Medical Mile: Transforming a city 

The Medical Mile

The Medical Mile (image courtesy CC BY-SA 4.0)

The burgeoning healthcare and life sciences corridor in Grand Rapids was initially dubbed the Michigan Street corridor. But in 2019, the city gave the stretch between Monroe and College avenues the commemorative designation of “Medical Mile.”

And it deserves that designation: Over the last decade, medical and education institutions have invested more than $1 billion into Medical Mile, turning it into a world-class healthcare destination. In addition to many hospitals and research centers, Medical Mile is also home to educational institutions dedicated to medical science, such as Michigan State University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, and Grand Valley State University.

The thousands of people working in healthcare in Grand Rapids are part of the economic and technological transformation of the city. In a stroll down the street, you will encounter medical students, medical residents, pharmacy and allied health professionals, and even art and design students who are creating 3D medical modeling tools.

The corridor began in 1996 with the founding of Van Andel Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit biomedical research and science education organization that studies diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. That jumpstarted a multi-million dollar investment in the area.

Spectrum Health made a $85 million commitment to bring the new Michigan State College of Human Medicine to Grand Rapids. From there, the area rapidly grew, drawing medical professionals from around the world.

MSU is currently expanding its presence in the area. By this Fall, they expect to complete construction on the $85 million, six-story, 200,000-square-foot Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building.

Jeremiah Gracia, the Economic Development Director for the city of Gran Rapids, said, “The development of the Medical Mile over the last 20 years has made Grand Rapids a renowned healthcare destination. The clinical, research, and academic institutions that line the Medical Mile attract medical professionals and businesses from around the globe. This has contributed to West Michigan securing the highest concentration of medical device manufacturers in the state.”