Preface: Happy first official week of Spring! At 616 Lofts this time of year gives us a chance to reflect on what was to be excited for what is to come! We wanted to share a blog from our archives with you as a reflection of where the 616 Loft community began. Derek Coppess, Founder and CEO wrote this on April 11, 2011. Enjoy again!
Photo Credit: Adam Bird Photography
Spring 2009 seems like just a few days ago. I had just sold my “suburban dream” house, and most of the stuff that filled it, and I was excited to experience downtown living. Having done quite a bit of investment and property revitalization in the surrounding downtown areas, I had never developed on Grand Rapids’ Main & Main, so I only had assumptions. Simple assumptions, that there would be plenty of city-center housing options available, like there are in more suburban areas. I wanted to test out the urban living waters with a basic apartment lease. I was shocked at what I found… or what I did not find. Downtown Grand Rapids, while it had so much to offer in regards to nightlife, business and culture, had hardly anything to offer in the residential housing department.
Urban development is not a new concept; how it all works hasn’t changed much since ancient Rome was built. Community and people are, and always have been, the lifeblood of a city. Every aspect of a successful urban economy can ultimately be traced to the people actually living in the city; office, retail, bars & restaurants all depend on the presence of locals! Yet downtown Grand Rapids had so many barriers to residential living that urban residents were few and far between.
The more I dug into this phenomenon, the more perplexed I became. Finally it started becoming clearer: I’ve found that our great city has progressed largely due to its’ philanthropic element. As a Grand Rapidian and developer myself, I am very thankful for the intricate and immense infrastructure that has been built for our city by entrepreneurs and investors. Due to the vision and investment of local philanthropists, we have a city that is growing, even without a large community of people that call downtown “home”.
But now, it is now our responsibility to fill in the gaps. It’s time to bring the people downtown to further the growth and progress our city has made and is making. That’s why 616 Lofts was formed.
Our mission is simple. To recycle unusable, downtown space into vibrant, living urban spaces that draw people downtown to simply… live. At 616 Lofts, we believe that you do not get points in life for making things hard, and we’re working to make downtown living here in Grand Rapids easy, sustainable and affordable. As a small, boutique style real estate firm, we believe in people – our people, your people, and you. We are founded on a belief that living in community is one of the greatest intangibles in life. Integrity, vision, innovation, focus, and community are a few of the words that wake us up in the morning each day motivated to be the kind of people we were built to be.