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415 Franklin Project

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Project Beginnings


415 Franklin Chapel entry (on Madison Ave.)

The 415 Project arose from Madison Church: Ford Campus’s need to find a permanent home in the community, and from Ed DeVries’ vision to see 415 Franklin St SE redeveloped as a Christ-centered building and resource for the community. The Ford Campus has been worshiping and growing in the Ford Academic Center since 2008. After nine years of growth, we are ready to permanently root ourselves in the community.

In 2014 a worship space task force identified 415 Franklin as the best option to remain in the place our Church is called to – the Madison/Franklin neighborhood. In February 2015, DeVries Companies gifted the building and the associated parking lot to us, entrusting us to organize a coalition to redevelop the property to honor God and invest in the community



With input from local stakeholders and community residents we desire to assemble a variety of partnerships to develop the building into a place of systemic change, where God’s redemptive work takes place. We want to create a God-glorifying space where ideas and relationships are cultivated, and organizations work together to empower individuals.

We hope to shift the paradigm from ministering to a city to ministering with a city and our neighbors.  We know that God is working in our city and many of his people already live and work right in the Madison/Franklin corridor. We wish to collaborate respectfully with them rather than define the needs and design a program for them.



After diligently exploring many potential partnerships, two exciting opportunities solidified in the recent months. We are looking forward to providing access to 415 Franklin to Site-Lab for the next two Art Prize seasons and to working with the Inner City Christian Federation on long-term development plans for the building.

Site-Lab (website)

Madison Church: Ford Campus is excited to partner with Site-lab and provide space for smaller scale exhibits and events during Art Prize 2017 and for 415 Franklin to be an official Art Prize Venue in 2018.

Site-lab has a history of enriching the Grand Rapids Community through installation based art in underutilized buildings. Madison Church: Ford Campus has been seeking opportunities for the building be used in a way that enriches the community and allowing a local nonprofit arts organization the opportunity to artistically explore and express the character and history of the building while also highlighting Michigan’s historical and present racial context was in line with our vision. While we are two very different organizations with differences in values and goals we saw a collaborative opportunity to enrich the Grand Rapids community. At the outset our organizations agreed that we would trust one another to honor each other’s values as we worked together.

ICCF (website)

After exploring many development possibilities including a variety of housing opportunities, educational uses, and nonprofit uses, we decided that providing affordable housing at 415 Franklin best fit our vision of meeting a felt need the Grand Rapids community. Housing is in short supply in both the rental and ownership markets in Grand Rapids and housing costs are rising. As we see renewed interest in urban living, we want to ensure that Grand Rapids continues to be a diverse city both culturally and socio-economically.

We spoke with many housing developers; local, national, nonprofit, and for profit. We created a request for proposal based on our values and vision. We chose not to send out the RFP because it was important for us to work with a trusted partner committed to South East Grand Rapids. Therefore, we selected ICCF as our development partner based on its reputation of providing quality affordable housing, its longstanding history in South East Grand Rapids, and its complimentary values and mission.

We have signed an option contract with ICCF and look forward to working with ICCF on the development plans for 415 Franklin and 349 Franklin.

Working Concepts

courtesy of Copper Fox Visuals LLC.

Working Concept of Sanctuary Entryway. Image courtesy of Copper Fox Visuals LLC

Working Concept of Sanctuary Interior. Image courtesy of Copper Fox Visuals LLC

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