$70 million development project coming to downtown Kalamazoo

$70 million development project coming to downtown Kalamazoo. (Photo Courtesy: Catalyst Development)

A $70 million development project is coming to downtown Kalamazoo.

Catalyst Development says the project will offer housing, office and parking spaces and Newschannel 3's Franque Thompson got an exclusive look at the development plans.

The Kalamazoo Promise is one of the many future tenants of the development. The organization has awarded more than $108 million in scholarships to more than 5,200 students.

The new development will be constructed in a parking lot at the southwest corner of North Edwards and Waters Street, and will be across from the Arcadia Creek Festival Place. Bob Jorth, the Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Promise, said the new space will help Promise will expand even more.

The Kalamazoo Promise was established 12 years ago and Jorth said they've accomplished a lot during that time in the tight space they're currently located in.

He said, “We have over 1,600 students who have completed their degrees with the promise. We want to have more of them stay or return to the community.”

The Promise will soon be headquartered in the $70 million development, which will give the organization the space needed to do more.

“Expanding our reach to helping students with credential attainment, with job opportunities and internships, as well as going deeper on the community and providing space for those who are convening on very important issues such as poverty, such as infant mortality and any number of things," said Von Washington Jr., executive director of community relations for the Kalamazoo Promise.

Catalyst Development is turning the parking lot into a 290,000 square foot mixed-use building.

The building could give downtown Kalamazoo a little more aesthetic appeal and will feature snowmelt sidewalks.

“We're on bus lines, we're in between many of the schools that students attend already, right across the Arcadia Festival Site. It is a prime spot for something such as the promise to be seated," said Washington.

The development plans include two floors for residential housing, four floors for office space and a parking garage with more than 300 spots, all scheduled to be done by June 2020.

Jorth is already looking towards the future.

Jorth said, “Engage the families and the students and to making the Promise a reality, not just getting them to college but through college and even back in jobs in this community.”

The Kalamazoo Promise Institute, Communities in Schools, Warner Norcross and Judd, LLP, and Southwest Michigan First are some of the new building's future tenants.

Catalyst Development is partnering with architecture and engineering firm TownPinkster and construction management company CSM Group. The agencies will break ground on the project in July.

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