Investors purchase two historic Grand Rapids buildings, bring new office opportunities downtown

Deborah Johnson Wood

Two historic properties in the heart of Grand Rapids have new owners this week -- owners looking to update portions of the buildings and bring updated office space to Center City.

Sixty North Ventures, LLC purchased 87-89 Monroe Center NW and 139 Pearl NW, both on the National Register of Historic Places. The company principals, Matt Steigenga, Mike Peplowski and Jeff Baker hail from Lansing and Grand Rapids and have had their eyes on the properties after purchasing 80 Ottawa in 2009.

80 Ottawa (think Van Hoecks Shoes, Big O' Cafe) and 87-89 Monroe Center (think Grand Rapids Family Credit Union and the walkway to the Monroe Center Parking Ramp) used to be one four-story building. The two addresses still share a common façade.

"Moses Aldrich purchased the old St. Andrews church there in 1872 and built the building in 1874," Steigenga says. "The 87-89 Monroe Center portion has no vacancies. At 80 Ottawa, we did a lot of interior work to the common areas and leasing activity has been very good. In terms of total renovation, there are still 10,000 square feet to be leased, the entire second floor."

The Rood Building at 139 Pearl NW was built in 1873. Designed by Grand Rapids architect William G. Robinson, who designed many Grand Rapids buildings including The Voigt House, the building is home to Flanagan's Irish Pub.

The three upper floors have 12,000 square feet of office space Steigenga says, which is undergoing some interior demolition and cleanup.

"We're planning a renovation of the entrance off Pearl to the office space, new common spaces, new elevators, and we can build new tenant accommodations to their specifications to fit their needs," Steigenga says. "That's the beauty of it; it's sort of a blank canvas right now."

First Companies, owned by Jeff Baker, will handle the construction.

Source: Matt Steigenga, Sixty North Ventures, LLC; David Wiener, CB Richard Ellis;

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Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at Have a development news tip for Rapid Growth? Contact us at

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