Plans for two apartment buildings in Eastown hit a snag when community stakeholders became concerned about the loss of commercial possibilities in the properties. Stakeholders included local community and business organizations, neighborhood residents, city planners and staff and real estate experts. A plan was submitted for residential space as well as ground floor retail space at the Wealthy Street sites.

Two apartment buildings were planned out, with one of them being a 17-unit building at the site of a former car wash. The other is a 16-unit building at the site of a parking lot. Rents are planned to range from $800 to $1200 per month depending on the number of bedrooms. Property developers were disinterested in including retail space in the plans due to lack of profitability, but they reconsidered and planned to apply for Neighborhood Enterprise Zone tax incentives.

This is viewed as a workable compromise by some business owners in the area who had hoped for the entire first floors to be retail space and view the area as a strategic location close to the business district. Stakeholder groups have announced a willingness to support the project with the retail space compromise and are eager for new businesses in the locations.

Property ownership and management is a complex business. Real estate planning must consider zoning, neighborhood groups, governmental entities and business interests that can all influence plans for property. Landlord-tenant issues occur even in small apartment buildings or rental properties without the complication of neighborhood and governmental stakeholders exerting control over property development. While a compromise can often allow for a project to go forward, interested parties may need aid in drawing up a legal contract for their development plans.

Source:, “Rent details on Eastown Flats: Grand Rapids apartment plan up for hearing“, Matt Vande Bunte, December 11, 2013

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