Catalyst Development Co. began construction on a $70 million development in downtown Kalamazoo Thursday.
More than a dozen people attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the southwest corner of North Edwards and Water Streets.
“This has been a parking lot for 60-plus years and really dates to that time where we were focused on an auto-dependent downtown,” Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. president Andrew Haan said. “And now to see our community leaders investing and realizing that we can compete on our own terms.”
For years the site has sat unused, but after two years city leaders and Kalamazoo Promise executive director of community relations Von Washington Jr. announced the seven-story mixed-use building will be the future home of the Kalamazoo Promise Offices on the former site of what has been called Parking Lot 9.
“The community really rallied around the Kalamazoo Promise as of 12 years ago and 6,000 students, but space is always at a premium when it comes to things that can be supportive outside of the school system,” Washington said.
Bill Johnston, chairman of Greenleaf Companies, noted that city leaders carried through on the vision for Kalamazoo.
“We are taking a surface parking lot which really isn’t good for downtown environments and we’re putting a commercial building on it; that is going to have tenants and 41 residences. And in addition to that we are creating more parking than was here to begin with,” Johnston said.
The 290,000-square-foot development will include offices, 45 residential units, and more than 300 parking ramp spaces, adding 120 new spaces to the site.
Construction is scheduled to be completed by June 2020.