Construction for new downtown movie complex approved

Meghan McBrady

Headline: Construction for new downtown movie complex approved

Subhead: 616 Development and Loeks Theatres team up to bring Grand Rapids residents a nine-screen theater in 2017

By: Meghan McBrady

[email protected]

Watching any genre of film while eating handfuls of buttery popcorn, snuggling into soft seats and laughing or crying at the screen with friends in the comfort of one’s local cinema heightens the overall viewing experience.

On April 11, 616 Development LLC and Loeks Theatres Inc. announced they will be building a downtown Grand Rapids movie theater in order to provide an engaging movie-going experience. Expected to bring in over 200,000 people a year, Loeks Theatres conceptualized the idea of a movie theater back in spring of 2012. The $140 million Studio C! project recently gained approval from the Downtown Development Authority to start construction in early 2017. Monica Steimle, director of community relations for 616, said the company is looking forward to starting the project and to work with Loeks Theatres. 

“This project will make this area more residential,” Steimle said. “The project’s business plans (are) aligned with the city and its vision and working on an important project for everyone to collaborate on.” Broken up into two phases, the project is centered on the nine-screen movie theater.

The first phase of the project has $100 million going into constructing the movie theater, which will be built on two city-owned parking lots between Oakes and Cherry streets, just south of the Van Andel Arena. Besides the movie theater, the project will also feature a public plaza in front of the theater, ground-floor retail shops and a 900-space parking garage. Jeff Olsen, director of development for 616, said the first and second phase of the project will add a sense of vibrancy in the downtown Grand Rapids area.

“Now that we have cleared the first hurdle, that gives us the approval to complete our contingency plan, do some further evaluations, including technical evaluations,” he said. “By doing further programing and by continuing to our drawing and documentation of the site, we continue to uphold our goals for the projects and all the things that are part of the development agreement with the city.”

Liz Tusch, a GVSU alumni and a Grand Rapids citizen, said the development is great idea because downtown Grand Rapids is filled with bars and restaurants, but it needs something for minors or those who do not feel like going into the bars.

“The theater and retail shops will bring jobs to the community as well as tourists,” she said. “Art Prize, Beer City USA and Van Andel Arena bring people from all over to downtown and this project will be one more opportunity to get our name on the map.”

Emphasizing how this development will only allow the city to grow and provide more opportunities for growth and entertainment in the downtown area, while also aligning in a public and residential vision.

“This project will re-energize the main street of Grand Rapids and bring them from the suburb to the urban core,” Olsen said.

For more information about 616 and their past and present projects, visit