139 Pearl, known as the “Rood Block” during its early days, is the oldest recognizable building on its block. Situated at a critical and historic intersection known in the late 1800s and early 1900s as “Campau Square”, the Rood building has witnessed countless key events in Grand Rapids’ history.
Flannagan’s, a thriving Irish pub, anchors the ground floor, but until 2010 the top three floors were historically vacant. In 2009, a newly incorporated 616 Lofts, LLC saw the potential for community in these unused spaces and redeveloped floors 2-4 into 15 market rate residential apartments.
creating the 616 standard
The beautiful, historic architecture of the Rood Block lends itself nicely to the fusion of historic and modern amenities offered at 616 Lofts on Pearl. These market rate apartments offer high end finishes and ample living space, including:
139 Pearl, also known as the Rood Block, was rebuilt by city founder C.C. Rood in 1873, after the original block had burned. Graced with an elaborate facade in step with architectural stylings of the era, Rood Block was strategically placed to see many of the most key events in Grand Rapids’ history march by its doorstep. Tenants of the building watched the annual Homecoming Parades of the early 1900s pass by, marking historic moments in the women’s suffrage movement. It saw the first electric streetlamp installed; it watched the famed Powers Opera House and Theater come and go; and it witnessed countless rallies and gatherings at Campau Square, which is now Rosa Parks Circle.
Today, 139 Pearl is the oldest surviving building on this block, its facade the only one still recognizable in the earliest photos of Campau Square (seen above).
the 616 model is realized
After eight years of flying under the radar as The Coppess Group, in 2009 Derek and his fledgling 616 Tribe poured everything they had learned in to the redevelopment of 139 Pearl into a 24 hour building. With a popular restaurant already anchoring the ground floor, 616 Lofts gave much needed attention to the vacant top three floors of this historic gem. The vision: to bring life to this historic quarter of Grand Rapids’ city center by incubating residential community. It worked.
Setting the precedent for all 616 projects to come, All 15 market rate residential apartments at 616 Lofts on Pearl were 100% preleased before construction wrapped. The first residents to join the 616 Lofts community moved in to their new downtown homes August of 2010.
a new community
New residences at 616 Lofts on Pearl received an overwhelmingly positive response, both from residents and from the downtown community at large. This first group of residents provided the 616 Tribe with the perfect testing grounds for their vision for building an engaged resident community through resident events, social media and collaboration with local businesses via the 616 Pass.
The lessons the 616 Tribe learned through this first iteration of its development model informed work on the next projects, and the cycle of developing, testing, adjusting to the needs of the community and repeating began.