What’s next for Monroe Center?
After decades of high vacancy along the historical retail hub of Grand Rapids, occupancy is peaking in buildings that were largely forgotten in the 1970s and ’80s.
Downtown and city officials speak highly of the economic health of Monroe Center, a main street that has been grappling with declining shopping dollars for much of the past half-century.
Aside from the closing of Van Hoecks Shoes this fall after 70 years as a downtown mainstay, officials see the street as rebounding economically. Today, Monroe Center boasts a stronger commercial picture, which is expected to continue to improve as several redevelopment projects bloom in 2013 and the coming years.
“The fact that we have so many of the upper floors occupied that were vacant for decades is really important because now you’re starting to build in a density of residents and office tenants that can help support that retail on the ground floor,” said Suzanne Schulz, planning director for the city of Grand Rapids.