Category Archives: Uncategorized

Park Sculpture Receives Makeover

Remember that giant red button on the west side of Ah-Nab-Awen Park? Well it’s about to get a much needed makeover! The sculpture has received quite a lot of damage from years of neglect. Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. has designated up to $5,000 for the repair of this beloved sculpture, with work being completed as weather conditions allow.button.jpg

River House Wins Prestigious Design Award!

Wow!  A great time was had by all as we celebrated all things River House.  The homeowner party was such a success that we are pleased to announce that we will continue to host these events throughout the year in an effort to meet new neighbors and build an even greater community.

We are so proud of our 100% sold status and continue to be busy showing resales to prospective homeowners.   River House continues to be one of the most desired residences in luxury living!

But the news doesn’t stop there!  River House was recently awarded a prestigious design award.  The American Institute of Building Design recently held its Residential Design Awards Competition.  This 50 year old competition highlights creativity, innovation in design, custom luxury, renovation and more.  We are pleased to announce that River House along with Visbeen Architects was awarded first place in the multi-design category. It is honor to have received the top design award in the country! This is just another reason that River House is the best in downtown living.

If you are interested in living downtown or in selling a current home,  contact us at 616.726.2900.

3200 dining room

River House Hits a Monumental Milestone!

River House recently met a monumental milestone!  The sale of the last white box marked the property at 100% occupancy!  But the River House story doesn’t end there.  Our homeowners have seen such an increase in their property values (10-12% in the last 90 days alone) that they are finding it to be an extremely good time to sell.  In fact most of our listings have sold in days, if not hours!   What does that mean?  It means there is still availability for you to live in River House – arguably the premier downtown living destination.  If you are interested in selling a current home or purchasing downtown, contact us at 616-726-2900.

To find out more about River House, click here.

If it’s info about downtown living you’re looking for, click here.


5 Reasons You Should Buy a Home NOW!

Many potential buyers are waiting until they can be 100% sure the real estate market has fully recovered before making the move to purchase a home. Here are five reasons why waiting might not make sense any longer:

1.) Prices Are on the Rise

The latest Case Shiller Home Price Index revealed that home prices have appreciated 5.5% over the last year. This is occurring across the nation as increases 3200 dining roomwere reported in 19 of 20 metros. The Home Price Expectation Survey, which polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, calls for continued appreciation over the next five years.

2.) Mortgage Interest Rates Are Expected to Increase

The Mortgage Bankers Association has predicted that, after reaching record lows in 2012, mortgage rates will creep up slowly in 2013 to 4.4%. Rates have already increased by 2/10 of a point (3.32 to 3.53) in the last two months.

3.) Rents Are Continuing to Skyrocket

Recently, Zillow reported that rents in the U.S. increased by 4.2% over the last year. Increases were 5% or more in many major metropolitan areas including Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, San Jose and Charlotte.

4.) New Mortgage Regulations Will Be Announced Later This Year

Six regulators, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Securities and Exchange Commission, are currently drafting the new Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule. They will decide on two major requirements for buyers looking to qualify for a mortgage: minimum down payment and minimum FICO score. Many experts believe the new rules will be more stringent than current requirements.

5.) Timelines Will Be Shorter

The dramatic increase in transactions caused many challenges to the process of buying or selling a home in 2012. We waited for inspections, dealt with last minute appraisals and prayed that the bank didn’t ask for ‘just one more piece of paper’ before issuing a commitment on the mortgage. There are fewer transactions this time of year. That means that timetables on each component of the home buying process will be friendlier for those involved in transactions over the next 90 days.

These are five good reasons why you should consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

Celebrate New Years Eve Downtown Grand Rapids’ Style

Jesse McCartney, Baby Bash, Sylvia Yacoub, The Outer Vibe fire up Grand Rapids’ Hot-FM New Year’s Eve Party

Grand Rapids’ outdoor New Year’s Eve bash returns to Monroe Avenue near Rosa Parks Circle downtown with a free concert and midnight ball drop. Singer Sylvia Yacoub has replaced New Boyz and the event will be televised live for the first time. See the full schedule below.

Pop singer and actor Jesse McCartney will perform and emcee this year’s Hot New Year’s Eve Party downtown.


Sure, we all made it past Dec. 21 — and all that Mayan-ocalypse prattle — so, rest assured that Grand Rapids will now be able to celebrate the New Year in style.

Headlined by young pop/R&B singer and actor Jesse McCartney, the Hot New Year’s Eve Party hosted by 105.3 Hot-FM and Cumulus Media once again will take place outdoors in downtown Grand Rapids – on Monroe Avenue south of Pearl Street NW next to Rosa Parks Circle – with a night of free entertainment, hot chocolate and the Consumers Energy Ball drop at midnight.

Saugatuck-area electro-acoustic, alternative funk-pop artist Nate Holley will open the evening entertainment on Monday, followed by Grand Rapids’ own rock/pop band The Outer Vibe, who won a WHTS-FM local band contest.

Originally, California hip-hop act New Boyz was scheduled to perform, but the group has now been replaced by Muskegon native Sylvia Yacoub, a singer-songwriter and a Top 10 finalist on NBC’s “The Voice.” Mexican-American rapper Baby Bash also will perform, with DJs Curtis Avison and Justin Kung spining tunes once again as they did last year.

West Michigan’s Sylvia Yacoub, who made a splash on NBC’s “The Voice,” will replace New Boyz on New Year’s Eve.

With an estimated 30,000 people attending 2011’s event, Cumulus Media is sticking with a similar format for this year’s affair.

“The approach is the same from year to year – to provide a fun and exciting evening of music and entertainment that people of all ages will enjoy,” said Marcus Bradman, director of marketing and promotions for Cumulus Media Grand Rapids, adding that Cumulus considers “a lot of different variables” in assessing the musical genres represented at the party and the available budget.

Here’s the full schedule (updated Dec. 27):

6:20 p.m. – Cumulus Welcome 6:30 p.m. – Nate Holley (one-man, one-guitar looping musical magician) 7:15 p.m. – The Outer Vibe (rock/pop) 8:45 p.m. – Baby Bash (hip-hop) 9:45 p.m. – DJ Music 10:55 p.m. – Sylvia Yacoub (R&B/pop) 11:15 p.m. – Jesse McCartney (pop) 11:57 p.m. – Ball Drop

The 25-year-old McCartney, an actor, singer, former soap opera star and ex-member of the boy band Dream Street, has released three solo albums on Hollywood Records and has an upcoming release, “Have It All,” listed on his website as “coming soon.” His highest charting single, “Leavin’, ” topped Billboard’s pop chart in 2008.

Grand Rapids’ ever-popular The Outer Vibe, meanwhile, has boosted its profile in 2012, releasing a new album, “Hoka Hey,” and touring nationally.  The band will perform during the “Bud Light Happy Hour” to launch the New Year’s Eve bash.

The Outer Vibe will get the New Year’s Eve street party started early.

Band trumpet and keyboard player Lisa Kacos said members of The Outer Vibe consider it an honor to be invited to perform and “can’t wait to be part” of the year-end show. Consequently, the group may have some surprises in store for partygoers. “The Outer Vibe is always up to something,” she said, “and we do love having fun with our shows, so you never know what to expect with us.”

Sylvia Yacoub, a pop/R&B/soul singer, was born in Egypt and raised in Muskegon. You can watch a video of her below, playing the song, “Show the World,” the 2011 Senior Song that she wrote for the senior class of Mona Shores High School.

Baby Bash

The Houston-based Baby Bash, aka Ronnie Ray Bryant, meanwhile, has seven studio albums under his belt.

The family-oriented New Year’s Eve party will once again feature warming tents where hot chocolate will be available, and fans can take close-up photos of the stars on stage that night by picking up a free wristband at any J&H Family Store.

Also, for the first time, local television station WKTV (Wyoming-Kentwood Community Television) will partner with Cumulus to televise the downtown concert. Viewers with Comcast and AT&T U-Verse television service can view the live concert from 10:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. on LiveWire – Channel 24 on Comcast, Channel 99 on U-Verse.

The New Year’s Eve event is sponsored by Bud Light, Fifth Third Bank, Consumers Energy, Western Michigan University, Spartan Stores, J&H Family Stores, Westmaas Electric and Corporate Sound. More details available online at

The party wraps up a hectic month of holiday-styled entertainment in West Michigan. For a full list of shows, check out my “December Dozen” list at

Cinco De Mayo Fiesta GR 2012 !!

Arena District To Host Cinco De Mayo Fiesta GR 2012 On Ionia Ave.  Saturday, May 5th from 4pm -10pm
Grand Rapids, MI – Dance in the streets to the Latin rhythms of Arena District’s “Cinco De Mayo Fiesta GR 2012”. A cultural celebration, this event will serve as a kickoff party for a lively and festive-filled summer in Downtown Grand Rapids.
The May 5th event will be an outdoor festival on Ionia Street, between Fulton and Weston. Various bands will be playing on an outdoor stage featuring headliner and Dallas-natives Juan Johnson & Super Star Guess . Other musical entertainment includes DJ Luis Da Magnificent, Los Tribaleroz y Guero Loco, Bersachi, and Cumbia bands Grupo Yatekos and Super Nova. Participants will also have opportunities to participate in salsa lessons by local dance professional Laura Armenta.
The streets will be lined with select local restaurant food vendors and a beer tent to enrich the Latin experience. Along with serving their ever-popular boneless wings, Buffalo Wild Wings will be hosting a Wing Eating Challenge. Stoner Tacos will be serving up pan-fried tacos while Bar Divani and J. Gardella’s will also be dishing out Latin-inspired cuisine.
Admission is for ages 21 and up only. Tickets purchased before the day of the event are $10 and can be purchased at various Arena District restaurants, on the Arena District’s “Cinco de Mayo Fiesta GR 2012” Facebook page, or at Tickets purchased at the gate on the day of the event will be $15. The first 200 to arrive to the Fiesta will receive a complimentary 16oz. beer mug.
This event is being brought to downtown with support from the Downtown Development Authority, Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority, and Buffalo Wild Wings. For more information, visit the Arena District’s Facebook page or email

LaughFest 2012 !!

Click for information.

Gilda’s LaughFest, the nation’s first-ever community-wide festival of laughter, is quickly earning a reputation for being one of the nation’s marquee events for both participants and artists.  Created by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and launched in March 2011 to celebrate laughter for the health of it, the 10-day festival features stand-up, improv, film, authors, community showcases and a variety of seriously funny stuff.

The inaugural LaughFest took place in March 2011 and attracted over 55,000 guests from 25 states and Canada.  With over 228 events across 49 different stages, the event featured 642 artists including Betty White, Bill Cosby, Kevin Hart, Gabriel Iglesias, Margaret Cho, Mike Birbiglia and Stephen Lynch.  The event kicked off with a Guinness Book World Record for “Largest Rubber Chicken Toss,” garnering international media coverage.

“Gilda’s LaughFest is by far, the most balanced festival in the country… there’s literally something for everyone.”  Comic Roy Wood, Jr.

Click Here for a calander of events.

Downtown Grand Rapids is going country with new Back Forty Saloon

The Back Forty Saloon, at 48 W. Fulton St., next to the upcoming Buffalo Wild Wings, will be the latest venue to open up in the ever changing downtown area.  Grand opening was Jan. 18.   Image“This has never been tested downtown before, full-fledged,”  Bringing country music to downtown Grand Rapids by featuring mainstream acts and local talent. The Kari Lynch Band is booked for the opening show and the opening weekend.

“A lot of people say they don’t like country music until they hear it,”  “It’s not your grandparents’ country. It’s cool now.”   This Friday and Saturday, the saloon will feature mainstream country acts and there will be a DJ and line dancing on the saloon’s 400-square foot dance floor.  Stop on down and kick up your heels. 

See ya there pardner,

Chuck Gallagher, Realtor

Grand Rapids’ Urban Lifestyle Specialist !


Happy New Year! 

What a great 2011.  Downtown Grand Rapids continues to amaze with new venues, events and surprises.  We look forward to an equally great 2012.  best wishes, good health and may all of you have a prosperous New Year!


Chuck Gallagher, Realtor

Grand Rapids’ Urban Lifestyle Specialist !

Chloe Elan, “new American” cuisine at Bridgewater/River House Condominiums

An upscale new restaurant, cabaret, banquet facility and cafe is expected to fill in some big holes in downtown’s Bridgewater Place tower this winter.

Christine Gill, former co-owner of the Sierra Room and Opus 1894 plans to open Chloe Elan, a restaurant featuring “new American” cuisine, which she described as “the melting pot of America with other influences brought into the mix, such as Asian, southwestern and French influences.”

The restaurant, expected to open Feb. 23, will be in a former office and bank branch space on the first floor of the blue glass office tower. Outdoor seating will be added along the Grand River in the spring.

A separate venue named The Cabaret will feature live local and national musicians several nights a week. The Cabaret will occupy space adjacent to Chloe Elan had been the model sales office for the River House condominiums tower as that project was being built.

Gill said she’s counting on the towers’ office tenants and residents to be regular customers.

“Given the restaurant’s core demographic, there is a great demand for a venue featuring live music in an upscale environment with incredible wines and libations,” Gill said.

The banquet facility with the capacity to serve up to 250 people will take the second floor space that had been Rembrandt’s restaurant until it closed in 2003. Gill also will take over a cafe now run on the second floor.

The main restaurant is “going to be a little bit more affordable than Sierra Room, with a heavier influence on small plates but still offering entrees as well,” she said.

Gill said she liked Bridgewater for its riverfront location, the potential customer base in the office and condo towers and attached parking, which will be free for her customers.
The restaurant also will offer free valet parking.

She sold her interest in the Sierra Room before it closed in 2007 in order to focus on raising her son. She is currently general manager of Ottawa Tavern and Bite, part of the Gilmore Collection of restaurants.

Outside investors, whom she declined to name, are helping get the restaurant started, but Gill will be the owner-operator. She is negotiating with potential executive chefs for Chloe Elan.

“It’s always been my intent to open another restaurant,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been very passionate about and I think that Grand Rapids is in need of a concept similar to Chloe Elan.”

She declined to discuss what the name Chloe Elan meant – “that’s something I’m going to hold off on until I get closer to opening. Suffice to say it has great significance.”

Bridge water, the office tower is about 85 percent leased and the taller River House condo tower, is over 85 percent sold.

“I think it helps us to be able to market it with that in place,” Weiner said. “With Varnum and Law Weathers and some of the other large firms in that building it’s nice to have a very nice sit down restaurant that serves alcohol for people working late, having dinner or grabbing a drink after work.”

%d bloggers like this: