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DeVos-backed nonprofit aims to transform Grand Rapids neighborhood

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Big plans are in motion for one Southeast Side Grand Rapids neighborhood.

After months of planning, the nonprofit community development group Amplify GR is asking city officials to approve a request to build new apartments, townhomes, an early childhood center, retail space, a community center and park within an aging 9-acre stretch of the Boston Square neighborhood.

Supporters say the project aims to breathe new life into a neighborhood that hasn’t seen the same level of investment that has transformed other parts of Grand Rapids. It also, supporters say, represents a plan that has incorporated feedback from neighborhood residents who emphasized the need for affordable housing, early childhood education and neighborhood green space.

“Often developers come in and just do what they want to do without regard for the people who want to stay,” said Joan Huyser-Honig, who has lived in the Boston Square area for more than 30 years and serves on Amplify’s neighborhood advisory committee. “I feel like this plan is really paying attention to the people who want to stay.”

Amplify’s request goes before the Grand Rapids Planning Commission for approval on Thursday.

Its plans call for the construction of 22 townhomes and seven buildings containing 215 apartments and commercial space intended for a bank, grocery store and food hall, as well as office or commercial space for neighborhood entrepreneurs. Portions of the residential units would be income restricted, and some would be geared toward senior citizens and families.

Read the full article here.

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