B.O.B. project to include 20-story residential tower

Plans for The Venue Towers and The Venue, next to The B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids. (Aug. 26, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The long-planned entertainment venue for The B.O.B. complex in downtown Grand Rapids has a new tenant and a new timetable for development.

Developer John Wheeler plans to build a 20-story residential complex called Venue Towers on the site located between Monroe Avenue and Ottawa Avenue, north of Fulton Street.

The project will include 84 to 86 market-rate apartments, according to Wheeler. He said he plans to reserve the top floors of the tower for condominiums.

The market for condos is making a comeback in Grand Rapids, Wheeler said. However – banks are not financing them – so the project will remain predominately apartments.

The project will also include a 20,000-square-foot entertainment complex called The Venue, which, according to a news release, will accommodate 2,400 people for entertainment events and will bring 120 new jobs to the area. It will also have food kiosks and a beer garden.

First proposed in 2009, Gilmore entered into a development agreement with the City of Grand Rapids for the project. The city required that agreement after Gilmore purchased a 29,000-square-foot piece of city-owned property adjacent to The B.O.B. for the venue.

That development agreement has been amended five times to make adjustments to the timetable, among other items.

Gilmore declined to talk to 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday but told Grand Rapids city commissioners he hopes the project won’t need to be amended again.

Gilmore also said financing has always been in place and he plans on breaking ground in June 2015, with construction completed by December 2016.

“We have a great project proposed and a time that’s really meet-able,” Gilmore told commissioners, who voted unanimously to grant the latest amendment to the development plan.

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