapids; A 14 story – 108 unit apartment tower with parking garage located on the corner of Division Ave and Monroe Center NW. Besides the apartment building providing additional living for the city, the ground floor of the building would be host to 10,000 square feet of retail space. The developer from Brookstone Capital, Karl Chew, hopes to attract a national retailer to occupy the open space. Its the next big Grand Rapids Development to watch.

Who would you want to see occupy the space as a retailer? Does Grand Rapids want only local retail or can the city handle something larger? I, myself, am a little partial to this because I think it would be really good for the city to bring in a large retailer to spike the traffic flow in the downtown area. Today, Grand Rapids already holds national attention with events we hold and projects such as the new downtown market and the talks of turning the Grand River back into the Grand Rapids. However, having a large national retailer in the area would help Grand Rapids become more of a destination spot.

Back in the early days of Grand Rapids, post-World War II, Herpolsheimer’s was a destination attraction for many in the Western Michigan area. Granted, Herpolsheimer’s had a much larger store, based on square footage, but 10,000 sq. ft. is a great sized space. If Karl Chew were to decide a more personal retailer, a Trader Joe’s would be great for the area. According to About.com, Wal-Mart is about to launch their first Wal-Mart Express Store in Arkansas and their store size would only be 10,000 square feet. Walgreens can range from 11,300 to 14,500 square feet. However, I think for the size stores they have in Chicago, they could easily fit a store into the 10,000 allotted areas.

 Another question would be, with this apartment tower being constructed off Division Ave, will this help the rest of Division Ave start rebuilding itself to be successful? I can say, hopefully, with construction projects continuing to pop up in the metro area of Grand Rapids, along with the help of the Silver Line Bus that will be running up and down Division Ave throughout the day, developers see the need to branch out into surrounding areas. Overall, the additional living and retail space is great news for the city. Add to that, over a hundred new families will be moving into the downtown area, which is great for city and its growth.

 Blog post by GRAPE Social Media Contributor Ryan Elwell