GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A long-planned expansion of The B.O.B. will include a 20-story residential tower, according to a concept presented this morning to City Commission.
Greg Gilmore and housing developer John Wheeler aim to start construction in June 2015 and finish it in December 2016. The project will include a 4-story expansion of The B.O.B. and a 20-story Venue Tower on former city property.
The housing will include 104 market-rate units including about 16 condominiums on the top few floors, Wheeler said.
“We’re a big city with no housing,” said Wheeler, whose Orion Construction also is developing Arena Place, now under construction next to Van Andel Arena south of Fulton Street. “There’s just nothing available in this town to buy.”
Gilmore for years has eyed an expansion on a 29,000-square-foot former city-owned parcel between The B.O.B. and the Fifty Monroe office complex to the north. Initial plans, dubbed Bobville, included a 40,000-square-foot outdoor festival marketplace and beer garden, new dining venues inside The B.O.B. and an attached 22,000-square-foot double-level event space with capacity for 2,000 people.
Under the terms of a development agreement, the city last year granted Gilmore more time to refine his plans. The Venue, a four-story, 2,400-person event space with beer garden and food kiosks remains part of the concept, but new plans show a 20-story residential tower along Ottawa Avenue NW in an area previously designated as an outside festival marketplace.