Editor’s note: This interview was condensed for space and clarity.
Kendal Browne represents one of the key demographics downtown apartment and condo developers are trying to attract. A recent graduate of Grand Valley State University with a job just outside of the city, Browne is living the downtown dream (or she will be once COVID-19 is under control). With more and more apartment buildings sprouting up in all sectors of the downtown community, Grand Rapids Magazine spoke to Browne about what it’s like to live downtown and how developers can attract more residents like her.
Grand Rapids Magazine: Are you originally from Grand Rapids?
Kendal Browne: Yes, I am a born and raised Westsider. I’ve lived just outside Grand Rapids (in the city of Walker) my whole life, and I love it.
GRM: What do you do for work?
KB: Currently, I am a server at Westside Social and I absolutely love working there. I also graduated from Grand Valley last April and am actively searching for jobs in my field.
GRM: Where do you currently live downtown? Do you live alone or with others?
KB: I have been living at Fulton Place Apartments (616 W. Fulton St.) for a year now with my two fantastic roommates.
GRM: Why have you chosen to live downtown?
KB: I chose to live downtown to be close to the action going on in the city, like bars, restaurants, events, that kind of thing. Grand Rapids has so much to offer, and I wanted to experience it.
GRM: What are some of the amenities that are most important to you in your building?
KB: When choosing any apartment or place to live, the two most important things are in-unit laundry and adequate parking. Fortunately enough, Fulton Place has both. Each apartment has a washer and a dryer, and there is a dual-level parking garage with key access.
GRM: Are there other amenities you’d like to see available or that you think would be helpful in enticing tenants?
KB: One amenity that I would like to have is a fitness center/gym. That is the only thing my apartment doesn’t have that I think a lot of people would look for. However, a boxing studio called The Studio opened in the commercial space under the building. Since Fulton Place is owned by Rockford Property Management, all tenants are given a Rock Perks card that gets them discounts all over the city. The Studio, as well as other health and wellness companies, are Rock Perks members so tenants have alternative options.
GRM: During COVID-19, how did your building adapt, and were there any special amenities added that you particularly appreciated?
KB: Since I have been at my current apartment for a year, I moved in right when COVID had everything shut down. My roommates and I were actually supposed to move in a month before we actually did, but things were difficult because of the pandemic — unfortunately, none of us were able to work. Thankfully, the property manager was super helpful and understanding and we were able to push back the move-in date to a more convenient time.
GRM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
KB: I just want to say I love my apartment, so much so that my roommates and I actually just signed our new lease for 2021-22 earlier this week. Even though our downtown GR living experience isn’t all we expected it to be, we are making the most of it. We can’t wait to get back out there and experience all that Grand Rapids has to offer.
This story can be found in the July/August 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here.