Dynamic Variation:

Development in Grand Rapids

One of America’s top 20 cities for job growth. A top 10 city for fastest rising income. The #1 metro area for sustainable development.

These are just a few of the economic achievements Grand Rapids has tallied of late. The city and its surrounding region have built one of the most successful economies in the U.S. over the past decade – and it’s fueled an unprecedented surge in capital expenditures. Here are just a few examples of recent investments.

Hotels

Downtown Grand Rapids has added seven new hotels in just a few years: AC by Marriott, Canopy by Hilton, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hyatt Place, and Residence Inn

Downtown is also home to two boutique newly-opened boutique hotels – Morton Hotel and The Finnley. has, which have increased the city center’s hotel count to 14 and the downtown room inventory to 2,500+.

Another downtown hotel, The Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton, recently completed its a $40 million recladding of its iconic 27-story glass tower.

Outside downtown, at least 15 hotels have opened or broken ground recently, including such brands as Tru by Hilton, Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownePlace Suites and SpringHill Suites. The former Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids Airport & Conference Center is in the midst of a $14 million conversion into the Sheraton Hotel Airport and Conference Center Grand Rapids. This 259-room property is scheduled to open in summer 2022.

New hotel proposals on the desks of city planners across the region signal a continuing wave of new lodging options for visitors.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport

The local airport, which experienced seven straight years of record passenger growth prior to COVID, has begun construction on a $110 million expansion of its Concourse A that will more than double current capacity and add eight new gates for a total of 15. This expansion is part of Project Elevate, a $500 million infrastructure improvement initiative that will also include a new control tower, operations center and federal inspection station. This comes on the heels of a Gateway Transportation Project that improved guest services and amenities from 2015-2020.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has become one of the world’s top 50 most visited art museums in the 20 years since its opening. In 2021, FMG completed a $115 expansion that includes a new welcome center, learning center, transportation center, picnic pavilion and more.

WhiteWater Restoration

Planning continues on an ambitious $45 million plan to Restore the Rapids to the Grand River that runs through downtown. The project will transform the waterway into a recreation hub complete with new whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, swimming, boating and fishing opportunities. 

Downtown Amphitheater

The city of Grand Rapids is in the midst of planning a $116 million multi-use facility on 31 acres of downtown riverfront. It will include a 12,000-seat amphitheater, apartments, retail space, parks, non-motorized trails and greenspace. 

City Tower

A 24-story building – the fourth tallest in Grand Rapids – is planned in the heart of the city, taking the place of a city-owned parking lot. The $55 million project will include office space, apartments and condos.

Rosa Parks Circle

Named one of five great public spaces in America in 2017, this downtown gathering space was designed by internationally renowned artist Maya Lin and hosts more than 700,000 visitors each year for recreation, entertainment and civic gatherings. It recently completed a $2 million renovation to repair wear and fulfill the totality of Lin’s original vision in honor of the project’s 20th anniversary.

Medical Mile

More than $2 billion has been invested in this “life-sciences corridor” in downtown Grand Rapids since 2000, and the development continues apace. Currently under construction is the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building, a 205,000 sq. ft. facility that will house the Michigan State College of Human Medicine and other organizations ¬¬– including Bold Advanced Medical Future Health, which is moving its global headquarters to the Innovation Building and has already opened the world’s first radiopharmacy there. Thousands of patients from around the world will be treated at the new location.

The Innovation Building is part of MSU’s Grand Rapids Innovation Park, which also includes the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center, opened in 2017. Perrigo, the largest store-brand over-the-counter healthcare product manufacturer in the U.S., is building a new North American Corporate Headquarters in Innovation Park. The 10-story building is slated for completion in 2022. 

In 2021, Grand Valley State University opened the DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health on the Mile. This five-story building includes 12 interactive laboratories and 17 classrooms to help prepare the health professionals of tomorrow. 

Spectrum Health

The area’s largest employer, which operates Spectrum Health Hospital and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in the Medical Mile, is consolidating a portion of its workforce in a new $100 million Center for Transformation and Innovation in downtown’s Monroe North neighborhood. It will include a renovated downtown building connected to a new facility that will begin construction in 2022, and it will accommodate 1,800 employees currently working in 18 offices across West Michigan. Fall 2023 is the target for completion.

Downtown Businesses

Studio Park, a multi-use entertainment, office and living complex, is adding 16 stories of residential space atop its current parking ramp. 

Acrisure, one of the world’s top 10 insurance brokers, moved into a newly constructed seven-story building in 2022. 

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, which was integral to the manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine, is investing $160 million to expand its fill-and-finish pharmaceutical capabilities. 

The West Michigan Construction Institute renovated an existing downtown building into an instructional hub for educational classes and programming. It opened in early 2022. 

RDV Corporation completed renovation of a 100,000 sq. ft., 50-year-old downtown building in 2021 and made it the headquarters for its multi-faceted family business. 

Craft Beverages

New businesses are extending Grand Rapids’ legacy as America’s Craft Beverage Capital:

  • Archival Brewing, which features historic-style beer, cider and mead, opened in a newly constructed building in 2021.
  • Brewery Nyx is renovating a downtown building to serve as a production facility and tasting room for Michigan’s first gluten-free brewery and distillery. Scheduled to open in summer 2022. 
  • Eastern Kille Distillery is planning to build a new distillery, tasting room, restaurant and cocktail garden on the northeast side of Grand Rapids, for opening in 2023. 
  • Küsterer Brauhaus is a Bavarian-style beer hall in a renovated West Side building, slated to open in summer 2022. 
  • Long Road Distillers opened a cocktail bar, Less Traveled, in 2022, occupying a renovated retail space in the Uptown neighborhood. 

National Brands

Our economic success has put us on the radar of such national brands as Amazon, Planet Fitness, Real Seafood Co. and Whole Foods, all of which have recently opened or are slated to open new facilities here.