One challenge in the residential market is attracting residents and buyers to properties. In a city that’s growing as quickly as Grand Rapids is, city real estate has become both in demand and competitive. In order to attract residents and buyers, residential areas need to be desirable. This includes location, accessibility and, of course, look and feel.

The Morton on Grand Rapids’ Monroe Center is a recent project that is combining accessibility, location and modernity to the downtown residential landscape. The building once housed the Morton Hotel, which was built in the late 1800s. Rockford Construction began renovations in 2012 to create 99 apartments and a limited number of condominiums.

The project is a great example of highlighting Grand Rapids’ history, while also addressing the city’s needs as its demand for downtown housing grows. The building is right in the heart of the city and gives its residents access to all of downtown’s entertainment and amenities. The location of the Morton is a premium feature of the building in terms of convenience. Residents in this type of setting “rent the neighborhood” as much as their unit. They want convenience and access to the best of urban living; the city is their living room. In order to complement this kind of living, URBANEER™ was called in to furnish The Morton’s units.

Our involvement with The Morton was born from the partnership with Rockford Construction. The Morton and Rockford turned to URBANEER to create the semi-furnished Studio+ units, and the project eventually grew to include URBANEER™-designed storage systems for all 99 units. The goal was to furnish these spaces with flexible, adaptable elements in order to transform spaces for different uses. A well-known example of this is the murphy bed, which allow residents to “put away” their bedroom in the event that a guest should visit or when they want more floor space.

The size of each space varied within The Morton. We worked on furnishing a 500-square-foot studio, all the way up to a 1,200-square-foot unit and everything in between. The challenge, however, was working within the already-established space. Given that it was an existing building with a rich history, we had to work within the floor plan that was determined by the existing footprint and windows of the building. The design scheme called for a modern look and feel, which fit well with URBANEER’s™ product line. The building features classic architecture on the exterior and sleek interior design, so combining the two was naturally a good balance.

The Morton is a project that showcases our residential products and innovative design in modern, space-conscious dwellings. Our adaptable pieces make it easy for residents to live functionally in locations that only lend a certain amount of space per apartment and/or condo. The greatest testament to this is the waiting list for The Morton, which continues to grow.


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