December 18, 2009/The Grand Rapids Press
By Kym Reinstadler |
GRAND RAPIDS -- The Old Federal Building is on course for a new life after $10.6 million in tax credits approved by the Legislature late Thursday.
The credits provide a springboard for Ferris State University to raise an additional $20 million for an historic renovation of the 99-year-old building, 155 N. Division Ave.
The building will be used by Ferris' Kendall School of Art and Design, where enrollment has jumped 49 percent -- from 931 to 1,385 -- during the last five years.
"The upgraded building will extend the Kendall campus, relieve the city of upkeep costs and provide a space available for such events as the ArtPrize competition," Ferris President David Eisler said.
Fundraising will begin next month and work could begin as early as next summer, said Marc Sheehan, university spokesperson.
The renovation will be done by the Christman Company, which will own the title jointly with the city for the five years the tax credits will be in effect. Ferris will lease the building from Christman until the tax credits expire, then take full ownership.
Architectural plans are not finished, but many energy-efficient elements will be included, Sheehan said.
The third floor and basement of the structure -- seldom used by the Grand Rapids Art Museum because of the condition -- will be restored as classrooms, administrative offices and additional exhibition space.
The exterior of the building will remain largely unchanged with the exception of the wall facing Division Avenue, which was previously altered to include contemporary features like the loading dock, Sheehan said.
Cost of the renovation is expected to run $28 to $31 million, because the building needs a new roof, part of the foundation has shifted and new mechanical systems must be retrofitted, Sheehan said.
KCAD President Oliver Evans was not available for comment.
For article on MLive, http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2009/12/michigan_lawmakers_approve_106.html