Dynamic Variation:

Development in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Development Map

One of America’s top 20 cities for job growth. A top 10 city for fastest rising income. The #1 metro area for sustainable development.

These are just a few of the economic achievements Grand Rapids has tallied of late. The city and its surrounding region have built one of the most successful economies in the U.S. over the past decade – and it’s fueled an unprecedented surge in capital expenditures.


Downtown Grand Rapids has added seven new hotels in just a few years: AC by MarriottCanopy by HiltonEmbassy SuitesHampton Inn & SuitesHomewood Suites by HiltonHyatt PlaceResidence Inn and the Morton. This has increased the city center’s hotel count to 13 and the downtown room inventory to 2,500+.

Downtown will also be home to two boutique hotels – the newly-opened Morton Hotel and The Finnley, which is slated to open in a remodeled downtown building in 2021.

Another downtown hotel, The Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton, is in the midst of a $40 million recladding of its iconic 27-story glass tower.

Outside downtown, at least 15 hotels have opened or broken ground recently, including such brands as Tru by Hilton, Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownePlace Suites and SpringHill Suites. New hotel proposals on the desks of city planners across the region signal a continuing wave of new lodging options for visitors.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport

The local airport, which in 2019 marked seven straight years of record passenger growth, has embarked on a revolutionary three-development expansion to accommodate continued demand. Now underway, the $165 million “Project Elevate” includes a concourse renovation featuring eight new gates and new amenities, plus a new control tower, new federal inspection station, reconstruction of the terminal apron, and more.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Named the world’s top sculpture park by LuxuryColumnist, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has become Michigan’s second most visited cultural attraction in the 20 years since its opening. In 2021, FMG will complete a $115 expansion that includes a new welcome center, learning center, transportation center, picnic pavilion and more.

WhiteWater Restoration

Planning continues on an ambitious $45 million plan to Restore the Rapids to the Grand River that runs through downtown. The project will transform the waterway into a recreation hub complete with new whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, swimming, boating and fishing opportunities. Construction could begin as early as 2021.

Lyon Square

In advance of the whitewater restoration, one of downtown’s waterfront plazas, located between the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton Hotel and the DeVos Place Convention Center, is being reimagined to provide enhanced greenspace, event space and trail usage.

City Tower

A 24-story building – the fourth tallest in Grand Rapids – is planned in the heart of the city, taking the place of a city-owned parking lot. The $55 million project will include office space, apartments and condos.

Rosa Parks Circle

Named one of five great public spaces in America in 2017, this downtown gathering space  was designed by internationally renowned artist Maya Lin and hosts more than 700,000 visitors each year for recreation, entertainment and civic gatherings. It is undergoing a $2 million renovation in 2021 to coincide with its 20th anniversary.

Medical Mile

More than $2 billion has been invested in this “life-sciences corridor” in downtown Grand Rapids since 2000, and the development continues apace. Currently under construction is the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building, a 205,000 sq. ft. facility that will house the Michigan State College of Human Medicine, BAMF Health and Spectrum Health. It is part of MSU’s Grand Rapids Innovation Park , which also includes the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center, opened in 2017.

Perrigo, the largest store-brand over-the-counter healthcare product manufacturer in the U.S., announced in 2020 that it will build a new North American Corporate Headquarters in Innovation Park. The $45 million, 10-story facility will bring more than 170 new jobs to the area.

Grand Valley State University is constructing the DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health on the Mile. This five-story building will include 14 interactive laboratories and 15 classrooms, and is scheduled for completion in 2021.

Spectrum Health

The area’s largest employer, which operates Spectrum Health Hospital  and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital  in the Medical Mile, is consolidating a portion of its workforce in a new Center for Transformation and Innovation. It will include a renovated downtown building connected to a new facility that will begin construction in 2022.

RDV Corporation

One of the families driving the unique public-private partnership model that has fueled much of the area’s growth is renovating a 100,000 sq. ft., 50-year-old downtown building for its new headquarters.

National Brands

Our economic success has put us on the radar of such national brands as Amazon, Planet Fitness, Texas de Brazil and Whole Foods, all slated to open new facilities here.

These are just a few of the ongoing investments that are making Grand Rapids and Kent Country a better place to live, work and visit. Check out our A Grand Investment blog series for more information.