Freyling Mendels, a name resurrected from the 1870’s landscaping business that stood on the property for nearly 85 years, is a mixed-use development in the Wealthy Theater Historic District of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Occupying the block between Freyling Place and Calkins Street, the restaurant, businesses, and living spaces at Freyling Mendels are a vibrant addition to the community. Freyling Mendels is a welcome change from the abandoned fast food restaurant, car wash, and other strip mall establishments that once occupied the site.
With broad reaching community engagement, the vision for the new development included re-establishing this significant site in its historic neighborhood and focus on creating a fresh, thoughtful, and sustainable mixed-use experience. Treated as two districts, the site’s south or commercial edge that runs along Wealthy is the retail/office/residential while the north portion serves the urban residential use.
The commercial L-shaped building turns the corner along Calkins and activates both the Wealthy Street frontage as well as a portion of Calkins. A cross street provides access to a parking lot as well as accommodates both pedestrian and vehicular movement between Calkins and Freyling and access to an alley. A predominately two-story building, with a setback third story, provides retail space at grade level, office space at the second level, and eight residential units on the third floor with roof garden patios.
The urban row house style of the Calkins district creates a transition from commercial to residential. With a mix of studio and two-bedroom units, the two buildings are set back providing parking spaces, front porches, and a sidewalk to promote pedestrian movement.
The three, two-story Freyling buildings, designed to match the historic houses in the area, have four single bedroom units with porches. A traditional alley between the buildings allows access to 56 parking spaces and interior garages for the residences as well as access to trash/recycling.