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Grand Rapids' $30M Downtown Market signs first two tenants on its way to summer 2013 opening

The vetting process and the taste testing are complete and the Downtown Market's first two businesses to sign on the dotted line are Simpatico Coffee and Love's Ice Cream.
 
The two companies will fill two of the 24 indoor vendor stalls in the $30 million Downtown Market's (435 Ionia Ave. SW) 138,000 square feet, which will include two restaurants, a microbrewery, artisan foods, locally grown fresh produce, a greenhouse, an incubator kitchen for small cuisine-based businesses, a children's kitchen, and more. Construction on the market continues in anticipation of its opening this spring and summer.
 
Holland-based Simpatico Coffee, owned by Alex Fink, will offer fair-trade and sustainably roasted coffees from small farms in the Oaxaca, Mexico region. Love's Ice Cream is a handcrafted boutique ice cream maker owned by Chris McKellar, founder of Grand Rapids Cooking School, and will pasteurize its locally produced milk and cream onsite.
 
"It's not as simple as 'we want to rent your space' and then we say okay," says Downtown Market President and CEO Mimi Fritz. "We want to be sure we have the right mix for the people of Grand Rapids and for the other vendors. For example, Alex can use Chris's freshly pasteurized milk and cream at the coffee shop, and Chris can use Simpatico's coffee in Love's Ice Cream."
 
The indoor market will open this summer, Fritz says. The goal is to have all 24 vendors in place by the time construction is done. Buildouts of the restaurants and brewery will take longer. The outdoor farmers market area with its 87 stalls opens May 4. The market will be open seven days a week.
 
"The impact of the market hits Grand Rapids many different ways," Fritz says. "It's in a food desert and low-income area, so we'll work with social service agencies in Heartside for partnerships. It's creating jobs and spurring future growth, and the attraction of an entity like this in Grand Rapids is significant -- there aren't other markets like ours; no market has the greenhouse, incubator kitchen, kids' kitchen, and microbrewery all together in one space. It's going to be amazing."
 
Source: Mimi Fritz, Downtown Market
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Vacant Grand Haven strip mall soon to be healthcare haven of services

The North Ottawa Community Health System (NOCHS) is in the process of transforming a former strip shopping mall it owns in Grand Haven into a haven of healthcare services.
 
The mall (Taylor Avenue and Beacon Boulevard/US-31) has some 19,000 square feet of vacant space which will soon be home to four of NOCHS' programs: Home Care Equipment, Home Care Nursing, Community Education, and Hospice Nursing. These programs will move from three different locations across the community in April.
 
Two existing healthcare offices act as bookends to the vacant spaces and will provide opportunities for healthcare partnerships: NOCHS' Urgent Care Center and Four Pointes, formerly the North Ottawa Area Council on Aging.
 
Home Care Equipment will feature a 2,000-square-foot showroom of medical equipment, including wheelchairs, hospital beds, lift chairs, and more.
 
"The showroom will be very hands-on," says Dan Holwerda, COO of Extended Care Services for NOCHS. "If you have a sleep disorder and need to try a CPAP mask, you can. You can also go to a room and lay down on one of our beds to see how the mask works for you."
 
The Community Education space includes a classroom where NOCHS will hold information sessions on healthcare.
 
Relocating Community Education and Home Care Equipment from the NOCHS hospital building will free up space needed for NOCHS to expand its primary care offices.
 
"When we think about healthcare, we think we have to go to a physician's office or to the hospital," Holwerda says. "We're trying to establish in the community's mind that it's easy to get services or to shop for equipment. We want people to feel comfortable driving there and walking in as if they're walking into the mall. They don't have to go the hospital; they have easy access and easy parking right outside the door."
 
Source: Dan Holwerda, North Ottawa Community Health System
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Could Grand Rapids' desolate State St. SE become a new kind of economic hub?

Grand Rapids' State St. SE has a dubious history: it's one of the city's oldest streets, its poor condition garnered it attention by the Sustainable Streets Task Force as one of the city's worst, and, right now at least, it's plenty desolate because of its huge expanses of surface parking lots.

But three Grand Rapids' visionaries -- Joshua Leffingwell, Lynee Wells, and Tyler Doornbos -- hope to change all of that by working with the Heritage Hill Neighborhood Association, the Downtown Development Authority, and anyone else who has a good idea to create a two-day showcase of economic innovation -- an urban laboratory of possibilities.

On May 18 and 19, the same days as the Heritage Hill Weekend Tour of Homes, all three blocks of State St. NW could be bustling with pop-up shops, food trucks, outdoor retail, Hollywood-set style backdrops, and parklets -- parking spaces transformed by local groups into temporary parks.

Leffingwell is quick to point out that this event is not a fair or an outdoor festival.

"One of the things we're most excited about is that we'll be keeping the street totally open," Leffingwell says. "We want people to experience what it would be like to have the food trucks in a parking lot, to have outdoor retailing. Kris Larson of the Downtown Development Authority told us to think of it as an urban laboratory where the neighborhood can experiment with some things the city hasn't been comfortable with, like food trucks and outdoor retailing."

Another thing Leffingwell says is top of mind is working from Heritage Hill's Area Specific Plan to create a business district opportunity within the neighborhood.

The idea grew from the national program Build a Better Block, and has received a $15,000 boost from the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority and $10,000 from Williams & Works.

Leffingwell says the group welcomes any and all ideas from anyone in the city, and seeks to involve interested retailers, food truck owners, and artists.

For more information or to get involved, visit facebook.com/betterblockgr, www.betterblockgr.com, or email info@betterblockgr.com.

Source: Joshua Leffingwell, Restate: Build A Better Block
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

A new ballroom, refurbished apartments, and now a facelift for Grand Rapids McKay Tower

When one of downtown Grand Rapids' most prominent buildings changed hands in May 2012, the new owners decided it was time to bring the grand lady into the 21st century by honoring her architectural history.

McKay Tower, with frontage on Pearl St. NW, Monroe Avenue NW, and Monroe Center NW, one of the city's busiest corners, started out in 1914 as a two-story structure. The building grew by two stories in the mid 1920s to make space for the Grand Rapids National Bank, and shortly thereafter, construction of the main tower brought McKay Tower to 17 stories.

On the second floor, a marble-clad former bank lobby with soaring ceilings is in the midst of a transformation into a majestic event space. On the 15th floor, three luxury apartments overlooking the city below will soon be completed and available for short- and long-term leases.

And now, owners Steadfast Property Holdings, LLC, are planning a small facelift that will preserve the striking terra cotta around the fourth floor for generations to come. Passersby will see scaffolding and covered entries to the main level retail shops in place soon.

"There's a ledge around the fourth floor where water is more likely to pool and the steel joints under the terra cotta are rusted out," says Director of Operations Chaundra Derks. "The steel is the support structure for the terra cotta, so the terra cotta has to be removed and the joints cleaned and redone to keep the terra cotta from falling."

Derks says the repairs will be finished in time for the busy ArtPrize season, and all of the building's tenants, including the retail shops, will be open as usual during construction.

"We want to bring the building back to what it used to be," Derks says. "We want people to be proud that so much care and attention went into making the building an important part of Grand Rapids."

Source: Chaundra Derks, Steadfast Property Holdings, LLC; Craig Clark, Clark Communications
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Netvantage Marketing touts Grand Rapids as a city where technology businesses can thrive

A year after opening its Grand Rapids office, East Lansing-based Netvantage Marketing has leased additional office space and brought on two full-time employees in Grand Rapids Tech Hub, an office community created specifically for technology and design entrepreneurs above San Chez A Tapas Bistro (38 W. Fulton St.).  

Netvantage Marketing is not a web development company, but works with individual clients and outside web developers to market websites through search engines, using search engine optimization (SEO). Adam Henige, a co-owner with Joe Ford, says Netvantage Marketing provides the expertise to get websites higher rankings in Google searches, making them easier for new and existing customers to find.

"We've just come off our best January ever in the history of the company (founded 2008)," Henige says. "A lot of business development meetings are coming up because a lot of web developers need our expertise added to theirs, and we need their web development added to our expertise. It's the number one reason we've had a very, very busy 2013 so far."

The Grand Rapids location began with just one 200-square-foot office in the Grand Rapids Tech Hub, Henige says, but has doubled in size to accommodate two employees who relocated from East Lansing. Although the company operates from minimal square footage, Henige says the Tech Hub includes plenty of conference room and space to meet with clients when needed, and an energetic atmosphere.

"This is an exciting spot to be in," Henige says, "because everyone up here is a young company and very techie."

Source: Adam Henige, Netvantage Marketing
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Cascade's Windsor Cottage sets up second shop next to Brewery Vivant in East Hills shopping district

The quaint century-old cottage that has been Windsor Cottage (2899 Thornapple River Dr. SE, Grand Rapids) for the past 26 years overflows with gently-used luxury furniture. That fact, and a booming global Internet business, inspired owner Rick Santamaria to open a second location in a historic English Tudor mansion between Brewery Vivant and Maru Sushi & Grill.

The mansion (923 Cherry St. SE) was built originally as a funeral home and is part of a project by Grand Rapids-based Locus Development to revitalize the mansion, a chapel and carriage house next door (Brewery Vivant), and to add new construction (Maru Sushi).

"We don't photograph furniture or put anything on the website until it's in our store," Santamaria says. "We now have furniture waiting to get into the Cascade store because we don't have room. Our Cascade location is a destination; we've never had one person ever who was walking by and stopped in. The Cherry Street shop will generate walk-in traffic; people will shop while waiting for a brunch table."

Santamaria says the new 4,300-square-foot shop will add a new twist to his signature high-end consignment furniture offerings: plenty of space to feature Pillows By Dezign, locally made designer pillows designed by Marian Silverman, owner of The Home Studio (6744 Cascade Rd. SE).

The partnership with Windsor Cottage provides an opportunity for Pillows By Dezign to expand its product offerings and reach new customers, says company co-owner Brian Manley.

"We'll offer many of the same throw pillows we offer at The Home Studio, made from the same types of designer fabrics. We'll also offer more solids and more traditional patterns to complement the furnishings in Windsor Cottage," Manley says.

Santamaria says the renovation of the building has uncovered the original circa 1930 mosaic tile floor, original hardwood floors, and a stained glass window in the vestibule. Outdated lighting fixtures have been replaced with chandeliers.

Windsor Cottage opens at 10 a.m. on April 15.

Hours: Mon. - Thurs., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Source: Rick Santamaria, Windsor Cottage; Brian Manley, Pillows By Dezign
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Lifestyle Kitchen Studio, longtime East Grand Rapids design shop, relocates to historic home

The opportunity to purchase a historic 1847 home in Heritage Hill and restore it for your growing kitchen design business comes along once every 25 years, says Susan Bloss.

That's how long Bloss and her daughter, Holly Marie Peterson, have owned Lifestyle Kitchen Studio, formerly in East Grand Rapids. The duo bought a historic home at 222 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, which had been renovated decades ago for an ear, nose, and throat medical practice.

The studio moved in last week, an expansion that takes the business from 2,000 square feet to about 7,000, Bloss says. That allows plenty of room for showrooms that include several full kitchens, two working kitchens that can be used for cooking demonstrations and civic events, a laundry room/craft room showroom, and a mudroom display.

"There was a perception when we were in East Grand Rapids that we only work with high-end homes," Bloss says. "We love to do those homes, but we like to work with everyone else as well. We've structured our business to have a variety of price levels to fit a variety of budgets."

One area of focus is to make the entire studio accessible to persons with disabilities, Bloss says. She was paralyzed after contracting a mosquito-borne disease similar to West Nile Virus and gets around by way of a scooter or a walker. She also has a special needs daughter who is confined to a wheelchair.

"Everywhere in our showroom will be accessible," says Bloss. Both she and Peterson are Certified Aging-In-Place Specialists. "There won't be pinch points for someone with a wheelchair, scooter, or a walker."

The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority recently approved $61,600 in matching Building Reuse Incentive Program grant monies for the renovation.

Bloss says the building's basement level will be available for lease for a complimentary retail business. The second level is available as leasable office space.

Hours: Mon. - Fri. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m. to noon; also open by appointment.

Source: Susan Bloss, Lifestyle Kitchen Studio
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Rockford resale shop goes mobile, takes boys' and girls' fashions on the road in West Michigan

The high overhead of a brick-and-mortar shop had gotten too high, so Cindy Palmreuter closed up her store, Double Take Resale, and will take it on the road in true gypsy style this summer.

Palmreuter bought a U-Haul truck and converted it to a mobile shop that offers boys' and girls' fashions, shoes, and accessories for pre-teens, teens, and young adults.

"If you're not making sales, why just sit there waiting for your customers?" Palmreuter says. "Why not go to where your customers are? Put calendars out there on your website, Twitter, and Facebook. Customers can see where the truck will be that day or the next week. It's exciting."

Double Take Resale joins a growing trend for pop-up shops and mobile retail, according to a new organization, The American Mobile Retail Association.

While Palmreuter hasn't applied for temporary sales licenses in any cities yet, she is busy researching the mobile retail movement, determining the requirements in different areas, and getting her truck outfitted and stocked. She hopes to inspire likeminded entrepreneurs to work together and set up mobile shopping centers around the region as a means of using and revitalizing vacant commercial properties.

Her research centers on small West Michigan cities from Dorr to Big Rapids, including Rockford, Cedar Springs, and Fremont.

Palmreuter also plans to take her truck to the people who have clothes to sell her, instead of making people come to her shop. She'll go to their homes by appointment and on their schedules.

You can follow Double Take Resale's progress and sales calendar on the web here or on Facebook here.

Source: Cindy Palmreuter, Double Take Resale
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Downtown Holland's New Holland Brewing pub plans $1M expansion in time for Tulip Time

New Holland Brewing plans to invest $1 million to enhance the interior of its downtown Holland pub house (66 E. 8th St.) and create a 3,000-square-foot beer garden. Work has begun on the indoor upgrades while the last details of the beer garden are ironed out with the Holland Planning Commission.

Interior renovations of two new family bathrooms, an expanded back bar area, and a larger kitchen will add behind-the-scenes conveniences for customers. But perhaps the two most anticipated amenities that will create the most impact on customers are increasing the number of beer taps from 28 to 42 and expanding a small rear patio from 40 seats to a 100-seat beer garden.

"My guess is we'll have 20 to 25 beers on tap most of the time, and some of our best sellers will have double taps," says Director of Chaos Dave White (VP of restaurant operations). "We have a small patio and seven designated parking spots adjacent to that, so we'll remove those parking spots and extend the patio to allow for a covered bar and a covered music area. We have live music outside on Fridays, and it's fun to sit outside and listen to music with the grill going. It smells great."

White says a six-foot-high concrete and metal decorative wall will surround the beer garden. It will feature artistic impressions embedded into the concrete. The landscaping will include an array of hops to add ambience to the space.

New Holland Brewing sells only its own craft beers, brewed onsite and at its offsite distillery and bottling plant at 690 Commerce Ct., and offers a variety of its own spirits, including rums, whiskeys, and gins.

White says the indoor renovations will be done by March; the beer garden should be completed by May 1, in time for Tulip Time. New Holland Brewing will remain open during renovations.

Hours: seven days: 11 a.m. to midnight Mon. - Thurs.; Fri., Sat., Sun. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Source: Dave White, New Holland Brewing
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Grand Rapids Public Museum lands hard-to-get $30,000 Michigan Council for Arts grant

The Grand Rapids Public Museum has received a highly competitive $30,000 grant for operations costs, awarded by the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The museum was one of nearly 300 applicants and received the money based on a peer review by in-state and out-of-state arts and cultural professionals.

Grants for operations are fundamental in allowing organizations to keep the lights on and the doors open, yet they are few in number and rife with deserving competitors, says Kate Moore, director of marketing and public relations for the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

"In the museum world, general operating dollars are hard to get so the competition is stiff," Moore says. "The museum relies on grants like this, our admission fees, private donations, memberships, and fundraising campaigns to operate. We have 100,000 to 200,000 people a year coming through the doors. Grants like this ensure, in part, that ongoing programming, like keeping the carousel going, still happens and creates a unique experience."

Moore says the museum has only about 10 percent of its collections on display at any time, plus features special national and international exhibitions each year, including Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, which runs through July 7.

Source: Kate Moore, Grand Rapids Public Museum
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

The BOB to break ground on $5M biergarten, outdoor festival marketplace, concert venue

After over a decade of planning and negotiations, owners of The BOB (Big Old Building) in downtown Grand Rapids will break ground on a $5 million outdoor festival marketplace, biergarten, and entertainment venue. The expansion encompasses what's now a parking lot to the north and east of The BOB (20 Monroe Ave. NW) and will transform it into a 40,000-square-foot European-style piazza with a 22,000-square-foot, two-story entertainment venue.

Greg Gilmore, managing partner for The Gilmore Collection which owns The BOB, says phase one involves renovating the former Gilly's restaurant in the existing building and opening it to the adjacent outdoor piazza. The new restaurant, with a new menu that includes craft beers, oysters and shared plates, will open July 1.

After ArtPrize 2013, Gilmore plans to break ground on the rest of the project, which will provide a park-like gathering space in the center of the city with walkways, streams, and a small pine forest.

"My goal is to create a place for the community to gather," Gilmore says. "We want to create that third place to come and hang out, sit at a picnic table next to a fire pit, and work on their homework or read a newspaper."

Gilmore plans to feature The BOB's microbrews in the biergarten -- a microbrewery that he says is past time to promote.

"Sixteen years ago, I buried it in the basement (of The BOB) because I didn't think the stainless tanks were very attractive, and for 16 years, people have been saying 'you have a brewery?'" he says with a chuckle.  

The entertainment venue will seat up to 1,500 for mid-sized concerts, drive-in movies for bikes and skateboards, and other events. Huge exterior doors will open the venue to the piazza for crowds to flow through during large events like ArtPrize.

Marketplace kiosks will be available for lease to entrepreneurs as a type of business incubator where they can sell their goods or foods.

The entire project will be complete by June 1, 2014.

Source: Greg Gilmore, The Gilmore Collection; Chris Knape, SeyferthPR
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Welcome Home executive relocation services leaves no bed unturned for West Michigan newcomers

Grand Rapids businesswoman Shirley Hubers says the idea for Welcome Home executive relocation services "just came to me" one day, just three months after retiring from Hubers & Associates, a marketing and communications firm she owned for 25 years.

Welcome Home offers a comprehensive list of relocation services, from cleaning the new home before the move, unpacking all boxes, and putting everything away, to making the beds and waiting for the cable company.

"Welcome Home offers a new service not offered anywhere," Hubers says. "It's for new executive hires that have to move to the community from an outlying area, like Boston, for instance. All they have to do is unlock the door and they are home. It is live-in ready."

Hubers says the service is a perk that corporations, executive search firms, and real estate companies offer potential newcomers to clinch the decision to relocate their entire family and the household that comes with it.

In addition to overseeing the move, Welcome Home provides neighborhood maps that help newcomers find grocery stores, worship centers, salons and barbershops, pharmacies, doctors, dentists, parks, schools, and other services new families need. They will also pair the accompanying spouse or significant other with a member of the community who has similar interests.

And yes, Welcome Home even does windows.

"We clean the residence from top to bottom, including the basement and garage. We wash windows inside and out, we mow the lawn or shovel the snow, and even supervise home repairs identified by the new owners or the realtor," Hubers says. "We make sure the washer and dryer are connected, and we stock groceries for the first breakfast and dinner."

Hubers says that besides handling the move in, Welcome Home will handle the move out for an additional cost. The service could include hiring a mover and cleaning the house after it's empty.

Source: Shirley Hubers, Welcome Home
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Michigan Energy Future to hold public input meetings, gather ideas in Grand Rapids

If you want Michigan's state government to hear your ideas on the state's energy future, you'll want to mark your calendar for Feb. 25, 2013. That's when Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman John D. Quackenbush and Michigan Energy Office Director Steve Bakkal will host a public forum at Grand Valley State University's Loosemore Auditorium (401 W. Fulton St.).

"The goal is to get both industry and the public involved," says Bakkal. "We'll devote the first hour to hear from utility companies, various interest groups, businesses, and alternative energy group to help the public understand the topics. We will gather feedback and information and release a report at the end of the year on where we are today and how we compare to other states."

Bakkal says the report will be used to guide policymakers on future energy decisions, rather than waiting until the decisions need to be made. He adds that Governor Rick Snyder announced the forums in his message on energy and the environment.

In conjunction with the announcement of the forums, a new website, Michigan.gov/energy, is open until April 25 for comments and ideas from Michigan residents and business owners.

"The website poses questions that we would like help answering," Bakkal says. "Some have quick answers and others require more analysis. There's a lot of background information needed to make an informed decision on policy."

Bakkal says the public forums will be recorded and made available on YouTube following the sessions.

The Grand Rapids session is 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 25, Loosemore Auditorium, 401 W. Fulton St. To find other meeting locations, click here.

Source: Steve Bakkal, Michigan Energy Office
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Ohio real estate developer plans $13M apartment project on Grand Rapids' west riverbank

A former Ryder Truck maintenance and storage facility on the west riverbank of the Grand River is a prime location for 93 affordable- and market-rate apartments in Grand Rapids.

Woda Group, a multi-family housing developer based in Westerville, OH, received Grand Rapids Planning Commission approval to move forward on GrandView Place on the corner of Front St. NW and Tenth St. NW.

The development will be Enterprise Green Communities certified and could bring 20 waterfront townhouses to the west side, along with another 60 apartments, which will be mostly waterfront, and 13 townhouses along Front St. NW.

"Part of the reason to come to Grand Rapids is because Grand Rapids is a city on the move with a significant investment in jobs and development," says VP of Development P. Craig Patterson. Patterson lived in the area for 22 years before relocating to Ohio to be closer to the company.

About 75 percent of the units will have water views, Patterson says. Plus, 25 feet of river frontage is set aside for a walking/biking path that will connect to a path proposed by the city, park benches, and natural gardens.

"We are setting aside 24 of our family units to take care of the needs of homeless and disabled veterans, which is a very, very important part of this," Patterson adds. "We consulted with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and did market research to determine there was a need for this type of housing."

Community Rebuilders will be a lead agency to provide services and referrals for veterans who need housing, Patterson says.

The market-rate apartments will be on the market for anyone to rent. The affordable-rate apartments will be available for persons earning 60 percent of the area median income or below.

A study is underway to determine if the site is contaminated and needs remediation. If all goes according to plan, Woda Group will close on the property by the end of 2013 and construction will begin in January 2014.

Architect: Hooker DeJong
Construction: Woda Group

Source: P. Craig Patterson, Woda Group
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Purchase of Bridgewater Place is Calif. investment firm's first foray into Michigan real estate

When completed, the planned purchased of Bridgewater Place, one of Grand Rapids' largest office buildings, will be California investment company Hertz Investment Group's inaugural foray into the Michigan investment real estate market.

The 17-story building (333 Bridge St. NW), known for its sea blue mirrored-tile exterior that rises along the Grand River, was a foreclosed property with GMAC Mortgage and will be sold for an undisclosed price, says Michael Visser of Colliers International. Visser assisted Colin Kraay, the lead sales manager in the transaction -- a process that began in 2010 with marketing the building nationally.

"We had nine offers from qualified buyers," Visser says. "I think this is a tremendous highlight of the attention the city has received. Part of our marketing is articulating what's going on here. The first day Hertz came to tour the building was when ArtPrize was going on, and that kind of event really makes it easy to market Grand Rapids."

Hertz Investment Group owns and manages dozens of massive office buildings in large cities in a number of states. The company's website touts the firm as "specializing in the acquisition, marketing, and management of exceptional properties throughout the country, encompassing prominent high-rise office buildings, international market centers for fashion, gift and jewelry, historically significant landmark properties, luxury hotels, high profile theaters, large retail centers, and multi-family residential properties."

"Having national investors like this purchase an asset that's been highly distressed throughout its history will be a great thing for our downtown office market," Visser says of the building, which has changed hands several times.

Bridgewater Place has 353,000 square feet of leasable space, says Visser. Varnum Law occupies the top five stories; Spectrum Health is building out 38,000 square feet of newly leased space for its human resources department. Visser says about 30 percent of the building is available for lease through Colliers International.

The transaction does not include River House Condominiums, which is owned by a separate entity. The sale will close in 30-45 days, Visser says.

Source: Michael Visser, Colliers International
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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