10 Years of City Building, Prepping for a World of Winter and Shopping Small

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) works with partners Downtown and throughout the community to create a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood for everyone to enjoy. This work is constant and ever evolving, and we’ve been at it for a while. In fact…DGRI turned 10 this year!

This milestone gave us a chance to look back on the work of the last decade and reflect on Downtown’s recovery from the pandemic.

Here are some notable stats over the last 10 years:

  • $2.5 billion worth of investment Downtown
  • 4,700 new residents
  • Over 1,000 new hotel rooms
  • Over 1.1 million square feet of new office space

And when compared to pre-pandemic times, there are some encouraging signs:

  • This summer there were over 6 million visits Downtown
    • This represents a 98% recovery from the summer of 2019
  • Over 40,000 employees are Downtown on average each day
    • This represents an 87% recovery when compared to pre-pandemic

The progress has continued throughout 2023. This year, 13 new storefront businesses have opened Downtown and there are 12 more on the way. This illustrates a healthy Downtown economic environment that continues to grow. In fact, this week and next Downtown will welcome Has Heart, a veteran-owned coffee shop, and Shinola! The growing diversity of Downtown retail offerings will continue to foster a vibrant Downtown neighborhood that truly offers something for everyone.

In addition to the success of Downtown businesses, we continue to activate our public spaces. As we look at the months ahead we’re excited to gear up for another World of Winter Festival, which we can now proudly say is the largest winter festival in the country with over 100 art installations, ice sculptures, events and more.

Aside from enjoying all the festival has to offer, businesses can participate by hosting an ice sculpture for the annual Valent-ICE event or by applying for a Window Activation Grant.

So…there’s good news all around and great things happening Downtown. If this good news inspires you to get Downtown and support the ever-growing local economy, we’d love to see you. Stop by DGRI at 29 Pearl St. NW to chat, or even better, be sure to come down on Saturday, November 25, for Small Business Saturday. What better way to celebrate Downtown’s success than keeping your dollars local and supporting the small business scene?

We hope to see you Downtown 😊

Follow @downtowngrinc on all the socials to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings

Thanks for reading,

Bill Kirk

Communications Director

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

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