Don Shoemaker, managing partner at Franklin Partners
, says the firm found the seven-acre, 375,000-square-foot building at 1340 Monroe Avenue NW the same way most of us find anything in 2014 – a Google search.
"We actually found that building looking on Google at downtown Grand Rapids, thinking, where is a big enough site with a big enough building that we could do something that would really be a draw, where we could really create this whole environment within the site, and that's how our conversation started," says Shoemaker.
Alongside Concept Desig
n, Franklin Partners toured other buildings in Chicago – more high-tech-focused spaces typically seen in bigger cities like New York and San Francisco – to get ideas for the new space, and although plans aren't finalized enough to release publically, he says the new space at 1340 Monroe Avenue NW will be modeled after those kinds of contemporary, high-tech spaces.
Shoemaker says right now, Franklin Partners is reaching out to a couple of different local groups and a couple of places not currently in the Grand Rapids market to gauge interest in late December or early next year before making any final decisions on how the space will be used.
"Depending on how much interest we get in that direction, we'll kind of decide whether we'll go with a commercial office use or whether we'll go with a residential use, but it's unlikely we'll go with a mixed-use," he says.
What he does know is that 75,000 square feet of the building will be demolished to make room for the high-end amenities Franklin Partners has earned its reputation by, leaving 300,000 square-feet of the five-story building left for redevelopment.
"Really, the thing that we've done with 99 Monroe and we're doing with 25 Ottawa…all of them have the similarity that we build high-end amenities. We have good food service options; we have nice, high-quality fitness centers and conference spaces," Shoemaker says. "We really like to study what the amenity packages are that we can bring to buildings."
Shoemaker says the group hopes to have plans finalized by the first quarter of 2015, start redevelopment by the second quarter of 2015 and have the space ready for use by early 2016.
Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Franklin Partners, LLC