Hotel to replace apartments in downtown GR project

140 Ottawa
A rendering of the mixed-use building at 140 Ottawa that will include a hotel. (ConceptDesign)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids is getting a new downtown hotel.

Developers of the $63.5 million, 14-story project have switched gears, scrapping plans for apartments and adding a 160-room hotel.

The second of the twin tower development will remain office space.

THE PERFECT FIT

Officials with 150 Ottawa Development LLC said the downtown apartments are still a good investment, but a hotel in that spot made better business sense.

“There’s a need for both. You just have to look at the specific locations, what it lends itself to best,” said Ryan Wheeler with 150 Ottawa Development LLC.

Located just blocks away from DeVos Place, developers thought 150 Ottawa would be better with a hotel.

“I think apartments would work well there. I think a hotel is really going to work there great. I think its location, its proximity to the convention center, it’s more of a business district than a residential area,” said Wheeler.

On Friday, the Downtown Development Authority also approved tax breaks and other incentives for the new configuration which had been previously approved for the original office and apartment project.

Wheeler’s confident they can still have the venture completed in less than three years.

BUILDING ON THE SMALL HOTEL BOOM

The proposed Hyatt Place Hotel will add another 160 rooms to downtown, which set a seventh straight record for annual room rentals in 2016.

“If that product comes to fruition, it’s a great product,” said Doug Small, president and CEO of Experience Grand Rapids.

But it may not help build downtown convention business.

Small says there’s been a trend downtown of adding hotels with fewer rooms, like Homewood Suites by Hilton, which recently opened 110 rooms in the Waters Building. But the smaller hotels don’t provide the space truly needed to boost convention business.

Small uses the proposed Hyatt Place as an example. A large convention may be able to use 50 of its 160 rooms. The rest would be set aside for the hotel’s leisure guests.

“But if you had a 400 room hotel, you’re probably going to get 250 to 300 rooms. Now you’re able to compete in a much larger convention bracket,” said Small.

A recent study by Grand Action backs that notion.