Redevelopment of Sligh Furniture Building delayed by product shortages and ‘volatile’ construction costs

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A Detroit-based company has received a six-month extension from the City of Grand Rapids as it continues to work on redevelopment of the historic Sligh Furniture Company building and surrounding area into an apartment development of 753 units.

Sturgeon Bay Partners’ development plans for the Sligh Building, originally constructed in the 1880s and located on the 400 block of Grandville Avenue SW, were originally approved by the Grand Rapids Planning Commission in April 2021.

However, the company needed an extension because it had not shown “significant progress” on development, such as obtaining building permits, since then, planning director Kristin Turkelson said. .

“I’ve met with them several times over the past year, and all the indications they give me are that the project is still valid, it’s still moving forward,” Turkelson said, referring to conversations with Sturgeon Bay Partners. .

In a letter to Turkelson, a representative from Sturgeon Bay Partners said the extension was necessary due to “price volatility” for building materials and “product shortages”.

“With market fluctuations resulting in volatile prices for building materials, as well as product shortages, we must consider many attributes of building construction, which require additional time for final design,” the letter reads. .

Sturgeon Bay Partners has proposed to renovate the historic Sligh building and demolish three other free-standing buildings on the site. The site, which encompasses a city block bordered by Century, Wealthy, Grandville and Logan streets, spans approximately seven acres.

The redevelopment plan includes 753 apartments, retail spaces, a café, green spaces and two parking garages containing a total of 614 spaces. Buildings on the site will range between five and seven storeys, according to planning documents.

The Sligh building is home to several great antique shops, including Lost & Found Treasures. A space for antique dealers may be available in the renovated building.

John Gibbs, managing partner at Sturgeon Bay Partners, said he hoped construction would start before the end of the year. He said the total project is expected to cost “north of $100 million” and his company is seeking historic tax credits and brownfield incentives for the city of Grand Rapids.

“We are still in the pre-development and planning phase with respect to the historic tax credit works and other local and state incentive works, which are necessary to make a large adaptive reuse project like this one a reality,” he said.

Planning documents submitted to the city last year said the project would include a mix of affordable and market-priced units, though specific prices were not included.

A 2020 study, conducted for the city of Grand Rapids by Housing Next, estimates the city needs 5,340 additional apartments and 3,548 owner-occupied condos, townhouses or single-family homes by 2025.

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