Grand Rapids Cityscape…A Fascinating View

If you like interesting buildings and architecture, Grand Rapids, Michigan is a city you will enjoy visiting.  It’s a city rich with cultural tradition in it’s historic buildings, many which have been graciously restored and refurbished.  However, this appreciation and attention to the details required to preserve the past have not kept the community from adding visionary, forward thinking projects to the cityscape such as the First Leed Certified Arts Museum in the nation. 

The new & the old coexist in Grand Rapids, Michigan in a peculiarly, engaging way.  Perhaps, that’s why this video flyover of the area is so intriguing.  It allows you to view the juxtaposition of the historic culture framed against modern highway systems and new high-rise buildings.

The River House…Stunning New Downtown Grand Rapids, MI Condos!

Living room in model of the River House

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The River House Condos are scheduled to debut with stunning views of the Grand Rapids, Michigan skyline in 2008!

Click on pictures to view virtual tour.

The Grand Rapids downtown area has experienced a true renaissance within the last decade.  The development of the bio medical industry has spawned a number of new medical facilities in what has been termed the Medical Mile.

Several new additions to the Grand Rapids area within the last few years have included the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the  JW Marriott, the River house lobbyVan Andel Arena, the Devos Hall, a number of great restaurants and shops and some truly innovative new condominium developments.

Also within walking distance are the Civic theater, the Grand Rapids Public library and several historic parkswhich include: Crescent Park, Hearthside Park, Veterans Park, Monument Park and the unique Rosa Parks Circle. You can also enjoy a leisurely jaunt along the banks of the Grand River or the Louis Campau Promenade.

When completed in 2008, the River House will be the tallest building in the downtown Grand Rapids area.

There are several different floor plans available in this high rise condo complex.  The building has 24 security and 3 express elevators in addition to a fully equipped exercise room, lap pool, hot tub  and steam and sauna rooms.

Model of the Living Room & bar areaAll amenities will be first class.  There are wood floors in the kitchen and foyer areas, granite counter tops set over Brookhaven cabinets, recessed lighting in the kitchen area and stainless steel appliances.

Designed for quiet enjoyment and pleasure, each unit in the building has sound insulation between adjoining walls, solid core wood doors and concrete floors.

But the River House is not just a building…it’s an experience. The best of Grand Rapids is just outside the door.  Located close to the  Van Andel arena and within walking distance of the Civic Arts Theater, the New Grand Rapids Arts Museum and the Devos Hall…there’s always something interesting and exciting to do.

Some other offerings in the downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan condominium market include:

The Icon on Bond: located in the rejuvenated Monroe North corridor, the Icon is in the tax-free renaissance zone.  There are 9 stories.

The Fitzgerald: A smaller, more intimate development in the heart of the city featuring 39 units in a classically restored historic building.

The Plaza Towers: a distinctive condominium development with 32 stories on Campau Circle with 144 units. Located atop the Courtyard Marriott Hotel.

The Boardwalk:  Urban, contemporary and affordable.  This condominium complex is located within a refurbished historic building.

The Union Square Condos:  If you like casual chic, you might want to check out these units in this rennovated historic building.  Also offers renaissance zone tax free savings.

Mixed Use Developments:  70 Ionia, Front Row Condominiums, Peck Building ~ these buildings feature a combination of commercial and residential space.

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Downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan Restaurants…Renaissance in Fine Dining!

The last 20 years have witnessed a dramatic transformation of the downtown area of Grand Rapids, Mi.  Downtown Grand Rapids is one of Michigan’s best kept secrets!  An article in the Grand Rapids Magazine highlighted some of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s best kept secrets which included the following facts:

  • You Can Live Tax Free in Grand Rapid’s Renaissance Zone!

The First Green Museum in the Whole World (The New Grand Rapids Arts Museum) is currently under construction in Grand Rapids, Michigan! 

The Greater Downtown Grand Rapids area has 10 Public parks!

When I’ve taken family members, visiting from out of state downtown, they are always surprised by how vibrant & sophisticated the downtown area has become.  In addition to a varied and eclectic collection of restaurant options, the downtown area also has a good variety of museums, parks and entertainment venues such as the Van Andel Arena and the recently renovated and expanded DeVos Hall.

Going downtown in Grand Rapids for dinner or lunch can be a special treat! Here are some of my favorite downtown restaurants.  If you enjoy fine food, you will find that downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan rivals many world class locations!

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel:  A premier, first rate hotel, the Amway features several excellent restaurants which range from upscale to casual.  The Cygnus 27 restaurant high atop the top floor of the hotel, offers stunning views of the city vista as well as a sophisticated decor & creative menu entrees.  The 1913 Room is a perennial favorite for special occasion dining & features a first class menu. I also recently enjoyed a wonderful Birthday Celebration at Bentham’s, a more casual eatery on the main floor level. (616-774-2000)  Located at 187 Monroe NW, Grand Rapids, MI. 

A new entry into the Amway family of hotels is the JW Marriott’s Six.One.Six Restaurant.  This contemporary eatery features a demonstration kitchen where guests can observe some of the prep work and an intimate setting for more a more casual approach to an upscale menu. 

San Chez…A Tapas Bistro: Located at 38 W. Fulton, just a stone throw from the heart of city’s business district, this Spanish Tapas style restaurant features authentic dishes  with a Cuban, Mediterranean and Spanish flair.  The concept  of a tapas was initially foreign to me…a meal of appetizers???  It’s a very interesting dining experience.  The inventive preparations from the extensive menu are enjoyed on small appetizer sized plates. The entrees are tasted and shared by all.  It’s a social experience as well as a cultural one.  It’s surprisingly filling so…make sure you leave room for dessert!  (616-774-8272)dining

Leo’sIf you’re a seafood lover, you will want to make sure you visit Leo’s restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Nominated by readers of the Grand Rapids magazine in 2006 for the Restaurant of the Year Award, Leo’s delivers excellent service and a great selection of menu options.  Fresh seafood is the signature trademark, but meat lovers will also enjoy the wide variety of steak and pasta creations.  Located at 60 Ottawa Ave, NW.  (616-454-6700)

Heritage RestaurantThis is definitely one of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s best kept secrets!  It’s a fine dining restaurant which is run by students and the faculty of the Grand Rapids Community College.  The Heritage is located in the middle of the downtown campus and the restaurant  is only open for portions of the year to accommodate the availability of the college students.  But if you call ahead to make sure they are open and to make a reservation (616-234-3700), it promises to be a great value with good service, and an interesting array of menu selections plus… perhaps a chance to meet a future famous chef!

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