Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Built in late 1922, The Morton was the last pre-depression hotel constructed in Grand Rapids. The 13-story brick clad building was also home to the original offices for Old Kent Bank. Over the decades, it evolved from its elite beginnings hosting VIP guests such as President William McKinley to Section 8 Apartments with dreary commercial storefronts. Today’s renovation creates nearly 100 market-rate apartments and high end condominiums. The top-to-bottom transformation consists of residential and commercial space as well as the addition of a 14th floor of glass and metal enclosed “follies” which vertically extend the condominiums to create two-story penthouses. Holabird & Roche’s pen-and-ink drawn plans inspired the renovation efforts. Using modern materials and contemporary forms, architects emulated their proportion and form to the extent that the canopies’ original anchor points were able to be re-used. Floors four through eleven were gutted, replacing the double loaded hotel room corridor with a single corridor apartment layout. The building’s unique shape resulted in 12 unique apartment floor plans on each floor. Riveted steel columns were exposed juxtaposing the building’s history with the modern interior finishes. The addition of an internal rooftop patio provides residents a social amenity with access to BBQ grills and recreation space. Similarly, condominium owners share a common outdoor kitchen, living and dining room13 stories above the street. The building’s exterior was maintained with the exception of an expansive gesture of a two-story rectangular glass box housing a penthouse condominium’s interior staircase. Likewise window openings were retained except for increasing the height on the 13th floor by two feet. After more than 90 years, the Morton can once again lay claim as THE place to live in downtown Grand Rapids.