At 616 Development and 616 Lofts, we talk about community quite often. We refer to our residential complexes not as apartment buildings, but as communities, because we feel this is a truer description.
After all, there is much more to a group of people who live their lives together in a shared space than the building they occupy. More often than not, these people share more than just the space in which they live; they share a similar lifestyle, similar values, a similar love and appreciation for their neighborhood – even friendship. In these structures full of people who share so much with one another there exists, in a word: community.
But communities are found in plenty of other places, too. We find them in our workplaces; in sports fandoms; in groups of artists who collaborate on honing their craft together; and, perhaps most obviously, we find them in churches.
As a result of economic and cultural shifts, historic churches across the country which once housed congregational communities have become vacant. Many of these, tragically, have been left to decay, or have been torn down. A lucky few have become home to new – albeit different – communities.
The historic, neo-gothic church at the corner of Crescent and Prospect in Heritage Hill is about to become one such building. Unoccupied since Bethlehem Lutheran’s congregation relocated to Heartside in 2007, this stunning work of architecture has sparked a vision for a residential community since shortly after it was vacated.
With the building acquired and financing for construction secured, we’re thrilled to announce that we will finally be bringing that vision to fruition.
616 Lofts on Prospect will be the newest chapter in our work to revitalize Grand Rapids. This new community of market rate apartments will make its home at an upcycled 253 Prospect. The redeveloped church will become home to 22 market rate apartments which will include 1 studio, 8 one bedroom units and 9 two bedroom units. A fitness room and a community room will be available for all 616 Lofts on Prospect residents. Approximately 26 on-site parking spaces will also be available to residents and guests.
This is an exciting new beginning for a structure which has seen much life over the years, and we look forward to continuing the tradition of joy and community set by Bethlehem Lutheran’s congregation which, incidentally, is still thriving today in Heartside.
Commented Pastor Jay Schrimpf, who was pastor at the time of the congregation’s relocation and continues to lead the congregation today, “in any building, we would rather see community than the absence of community.” Approaching the residential project from a community, rather than profit, oriented point of view was a good thing, he emphasized.
Bethlehem Lutheran relocated in 2007 to a redeveloped historic building in Heartside in order to “better build our community – Grand Rapids, Heartside, downtown, as well as the people who are in the pews Sunday morning.”
While Pastor Jay and the congregation of Bethlehem Lutheran Church successfully pursue community building and social justice in Heartside, 616 Lofts looks forward to pursuing its own mission to build residential community in this cherished structure, and in the Heritage Hill neighborhood at large.
“Right now is an exciting time for us,” commented 616 Development and 616 Lofts founder, Derek Coppess. “We’re currently focused on other residential redevelopments which will make a much larger impact on the Grand Rapids community, but smaller, infill projects like the old Bethlehem church are so important for our city. They’re also part of our DNA at 616 – this is really representative of what we’re all about.”
616 Lofts on Prospect is expected to be ready to receive tenants in March 2014. Preleasing for these apartments is set to open December 2013.
More information regarding apartments and leasing can be found at 616Lofts.com.
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