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The pending acquisition of Irish biotechnology company Elan Corp. has the potential to transform Perrigo Co. and provide it a platform for global expansion.

Q&A: Stephen Rapundalo, president & CEO, MichBio

Written by | Sunday, 29 September 2013 22:00 |

MichBio plans to roll out a major rebranding effort next month that’s designed to give the life science trade association a higher profile to promote the industry.

As Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine embarks on a plan to expand in downtown Grand Rapids, officials point to the school’s growing physical presence as a sign that its economic impact continues to broaden.

Results from employer surveys show that most companies in West Michigan and across the nation plan to maintain employee health coverage in 2014, opting to continue to “play” rather than “pay.”

Small employers seeking to avoid some of the mandates and taxes under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will soon have new options to pursue if they want to self-fund their employee health coverage.

Survey results show employers in West Michigan followed the same path in 2013 as past years to stem the ever-rising cost of health coverage.

Medicaid expansion one step closer to passage

Written by | Monday, 02 September 2013 22:00 |

Medicaid would expand in Michigan to cover as many as 470,000 more people who otherwise lack health insurance — helping to ease the cost of uncompensated care that’s shifted onto employers — if legislation that’s due for final consideration this week gets enacted.

E-prescribing continues growth among docs

Written by | Monday, 02 September 2013 22:00 |

Today, eight of every 10 doctors in Michigan send patient prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically.

As high-deductible plans become the norm for employee health coverage, Priority Health aims to provide consumers a better snapshot of what they can expect to pay for certain medical care.

Cars sell, but who's buying?

Written by | Sunday, 18 August 2013 22:00 |

Despite automakers’ lackluster results in wooing Millennial buyers with new technology and hip ad campaigns, it turns out the 18 to 31 crowd does want to buy cars. The problem: They’re too broke. So carmakers have shifted their focus to age groups that are more likely to purchase new vehicles soon. They’re looking at you, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

After years of a self-imposed no-new-brick-and-mortar policy, ADAC Automotive last month cut the ribbon on the biggest project in its history — a new $18 million expansion at its paint operation in Muskegon.

The notion that people gave up their pickup trucks as a result of the recession, the housing downturn and high gas prices is “an optical illusion.” So says Itay Michaeli, director of the U.S. auto and auto parts division at Citi Investment Research & Analysis.

As most of the automotive industry suffers through capacity constraints as it ramps up production volumes, one market segment that’s had the exact opposite problem is battery electric vehicles.

The lessons learned from pre-recession deal making are still fresh in the minds of those working in commercial real estate, but brokers say activity across market segments in West Michigan is starting to heat up.

Top Real Estate Deals

Written by | Sunday, 04 August 2013 21:46 |

Deal volume and activity that produced a late surge in closings at the end of 2012 kept the pace of activity rolling through the first half of 2013. Investment activity in the industrial market saw several properties change hands, while space in both the office and retail markets saw increased absorption along with increased rental rates.


1. The massive former Zondervan Publishing headquarters complex at 5300 Patterson Avenue was recently purchased by Franklin Partners, the same Chicago-based firm that is wrapping up work on the 99 Monroe office building in the Grand Rapids central business district. The company plans to downsize the Zondervan building by almost 100,000 square feet and separate it into two standalone facilities offering 200,000 square feet of industrial space and 100,000 square feet of Class A office. In the current market, brokers expect the separated properties will attract plenty of interest as activity in both the industrial and Class A office markets is up.

2. Crosslake Partners, a Rosemont,Ill.-based real estate investment trust (REIT), closed in June on a seven-building industrial portfolio for $29.2 million. Six of the seven properties are located in Norton Shores, Walker and Grand Rapids. The facilities ranged in size from 107,000 square feet to more than 335,000 square feet. The industrial properties have 23 existing tenants — include Wacker Neuson, Tubelite and PIPP Mobile Storage — and are 75-percent leased.

3. Undercar Products Group, a subsidiary of Canadian Tier I auto supplier ABC Group, recently leased 100,000 square feet at 4247 Eastern Avenue in Wyoming.

4 Automotive supplier II Stanley leased 22,500 square feet of industrial space at 770 Watkins Road in Battle Creek. The move was the second expansion for the company since it moved into the building less than a year ago. II Stanley now occupies the entire building for a total of 72,500 square feet.


5. Thirty-Eight, the eight-story office and residential building at 38 Commerce Avenue in Grand Rapids, was sold to MP1 LCC of East Lansing in deal that includes local partners and East Lansing-based Maplegrove Property Management. Sellers Locus Development built the facility three years ago. The price was undisclosed.

6. American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust, a New York-based REIT, recently purchased 6105 Wilson Avenue SW. The 53,000-square-foot building is fully leased to Spectrum Health for nine years.

7. The historic Heritage Tower and an adjacent building in Battle Creek were purchased by Grand Rapids-based 616 Development LLC. The 19-story, 123,000-square-foot tower is partially condemned, but 616 is in the planning process to redevelop the building into residential units.

8. The parking lot at the corner of Fulton Street and Sheldon Avenue in Grand Rapids is set for redevelopment after being purchased by developer Karl Chew, who’s planning a $32 million, 14-story housing complex on the site.


9. The former Walgreens store at 956 Michigan Street NE was sold for $950,000. The building is roughly 12,500 square feet and is slated for redevelopment as a new Goodwill store.

10. The Applebee’s located at 3851 Alpine Avenue in Comstock Park was sold to Breens Inc., an Illinois-based uniform and rental company, for $2.6 million. The 5,744 square-foot building was acquired from Green Alpine LLC. Applebee’s has nearly 15 years remaining on its lease and has been in that location since 2008, according to reports.

11. The former Frank’s Nursery at 2450 28th Street SE was sold to a group of local investors for $1 million. A Family Dollar still exists on the 30,250-square-foot property and a Tim Horton’s is planned in late 2013 for a new outlot that fronts the street.

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