"Extended-stay" hotel hopes to fill niche in downtown G.R.



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) — A niche hotel will soon replace a 30-year-old parking lot on 50 Monroe, at the corner of Monroe Ave. and Louis St. NW.

Downtown Grand Rapids has five hotels holding 1,436 rooms. Tourists and business people have done a good job of filling them up.

“In four short years ago, this community was running under 50 percent occupancy in hotels, now it’s 63.4%,” said Experience GR’s Doug Small.

“It’s the first time in Grand Rapid’s history we’ve achieved over the national average,” he said.

Small says ArtPrize, Laughest, and bigger and better conventions are driving people into downtown.

“I’ve been asked a number of times over the last few years, do we need another hotel, my answer back is you decide if we need another hotel but I’ll tell you if you build one it better be a unique brand,” he said.

Scott Wierda helped come up with one. He’s with CWD Real Estate Investment.

“We’re sitting directly across from the Art Museum,” he said, while showing the plan. “The hotel will sit right here, and the entry will come off of Louis.”

He’s speaking about this marvel: a Six story hotel, expected to hold 100-130 rooms, plus boutique retail and restaurants on the first floor. This piece of property needs something iconic.

“Don’t expect low-cost,” he said, “Architecture will be at a premium.”

But don’t expect competition, this is a collaboration with the Amway Hotel Corporation. This is where we get to the unique factor. This is meant to be an extended-stay hotel.

Experience GR says this hotel fills a huge void in the downtown medical community. Right now families that drive hours for their kids, say, cancer treatment at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital, will no longer have to drive outside the city for an extended stay at a hotel.

The Amway and JW Marriot told WZZM 13 they offer rates for stays longer than 14 days. Rates vary depending on occupancy but the lowest cost is $129/night at the Amway, and $169/night at the JW Marriot. The Courtyard Marriot is $109/night for an extended stay. However, no downtown hotel has a kitchen, according to Experience GR.

The closet hotel with a kitchen is five miles from Medical Mile. The developers haven’t released price estimates yet, but Small hopes he can keep the occupancy numbers rising.

“If they build it my job is to help fill it,” he said.

Construction is expected to start this fall, with the grand opening scheduled for the fall of 2015.