by Bri Kilroy
The historically rich building along North Monroe has an impressive variety of past uses ranging from a furniture manufacturer to a candy factory to office spaces that some of you will remember clocking hours at.
Despite housing a modest number of businesses, including our former Women’s LifeStyle office, the building’s space was being severely under utilized. 616 Development, responsible for the gorgeous 616 Lofts throughout the community, purchased and began construction on the property late fall of last year. The completed project will join the Monroe North Business District and surrounding neighborhoods as a place where both residents and local business can thrive.
Monica Steimle, director of development for 616 Development, radiated excitement about the housing development in this neighborhood, explaining its current access to Canal and Sixth Street Park along the river and updating us on the area’s future development.
“There’s so much planned for access and connection,” said Steimle. “Which makes this neighborhood my fave.”
Those plans include a movement fueled by GR Forward to reactivate the Grand River by creating more access points throughout, connecting the city with its titled asset. The paved trail that runs along the river and tragically ends before reaching Leonard Street will expand and eventually connect it with Riverside Park and the White Pine Trail.
Apprentice, Andrew Donsbach, added how the location of these 616 Lofts will give residents access to booming downtown without sacrificing green space and a spot at the riverfront. “It increases the connectivity it has to downtown,” he said.
The surrounding outdoor area is idyllic for any apartment development and the interior provides a comfortable and enviable retreat. A sneak media preview opened three different sized rooms for exploration including a large two bedroom complete with one and one-half bath.
“These lofts are the first to offer a half bath in addition and a full,” said Steimle. “We’re about providing more options for people.”
The door opens to a beautiful hallway lined with chocolate colored wood flooring. The first doorway, on the right, reveals a small office room with an attached bathroom. Immediately following is a washer and dryer, a set of appliances included in all rooms at the new 616 Development. The hallway opens to a spacious kitchen/living area where you can’t help but imagine moving in to.
The single bedrooms open to a large kitchen area lined with beautiful counters and appliance space on the side wall. Across the room is the doorway to the bedroom with a large closet that could house another tenant if needed. To the left is the bathroom complete with a shower and enough space to dance around during your morning routine.
The personality of other 616 Lofts is embedded in the stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and overall old-meets-new design with a pleasing mix of brick walls, wooden beams and an industrial-style ceiling.
“We like to take a building and cater to the history of the building and character of the neighborhood,” said Steimle. “We’ve been super welcomed by the neighbors and we’re glad to be part of [the neighborhood] now.”
Openings will begin as early as November with the entire project coming to completion in January 2016. The first floor will bring local businesses and amenities to both residents and the community by providing a retail space complete with a kickboxing studio, an eatery by Essence Restaurant Group and more.
See the renovation for yourself at 820 Monroe NW during the community open house Friday July 10 from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday July 11 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Applications and deposits for future residents will be accepted. Keep updated on up-coming community events by visiting 616 Development’s Facebook page or 616Development.com.
Bri Kilroy is a Grand Valley and AmeriCorps alumni who learned to type through vigorous Mavis Beacon trainings. She also passes as an artist, illustrator and author of this bio.