Antique store owners push back development proposal
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – Over the years, the historic Sligh Furniture building on Century Ave in Grand Rapids has become a must-see place to browse and shop for old and unique items.
“The building itself lends itself so well to what we do. Every day people come in and marvel, I mean the columns and the structure itself is amazing and amazing, ”said Mark Miller, owner of Lost & Found Treasures.
Miller has owned his antique store for 12 years, one of the building’s three major antique stores. “We started out as a small 2,000 square foot store, and I’ve now grown into about 50,000 square feet.”
Right now, Miller and the other antique store owners who call Home Sligh, say a new development proposal could make them things of the past.
Development firm Sturgeon Bay Partners unveiled a plan to purchase the building and massive land around Grandville and Century Avenue, to develop more than 700 apartments, commercial space, parking, a garden and more .
At the last Grand Rapids Planning Commission meeting, developer John Gibbs said the plan is to make about 10% of housing affordable. The planning committee approved part of their pitch, to build two new buildings on the site.
“We are very aware of the housing needs in Grand Rapids specific to the housing study that was released last summer… and we believe this project will help address that issue,” Gibbs said at the meeting. .
Small business owners don’t see it that way and fear it could ruin a unique antique dealer paradise in the heart of Grand Rapids.
“I think we need to think about it before we embark on a big, another massive redevelopment and ask ourselves what’s important, what’s important to the community,” Miller said.
“The most important thing is that once you change that it will never go back and it will bother a lot of people,” said Mary Beth Schutt, owner of Warehouse One Antiques.
“I would love to see the community come together and come together and help support all of us and all the businesses that are in this building because so many people can lose their jobs you know they maybe have nowhere to go go, ”Century Antiques Says owner Jim Murray.
Antique stores garner a lot of support from the community through a Facebook page called “Save the Sligh”, which already has over 1,000 members.