GVSU Detroit Center

The Charter Schools Office often holds workshop, seminars, professional development, and other large gatherings in the GVSU Detroit Center. The building is located next to Comerica Park and the Detroit Athletic Club, and is the central hub to Grand Valley State University activity in Detroit. It also is used as the main support location for GVSU-authorized charter schools on the east side of the state.

The GVSU Detroit Center is also the home for College of Education courses as well as Hospitality and Tourism Management courses. The Center also holds two additional tenants - the Detroit Athletic Club and the Small Business Development Center - which both occupy offices on the second floor.

163 Madison St.                     
Detroit MI. 48226

Main Contact 
T: 616-331-9217 
F: 616-331-2085

General Hours of Operation
M-F 10:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. EST

Shortcuts to:   Vistor Parking   |  Request a Room  |   Additional Staff

About the Center

163 Madison has a rich history. The building was designed in 1907 by the Detroit architectural firm of Stratton & Baldwin as a Renaissance Revival building with Modernistic tendencies. 163 Madison is constructed of rusticated light gray masonry with brick upper floors. The heavy terra cotta molded frieze of the parapet wall is supported by four two-story pilasters and the building is topped by a double-arched cupola.

The original tenant was the Home Telephone Company of Detroit. C.H. Ledlie, one of the most prominent consulting telephone engineers in the country, designed and built the spaces and installations necessary for the companies 12,500 subscribers. In 1909,the Home Telephone Company of Detroit became the Home Telephone Company of Michigan, and In 1912 the company was sold to a rival firm, the Michigan State Telephone Company.

In 1923, 163 Madison was sold to Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company and in 1935 became the home office of Michigan Mutual Liability Company. In 1951, it was purchased as the headquarters of the Jewish Welfare Federation of Detroit. The building was dedicated in memory of Fred M. Butzel, a founder of - and major contributor to -the Jewish Welfare Federation of Detroit.

For the next four decades, the Fred M. Butzel Memorial Building housed more than a dozen Jewish community organizations. In 2000, the building was purchased by Don H. Barden, who built the Barden Companies into one of the nation's largest African-American owned businesses through the introduction of cable television into Detroit and investment in casinos. A philanthropist and community leader, Mr. Barden was instrumental in organizing a series of regional economic peace conferences to address Detroit's crime problem, national reputation, and need for economic development.

The Barden building was purchased by Grand Valley State University in 2012. The Grand Valley State University Detroit Center will serve as a central meeting place for university professionals conducting business in Southeast Michigan.

Liz Russell

Meet the GVSU Detroit Center Coordinator

Liz Russell, the Detroit Center Coordinator, provides assistance for the GVSU Charter Schools Office and other GVSU departments that look to utilize the GVSU Detroit Center. She helps schedule and set-up professional development sessions for the GVSU CSO, connects with local Detroit businesses to provide unique catering options in the building, and provides building tours to guests. 

Prior to joining the GVSU Charter Schools Office, Liz graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a B.S. in Communication and Psychology, and became passionate in education and serving young students after she served as a classroom (substitute) teacher for over three years. Today Liz is pursuing her graduate degree in Communications and enjoys writing, spending time with friends & family and watching action movies.

Groups who are interested in scheduling a visit or using the resources in GVSU Detroit Center can call Liz at (616) 331-9217

Detroit Center Visitor Parking

GVSU has not yet secured university parking in downtown Detroit, however, you may park in Lot W adjacent to the Detroit Center with an entrance on Witherell Street. The cost to park in the lot varies depending on the time of day and if any city events are occurring (sporting events, concerts, opera, etc.). If there are no downtown events scheduled, the lot costs $5 before 3 p.m. and a minimum of $6 after 3 p.m. This is a cash only lot.  There are also many other lots and street parking available within a short walking distance of the GVSU Detroit Center.

For any questions about parking, please call Liz Russell at (616) 331-9217

For driving directions, use the Google Maps link below.
Google Maps to Detroit Center

GVSU Detroit Center arial photo

Request a Room

If you are looking to request a room and are affiliated with a GVSU-authorized charter school or the GVSU Charter Schools Office, please contact Liz Russell. All other GVSU departments or non-GVSU groups are asked to contact Kathleen Wright.

Liz Russell
Detroit Center Coordinator
(616) 331-9217

Kathleen Wright
Asst. Director of Conference Planning  
(616) 331-6798 

Room Options
Below are the rooms you are able to request in the GVSU Detroit Center:

Room #        Capacity      Room Type
101                 22            Computer Lab
102                 34            Classroom
103/104          80            Seminar
108                 12            Conference
115                 34            Classroom
205                 8              Conference 
254                 12            Conference 

Computer Lab

Computer Lab

Seminar Room

Seminar Room



Additional Staff

The GVSU Pew Campus & Regional Center Operations Department plays a large role at the GVSU Detroit Center. They are responsible for building maintenance and office space rental/lease inquiries. For more information or questions regarding those topics, please contact the following Building Managers:

Bill Lucksted
Assistant Director of Operations
(616) 331-5809

Lisa Haynes
Associate Vice President of Pew Campus Operations
(616) 331-6700

Department Main Office
351 Bicycle Factory Bldg 
Phone: 616-331-6700 
Fax: 616-331-7289 


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Page last modified April 11, 2016