Neighbors worried about turning church into apts

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 76-year-old church building in Grand Rapids' Creston neighborhood will soon become luxury apartments.

The Grand Rapids City Commission recently approved a brownfield amendment that clears the way for the $2.6 million project at the former Saint James Lutheran Church at 445 Knapp St. NE, just west of Plainfield Avenue. The developer, 111 Halo LLC, plans to divide the building into five three-story apartments, creating loft bedrooms out of the upper part of the sanctuary and bedrooms in the current basement area. Additionally, 111 Halo plans to build a two-story building in the parking lot east of the church that will house nine more rental units.

City officials call the redevelopment project "significant," but some neighbors are skeptical.

"I was aghast," Nancy Kuzniar, who lives across the street, said of learning about the plan. "I just thought, 'Oh my goodness, that does not sound good at all.'"

Kuzniar has seen the building used in several capacities, mostly by churches, in her 30 years in the area.

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