Downtown Project Booklet (PDF, 13,050 KB)
Downtown Retail Pilot Project Report
In September 2007, the Downtown Development Authority authorized staff to initiate an economic development retail pilot project. The project’s goal is to help create a structure to better prepare the DDA to provide support to existing downtown businesses, to respond appropriately when new businesses show an interest in locating downtown, and to provide coordination and support to those recruiting new tenants.
From October 2007 to January 2008, DDA staff met with owners of 60 downtown businesses to determine their marketing and business needs, and potential strategies for improving the downtown retail climate in the future. Check out the results of the study.
Downtown Residential Market Potential - Update (November 2008)
In January 2008, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) asked Zimmerman/Volk Associates to perform an update to their 2004 residential market analysis for downtown Grand Rapids. The purpose of the update was to re-examine the market potential for newly-introduced market-rate housing units that could be leased or sold in downtown Grand Rapids, as well as to determine the market potential for new construction within the Wealthy-Jefferson Development Initiative Study Area. Check out the results of the study.
The Downtown Development Authority Development Plan
Pursuant to Act 197 of the Public Acts of Michigan 1979, as amended, commonly referred to as the Downtown Development Authority Act, the DDA must prepare and adopt a development plan in order to receive tax dollars and to carry out development activities. Once a plan is adopted, the Grand Rapids City Commission must approve the adopted plan. The very first DDA Development Plan was adopted in 1980. In 1995, this plan was significantly revised as a result of the DDA-financed community planning process known as "Voices & Vision." The plan was again revised and updated in 2002 with final approval of the City Commission on May 7, 2002.
Downtown Streetscape Guidelines
In November 2006, the Downtown Development Authority in partnership with the Downtown Alliance (www.downtowngr.org
) completed work on several guidelines for downtown streetscapes, which establish design standards as well as guidance for execution. The design standards established expectations for streetscape projects that result in a coherently designed, visually stimulating downtown. While there are specific standards within the report, it is intentionally less restrictive than a blueprint to allow for flexibility in implementation. This gives individual projects the room for creativity that will lead to a more interesting streetscape. At the same time the guidelines create a unified and consistent composition for downtown.
Downtown Zoning Ordinance
In November 2007, the City Planning Department updated the Zoning Ordinance. Most of the downtown is now in the TN-CC (Traditional Neighborhoods – City Center) zone district.
Please refer to Chapter 6 “Mixed-Use Commercial Zone Districts”, and the OD-DH Section in Chapter 8 “Overlay Districts” for specific zoning information as it relates to downton.
Arts & Entertainment Strategy for Downtown Grand Rapids
The DDA and the State of Michigan have provided funding to develop an Arts and Entertainment Strategy for downtown. In May 2004, the DDA selected a consultant team, lead by Urban Marketing Collaborative, to develop a consensus for this new strategy and prepare an action plan for adoption in the winter of 2004. Check out the results of the study.
Map of Downtown Economic Development Districts
In February 2008, the DDA district was expanded from 306 acres (~.5 square miles) to approximately 855 acres (~1.3 square miles). This map of Downtown Economic Development Districts shows the expanded DDA boundaries, as well as the Downtown Improvement District Service Area and Special Assessment District boundaries, the Monroe North TIF (Tax Increment Finance) Area, and several districts of the Grand Rapids Economic Development
department, such as the Smartzone
, Renaissance Zones
, and brownfield projects
(PDF, 568 KB)
Monroe North Area Specific Plan
The Monroe North Area Specific Plan provides recommendations for land use, circulation, parking and development character that build and expand on the objectives and policies of the Grand Rapids Master Plan (adopted 2002). These recommendations are presented in the Framework Plan section of the report. Recommendations for infrastructure improvements and a streetscape concept are also presented.
The plan recommendations presented in this report was reviewed by the Monroe North Tax Increment Financing Authority Board and the Smart Zone Board before being forwarded to the Planning Commission and City Commission for review and action. Ultimately, the Monroe North Area Specific Plan will be adopted as an amendment to the City’s Master Plan to guide land use, development and public improvements within the district.
Voices & Vision - Summary Report
This document is a summary report to the community from Voices & Visions, the community planning process for downtown Grand Rapids. The following pages review the work completed thus far and describe the more than 30 specific actions proposed by Voices & Visions. Most of these actions have been completed since the document was completed in 1993