Nick Manes

Nick Manes

Staff writer, covers real estate, economic development and small business.
Twitter: @nickrmanes
Email: [email protected]

As the construction industry continues to expand, companies with the best culture will find the most success. So says Mike Novakoski, the president and CEO of Holland-based general contractor Elzinga & Volkers Inc. Like many of the region’s construction managers, the company finds itself with a strong backlog heading into the New Year and few signs of a slowdown.

With vacancy rates across all commercial real estate sectors at near record lows in West Michigan, industry executives say buyers have increasingly turned their attention to vacant land.

Stakeholders in West Michigan’s commercial real estate, architecture and construction industries are coming off another big year for development and see few signs that indicate a significant slowdown in 2019. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Five distinct areas of Grand Rapids’ southside likely will soon have an Area Specific Plan (ASP) to help guide development. 

GRANDVILLE — A 20-year-old mall in southwestern Kent County could potentially turn into a mixed-use “mini-city,” or be repositioned for a sale.

GRAND RAPIDS — When  realized it needed to add vehicles to its fleet to grow the business, founder Rich Flowers ran into some roadblocks familiar to many African American and minority entrepreneurs. 

An East Lansing property management firm closed this week on a deal to buy a 107-unit apartment building just east of downtown.

GRAND RAPIDS — Downtown could soon see its first African American-owned bar and restaurant in years.

GRAND RAPIDS — Changes involving a pair of West Michigan commercial real estate brokerages could signal future growth opportunities for the firms, sources say. 

DETROIT — Meijer Inc. largely functions as a brick-and-mortar operation, but the supercenter retailer increasingly is taking cues from tech companies as it implements new ways of serving customers.

After spending the last two years running Charlotte’s Rising Tide community economic development program, Dillon Rush hopes to bring his expertise to the Lansing and Mid-Michigan region.

DETROIT — With just days to go before a “divisive” election, the state’s business roundtable sought to stay out of politics and instead focus on Michigan’s future growth opportunities during its annual conference.

GRAND RAPIDS — A broad group of stakeholders on Thursday unveiled conceptual plans for re-designing public spaces on both banks of the Grand River through downtown Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Bridge Street corridor west of downtown Grand Rapids continues to serve as a magnet for new housing options.

EAST LANSING — Martin Commercial Properties Inc., an East Lansing-based commercial real estate brokerage with a Grand Rapids office, will end its 20-year affiliate relationship with CBRE Inc. at the end of this year.

GRAND RAPIDS — With minimal “velocity” in the West Michigan office market, Franklin Partners LLC has backed away from plans to construct a $30 million, 100,000-square-foot glass and steel office project on the south end of downtown. 

From the cannabis industry to beverage manufacturers to tech-focused firms, West Michigan continues to see an uptick in startups. 

recent kerfuffle between Grand Rapids economic development officials and executives at Start Garden Inc. highlights the challenges cities face when they try to encourage more entrepreneurial investments. 

Sunday, 28 October 2018 15:00

Q&A: Tim Horner, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP

Tim Horner was ready for a celebration. The Grand Rapids attorney at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP has spent more than a decade as the U.S. counsel for Canada and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) as it has gone through the procurement process to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor. 

A tribal-owned architecture and engineering firm in Southwest Michigan plans to relocate its headquarters to a new Kalamazoo commercial development.

The city of Muskegon and Muskegon County along with Parkland Properties LLC have unveiled plans for a new downtown convention center campus.

As Grand Rapids adjusts to a new medical marijuana ordinance and as voters consider legalizing recreational marijuana later this year, employers continue to express uncertainty about the future.

Sunday, 14 October 2018 11:05

Q&A: Kim Fenn, Michigan State University

Associate professor of psychology Director of the Sleep and Learning Lab, Michigan State University  

By focusing on the smaller end of the M&A market, Max Friar has sought to expand the deal flow for his Grand Rapids-based advisory firm.

Sunday, 14 October 2018 10:26

Kothari sees positive changes in M&A market

The recent scale and scope of M&A activity around the region has made for a “pretty cool year” for deal advisers like Rajesh Kothari. 

Amy Sparks’ acquisition of Nuvar Inc. in May required the company’s new top executive to adapt to her role as an “outsider” as she worked to integrate herself into the operations. 

As the West Michigan region continues to grow, many people wonder where it could be headed in the next decade.

Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. continues on a growth trajectory, even after feeling the effects of a devastating hurricane last month.

Two arterial roads through the city’s central business district could go from one-way to two-way streets under a new plan being considered by the Downtown Development Authority.

The West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) has been named the state’s fifth “Cyber Range Hub,” an initiative aimed at bolstering the Michigan’s cybersecurity defenses.