Grand Rapids DDA approves movie theater complex for downtown

Image from Celebration! Cinema announcement of Studio C

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Downtown Development Authority has approved a plan to bring a new entertainment complex to Grand Rapids.

They voted unanimously to allow Celebration! Cinema to move forward with the Studio Park project with Phase 1 breaking ground in the next three to six months.

Phase 1 of the development will include a nine-screen movie theater, 750 to 900-space parking garage and an outdoor piazza for year-round activities.  It will also include an apartment complex and a four-star hotel with around 136 rooms.  Phase 1 is expected to be complete in two to three years with the movie theater opening as early as mid-2019.

The project will take up the parking area behind the Van Andel Arena between Oakes and Cherry.  The Business US-131 ramp to downtown may be affected by the project.

Phase 2 will be a 10-12 story tower with apartments and condos.  The tower is supposed to be completed in 10 years, but it is expected to take less time.

The DDA is hoping to bring in women and minority-owned businesses into the 30,000 square-foot retail space that will be built in to the development.

The developers are also hoping to keep the rent of the apartments affordable for recent college graduates. Celebration! Cinema President J.D. Loeks said Wednesday 100 of the approximately 250 residential spaces to be built will have rent under $1,000 per month.

"The biggest challenge really has come with trying to do the right thing for the community and having a lot of people who have a lot of different perspectives on that," said Loeks.

"We’ve got about four different development partners as well as the city and the downtown development authority working on this project together."

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss reacted to the unanimous DDA approval Wednesday, and gave this statement to FOX 17:

"This is an exciting project, and I was glad to help move it forward at the DDA. There are still a number of approvals to get through, including the city commission. I look forward to discussing it with my colleagues on the commission when it comes before us." 

The project should go before the Grand Rapids City Commission next week for possible approval.