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GRAND RAPIDS, MI-Though Downtown Grand Rapids has been through a decline during the latter part of the 20th century, programs such as the Michigan Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Heartside Main Street Initiative were put into place to help spur development of Downtown.

Armed with tax breaks and financing including a $250,000 operating grant and a $750,000 line of credit for pre-development projects from the LISC, as well as assistance from private partnerships, the Main Street Initiative has backed a variety of development programs.

One just-completed program, the $10.5-million Martineau Project, has created retail and residential space in four previously abandoned buildings. Other Main Street developments include the Kelsey project, which recently broke ground, creating residential units measuring between 1,000 sf and 1,700 sf.

Additionally, the $16-million Verne Barry Place redevelopment will begin in early 2006. This project involves moving the status of three small transient hotels into that of a mixed-use, quality residential property, with retail and commercial space to occupy the first floors. Officials with the project, in a released statement, note that the project will expand existing apartments for current occupants, while moving remaining residents to a newly developed location.

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