Ex-school on the West Side Envisioned as Event Venue

former West Leonard Early Childhoo Center Grand Rapids

A real estate developer is planning to convert an old school on the city’s West Side into an event venue.

Chad Barton, principal at Cherry Street Capital, requested approval via the Grand Rapids Planning Commission to establish a banquet hall with alcohol service in the former West Leonard Early Childhood Center, at 1351 Leonard St. NW.

The Planning Commission has approved the proposed project.

The 2.6-acre property was re-zoned in February from low-density residential to a traditional business area to accommodate the proposed use, according to Planning Commission documents.

The existing building is over 17,000 square feet, and proposed improvements would include a new entrance and ceremony space adjacent to the existing parking lot. The parking lot would provide 104 parking spaces.

An outdoor courtyard would also be constructed for use during events.

The banquet facility would accommodate up to 400 people for events, such as weddings. A total occupancy of 450 was proposed.

The proposed hours of operation would be Monday through Wednesday 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Barton is also planning an outdoor terrace for use during events. However, this aspect of the operation was not included in the public notice. The outdoor use will be up for consideration at a future meeting.

The West Fulton Business Association, Westside Corridor Improvement Authority and West Grand Neighborhood Organization all submitted letters to the Planning Commission in favor of the project.

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Photo: Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

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