Developer aims to break ground this summer on 250-unit apartment complex in Walker
MLive.com | Michael Kransz | May 26, 2022
WALKER, MI – A Chicago-based developer aims to break ground this summer on a 250-unit apartment complex off of Lake Michigan Drive in Walker.
In addition to apartments, the development will also later feature about 68 single-family lots and commercial space along Lake Michigan Drive.
The entire project being developed by Stoneleigh Companies is located on about 105 acres at 3485 Lake Michigan Drive NW that was formerly home to a bowling alley and the Lincoln Country Club.
The apartment complex, called the Savannah at Waterford Village, will feature 250 apartment units across 39, single-story buildings. Each of the units, which come in one-, two- and three-bedroom options, is attached to a two-car garage.
It will also feature a 5,255-square-foot clubhouse, sidewalks, streetlights and gathering spaces within open areas.
Earlier this month, final plans for the apartment complex portion of the project got the greenlight from the Walker Planning Commission. Once permits are in hand, Rick Cavenaugh, president of Stoneleigh, said he hopes to break ground in July.
The first apartment units could be open for occupancy as early as summer 2023, with all units estimated to be built and ready for residents by the following summer, Cavenaugh said.
Depending on the number of bedrooms and the location within the complex, monthly rent could range from about $1,600 to $2,500, he said.
As for the 68 lots for single-family homes, Stoneleigh will sell those lots to builders to construct the homes. Depending on the size of use, the commercial property area along Lake Michigan Drive could fit about three businesses or more, Cavenaugh said.
The project is a long time coming, Cavenaugh said. Stoneleigh approached Walker about the project around the start of the pandemic, which slowed down some of the approval process.
The development also drew some worries from nearby residents, who voiced concerns about traffic impact, stormwater flooding issues and proximity to their homes, according to Cavenaugh.
In response, Stoneleigh moved some of the apartment building locations further back from the property lines of nearby neighbors. The company also got approval for a new traffic signal on Lake Michigan Drive at Waterford Village Drive, which is the new public road that will lead into the complex.
That new traffic signal, he said, will help regulate the traffic flow in the area that he says some people otherwise speed through. Waterford Village Drive will also directly connect Lake Michigan Drive to a neighborhood north of the development off of Leonard Street.
As for the already-present flooding issues in the neighborhood west of the development, Cavenaugh said that’s not something his development can solve. However, he said, the new apartment complex will have its own storm system and won’t further add to the problem.
Cavenaugh said the property is in a great location, being about 4 miles away from downtown Grand Rapids and along Lake Michigan Drive nearby retailers and on the bus line.
Stoneleigh has other apartment complexes in Colorado, Ohio, Texas, Minnesota and Illinois. The Grand Rapids area, Cavenaugh said, shows a strong demand for apartment units.