One of the coolest corners in all of Grand Rapids is Union and Cherry in the Heritage Hill neighborhood. The tallest building also occupies the northwest corner: 547 Cherry Street, also most commonly known as Oakwood Manor Apartments. New owners have underway exciting plans to return the property to the stateliness and character it once had with a full-scope strategy to redevelop both the interior and exterior of the building, its one-of-a-kind courtyard, and the spacious grounds all material assets of the historic structure.
Shelby and I and the rest of the X Ventures team, along with the members of Lott3Metz and Green Property Management, are honored to be a part of this revitalization and to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with the new ownership. Since X Ventures joined the project several weeks ago, it’s been interesting to hear a number of people say, “I used to live there!” The Oakwood, as it will be called as it evolves under the banner of redevelopment, will slowly transform the building from its east to west wings, from the seventh floor to the garden level. A major landscaping overhaul is also part of the grand vision, which will include enhancements from the vast yard’s edges to the large courtyard.
Comprised of reinforced concrete and steel and faced with brick and stone, this building is literally solid! The redevelopment will enhance and highlight these structural attributes plus many other notable features – some of which are tired from decades of Michigan weather and general wear. New owners are realizing their vision of recapturing the grandeur of the property as a whole. And we can’t wait.
The Oakwood actually sits on the lots where the Ledyard and Pantlind mansions originally stood. In 1923, Oakwood Manor opened, offering studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments – 94 units in all. The ground level included a small store in the east wing which offered sundries and groceries. The west wing offered a sit-down restaurant.
The Story of 547 Cherry
A marketing booklet about Oakwood Manor from the 1920s captures some of the ambiance the new owners hope to rediscover in the new plan: “The approach to the Manor is through a wide open court spotted with shady oaks and a fountain surrounded with flowers and shrubs. Deauville furniture and umbrellas create a vista of enchanting beauty when illuminated at night with lanterns and floodlights. The spacious lobby and lounge on the ground floor breathes a spirit of comfort and luxury.”
Today, the core energy of this place remains; the residential units include longtime tenants and overall it has operated close to full occupancy. Its proximity within Heritage Hill and on the edge of downtown have been important attributes. Many residents take advantage of this by making the most of bike paths and sidewalks which easily feed into nearby destinations like Eastown and the college campuses. The redevelopment plan is expected to harness much of current culture by enhancing these attributes.
What was once a garden level boasting the restaurant and convenience store, those same unique retail spaces will soon return with a joining of the past with the present. Because of the soundproofing, a host of new possibilities will be pursued. Remember, there are only two suites sitting open at the bottom of each tower. We expect not for long. We are seeking a mixture of concepts which might include a salon, deli, coffee shop, or neighborhood restaurant/tavern to help anchor what has already become one of Grand Rapids’ most established areas of town for all ages. We are looking for the right fit which offers a relaxing atmosphere, savory fare, and unique wine and beer selections where friends and family can gather, eat, drink, and be entertained.
The Oakwood Manor is located on the corner of Cherry and Union giving it an overall great location. With plenty of street parking you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a spot and is also within walking distance to downtown. Contact Chip (616.726.2701) or Shelby (616.726.2713) for a tour.
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