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Best Cities For Raising A Family

No. 1 Grand Rapids, Michigan

Rankings (of 100 largest metros): Median Income: 65 Cost of Living Index: 6 Housing Affordability: 7 Commuting: 22 Pct. Owning Homes: 5 (75%) Crime: 27 Education: 35   President Gerald Ford’s hometown is home to several furniture makers. The public school system is supplemented by several charter schools.  Also, the downtown scene is booming with an array of restaurants, entertainment venues, festivals including one of the largest Art Festivals, Artprize bringing hundreds of thousands of people into downtown Grand Rapids every fall.

Are you looking to relocate to Grand Rapids?  Look no further than Grand Rapids’ Own Urban Lifestyle Specialist!  Please click on the links below for housing/condo information and whats going on downtown!

Housing/Condo Information:  Click Here

Grand Rapids Things to do:  Click Here


Celebration on the Grand – Downtown Grand Rapids

Celebration on the Grand is almost here! Make plans now to head downtown on September 7th and 8th for free concerts, a rubber duck race on the Grand River (the Ducky Dash), and some of the best fireworks around!

The festivities kick off Friday, September 7, with the Taste of Downtown, where you can sample delicious food from downtown restaurants like Peppino’s and Stoner’s Tacos. The vendors will be near the Rosa Parks Circle stage and are open from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and again in the evening from 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. This year, beer will be served in a confined area for adults.

Empty-Nesters Make Summertime the Most Popular Time of Year to Move

It’s not just the warm temperatures that heat up in the summer – it’s also the most popular time of the year to move.  One of the leading causes for this great summer migration is that  many households find themselves a little emptier as graduates prepare to move out and start new life chapters. These changes lead to a common question amongst empty-nesters: “Is now the right time to move out of my single-family home and into something better suited to my new lifestyle?”

Rethinking where and how you live can offer many financial and emotional benefits for empty-nesters; here are just a few:

  1. Lower mortgage— Depending on the location of your new property, you may have a lower monthly mortgage cost.
  2. Freedom— Want to take up sailing, become a world-class skier, or play golf every day? Downsizing offers you more freedom to explore and revisit activities and hobbies that you may not have been able to enjoy when you had a larger house to maintain.
  3. Fewer maintenance costs— Downsizing to condo eliminates the need for lawn service, cleaning service, and additional costs associated with driveway, roofing or yard maintenance.
  4. Lower taxes— A smaller property may offer the benefit of lower real estate taxes.
  5. Less stress— Less clutter, debt, and financial and maintenance obligations will lead to a clearer state of mind, and give you the opportunity to enjoy a new, simplified home.

Condos  are typically smaller, but the energy of the city is so much larger. Moving from the suburbs to the city offers you a wealth of access to museums, restaurants, shopping and theatre right outside your door. If an urban lifestyle is something you would like to learn more about, contact Chuck Gallagher, Grand Rapids’ own Urban Lifestyle Specialist and Greenridge Realty’s top selling agent in West Michigan, for more information.

616.299.5837 or

Visit to see all available listings.

Housing Market Showing Signs of Life as New Home Sales Surge

Americans bought new homes in May at the fastest pace in more than two years, adding to evidence of a slow but steady housing recovery. Compared with May 2010, new-home sales were up 19.8 percent. All this according to a Commerce Department Report released today.

Though new homes represent less than 20 percent of the housing market, they have a sizeable impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Here in West Michigan we’re blessed with a healthy economy and a housing market that has shown strong signs of recovery, as well.  If you’ve been considering a change of address now just might be the time to pull the trigger.  An urban lifestyle may be just what you’re looking for. CLICK HERE to learn more about Grand Rapids’ downtown condo developments and how living downtown puts everything at your doorstep.

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 !

The Establishment – A new hip place to go in Downtown Grand Rapids

The Establishment…..

Think of the look and feel of a downtown loft, that is our vision for this reinvented locale. To take something that was once old, add polish, and make it new again. That is the nature of this Bridge Street location only minutes from the new River House  and Union Square condominiums. The establishment will boast historic character, industrial details, but yet timeless attributes and repurposed furnishings.  A comfortable place with a spice of style.  Kick back with one of their hand-crafted signature cocktails, or a delectable specialty beer and enjoy some excellent music and entertainment.  Just another great spot to re-claim Bridge Street with a distinctive urban hangout.

Ashley Cole Design, Inc transformed the old  Monte’s to The new Establishment . From bright colors and shiny stainless to raw layers of wood, warm textures and industrial accents.  The eitire transformation was completed in an impressive 18 days!

The owners of Rockwell Republic, O’Toole’s Public House are the one responsible for The Establishment located at 428 Bridge St NW.  There is lots of good buzz around the opening on Wednesday,  November 17, 2011 when they will have their official unveiling. Hope to see you there!

For a full list of great restaurants and night clubs in Downtown Grand Rapids CLICK HERE

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.”

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