10 Things to Look Forward to when Grand Rapids Downtown Market Opens this Saturday!

FRESH FRUITAfter months of anticipation, it’s finally here, folks… The outdoor section of the Grand Rapids Downtown Market on Ionia Ave will officially open tomorrow morning at the stroke of 8:00 AM!

This momentous milestone marks an exciting and fresh new chapter in the city of Grand Rapids’ downtown residential and retail expansion. Here are 10 things you can look forward to when the Downtown Market opens tomorrow:

1. Over 200 free parking spots! That’s right, an adjacent lot will have room for over 200 vehicles to park for no cost at all. If you want to take advantage of the convenience of the lot, you’ll want to get there early, though. For those who miss out, you can still get a close spot at the metered spaces available along Ionia.

2. 80 vendors offering up fresh West Michigan wares! B&B Farms, Crane Dance Farm, Fish Monger’s Wife, Great Harvest Bread Co., Klackle Orchards, Robinette’s Winery & Apple Haus, The Great American Bagel and Visser Farms are just a handful of names you’ll see when browsing the market. Leave yourself plenty of time to visit them all!

3. First LEED certified Outdoor Market in the country! Also known as ‘West Michigan’s first Communal Table’, the market project, which will soon include a year-round Indoor Marketplace of artisan retailers, a restaurant, bakery, brewery, commercial kitchen and rooftop greenhouse, will be 25,000 total square feet of scrumptious sustainability!

4. Opening Day music and street performers.  Bring the kids, because this farmer’s market is going to offer a whole lot more than just vegetables!

5. Eventual Food Cart & Food Truck vendors. Yep, plans are in the works for your favorite downtown Grand Rapids food cart and food truck vendors to have a regular presence at the Downtown Market. Asian Tacos, anyone?

6. Doughnuts! Doughnuts at a farmer’s market?! Well, sure, why not? After all, these aren’t your standard office break room doughnuts, no, we’re talking made-fresh-in-front-you, eat-’em-while-they’re-still-warm homestyle doughnuts by the boys at Go Nuts Donuts. Flavors will range from traditional powdered to chocolate chili powder. Treat the kids, then treat yourself. Hey, it’s all in the name of supporting local food, right?

7. SNAP/EBT, Double Up Food Bucks, Senior Fresh & WIC Coupons Accepted. An on-site ATM machine will also offer maximum convenience for all consumers.

8. Weekday  hours. Can’t get out to the market on Saturdays? No worries, it will also be open on Tuesdays throughout the summer from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM and Thursday evenings from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. Stop by during your workday and grab the freshest office lunch you can imagine or pick up some ingredients turn a ho hum weeknight dinner into something AMAZING!

9. No competition with your friends at the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market. The longstanding downtown Grand Rapids landmark will still be operating out of its usual location on Fulton Street in conjunction with the Outdoor Market, and you’ll see your favorite vendors representing both locations. Take your pick from day to day, switch it up from week to week, or visit both in one morning and make a new resolution to do the bulk of your grocery shopping at both of Grand Rapids’ wonderfully abundant farmer’s markets!

10. Beautiful weather. The grand opening of the Outdoor Market will pair perfectly with a long awaited spell of gorgeous spring- and even summerlike weather that’s finally descended upon us Grand Rapidians. Forecast for tomorrow is 70s and sunny, so grab your sandals and a loved one and head on out to enjoy a fresh new retail experience in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids!

The Outdoor Market is located on 435 Iona SW and will open on Saturday, May 4. It will remain open on a seasonal schedule of Saturdays & Tuesdays from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM, and Thursdays from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

For more information about Downtown Grand Rapids living, please contact the Steve Volkers Group at (616) 284-1528.

Marketplace Makeover Coming to Grand Rapids this Summer!

MARKETPLACE PRODUCEGet ready, downtown Grand Rapids … city life is about to get a whole lot fresher!

Picture this scene, if you will: You come home from work to your funky urban flat only to realize you don’t have any of the salad ingredients you need to make dinner. No worries – just stroll on over a block or two to the newly opened Grand Rapids Downtown Market, where farmer’s market vendors will be displaying fresh farm stand produce while a row of indoor marketplace vendors offer everything from artisan oils and vinegars to coffee and freshly popped kettle corn. Or maybe you need a bit of unwind time after a long day’s work – simply head on down for a stint at the spa that’s just below your condo unit. Don’t forget to indulge in a favorite cafe beverage while you’re out so you can enjoy some people watching!

If you think you must be in Paris or Rome think again – you’re in the heart of Downtown Grand Rapids! And this scenario will be just another everyday perk for GR’s city residents as soon as this summer, when two major housing and retail development projects converge on the Heartside neighborhood with the aim of creating and sustaining a vibrantly diverse and upbeat atmosphere in an area of the city that has been overlooked for far too long.

The first project, Tapestry Square, developed by Jonathon Bradford of the urban revitalization organization Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF), will be comprised of a 4-block mixed housing and retail space at the corner of Wealthy St and Division Ave S, with 32 residential units situated atop a ground level strip of popular retail shops, including Biggby Coffee, Subway and a salon/spa. Around the corner and just a few blocks over, the Downtown Market on Ionia Ave near the US-131 overpass will combine a 138,000 square foot indoor market hall of up to 24 artisan retailers plus an outdoor farmer’s market with space for up to 80 vendors to offer up produce and other farm-fresh goods on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The market could open as soon as this May.

These residential-retail and “open market” concepts–popular in Europe for centuries–are perfectly suited to Grand Rapids, where the downtown condo and apartment rental market has seen an explosion of growth in recent years, thanks to new building projects like this one along with the nationally recognized Medical Mile and community events such as ArtPrize and LaughFest, which bring people flocking to the downtown area in droves. And with talks in the works now by Loeks Theatres Inc. and a major supermarket chain to establish a presence in the downtown area as well, residents may soon be able to fulfill their everyday necessities as well as enjoy a full scope of entertainment options, all on foot.

It’s just another example of how Grand Rapids downtown living is taking off like never before. But hey, we already knew that, right? After all, as our own downtown condo expert Ashley Dietch pointed out, out of the 1,000 condominium units that have been built in downtown Grand Rapids, only 40 – 50 are still available for sale. People continue to snap up opportunities to buy Grand Rapids downtown real estate left and right because of our unique vibe – big city perks with a friendly, small-town charm. And although relatively small compared to other major cities, our downtown has always been rich with culture, diversity, endless dining and entertainment options … and now a farmer’s market, to boot!

Sure, there’s nothing like a summertime trek to a roadside farm stand for sweet corn and berries, but when it comes down to it, city dwellers will always prefer to strut the town versus taking a winding drive through the countryside … and with the exciting new developments coming to downtown Grand Rapids, it turns out they just may never have to again!

For more information about selling or buying a condo, please contact the Steve Volkers Group at (616) 284-1528.

4 Good Reasons to Keep Your Condo Listed During the Holidays

CHRISTMAS CONDOThe holidays are bearing down on us and if you’re currently in the process of trying to get your condo sold, you might be tempted to take it off the market until the last of the holiday tinsel and New Year’s confetti are swept away. Who needs the hassle of preparing for showings when the holidays are hectic enough?

But before you call up your agent and tell him or her to take a listing luau, consider some of the many benefits of leaving your condo on the market during this merriest of seasons:

Less Competition From Other Condo Sellers

Most sellers in your neighborhood probably WILL take their condo off the market during the holiday season – and that means more showings for you when it comes to those dedicated buyers who are out there looking. Your unit will stand out and because it’s one of the few available for show, you may not even need to throw in any additional perks should a potential buyer come knocking.

Chances Are, Your Condo Will Be Looking Its Best

If you’re like most, the holidays have a tendency to motivate you to keep your place particularly tidy and clean. Guess what? That means it will also be ready for showings at a moment’s notice! A little nature-themed holiday decor will give your condo an especially inviting touch (think boughs of holly versus plastic Santas). You won’t have to hustle to do a major cleaning job if your place is already spruced up and looking great!

If You Travel, Your Condo Will Be Readily Accessible for Showings

Is traveling to another town or state a holiday tradition for you? Perfect! That means you won’t have to try scheduling your life around showings. Let your agent line up the appointments as needed while you enjoy a break from your everyday routine. (Of course, you’ll want to stay connected to your listing agent for updates on any showing activity.)

Buyers May Be Fewer, But They’ll Also Be Focused 

Yes, the volume of potential buyers will probably be less at this time of year,  but remember – those who DO make the effort to go condo shopping over the holidays are bound to be more serious in their search and driven to close a deal. It’s not uncommon for employers to relocate their employees just before the end of the year, so the potential for highly motivated buyers out shopping during the holidays does exist!

Of course, if you’re still uncertain about keeping your condo listed during the holidays, you can always just choose to have your agent remove it from the active market while letting the real estate community know that the unit is still for sale so you won’t have to go through the re-listing process again once you’re ready to open your door to showings. But consider sticking it through Who knows? You might be pleasantly surprised this holiday season by something no amount of gift wrap could contain – a successful sale!

For more information about selling or buying a condo, please contact the Steve Volkers Group at (616) 284-1528.

430 Union Ave #209, Grand Rapids MI 49503

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This one bedroom furnished condominium is stunning with many custom upgrades. The chef’s kitchen has granite countertops with custom cabinetry. There is a countertop bar perfect for entertaining and eating. The bedroom is large with an adjoining bathroom. All furniture, kitchen items and more are included with the condo. Tenant does need to provide their own bed set and is responsible for cable tv, internet, gas and electric. One secured garage spot is also included. Park Row condominiums is conveniently located near 1-96, hospitals and downtown Grand Rapids. Please call for more details!


Grand Rapids Voted 2nd Best City To Live!

Relocation America has recently come out with the results of the “Top 10 Places Cities in the US.” Grand Rapids was voted #2, just after Austin Texas.

Current residence who live in Grand Rapids know that it’s a vibrant city, those who visit are influenced by the different cultures, dedication to the arts and a great place to start a business.

Living in Grand Rapids has always been a blessing, and we are happy to call this city our home!

Link: Grand Rapids Voted 2nd Best City in The US for 2011


One of my favorite new places downtown Grand Rapids is the MoDiv shops. The name hails from being situated on Monroe Center and Division. This is a new innovation in retail and I am very excited for it.

Slated as a ‘retail incubator’, MoDiv is a large open space with glass walls dividing retailers. Companies range from a flower shop and paper studio to kitchen/household items and shoes and clothes. Some of the companies are well-known names like Wolverine and Eastern Floral and some are just starting out like Chai Boutique and 6.25 Paper Studio.

MoDiv is appealing to retailers because it gives them the option to get their name known without all the overhead cost of owning or leasing their own space. Also, if someone is coming in to check out shoes at Wolverine, they might be drawn to see the other stores and become a new fan.

If you haven’t been to the shops at MoDiv yet, take some time to check them out. You might find your new favorite store!

Markets and Grocery in Downtown Grand Rapids

One of the biggest changes from living in a suburban home to a downtown condo is not having easy, quick access to your favorite large stores. Sure, you can get in your car and drive to the nearest Meijer, but isn’t it more fun to just walk down the street to your local market and pick up your small list of necessity items? Here is a list of local markets in the downtown area that can service you no matter which part of town you live in.

Grand Central Market: Recently renovated and in the heart of downtown, this one is the most well known due to its location. Featuring homemade sandwiches and soups for lunch as well as standard market items.

Fulton Street Farmers Market: One of the largest farmers market in town featuring local, fresh produce and products from area farms. This market is open year-round and is outdoors. It is getting a facelift though, and should be ready for Spring 2012.

Franks Market: A family-owned meat market on the West side with lines out the door! Featuring specialty meats and standard market items.

Lucky’s Downtown Market: Primarily a convenience/liquor store this market is expanding and now offers a larger selection of items and is conveniently located downtown.

Martha’s Vineyard: A wine connoisseur’s palace! Featuring hundreds of wines, liquors and beers, this market is a must-see for those in the Heritage Hill area. Specialty sandwiches, cheeses, spreads and baked good are also available.

Living downtown is all about accessibility so get out there and support your favorite local market!