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Nick Manes

Nick Manes

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

Sunday, 23 December 2018 17:36

Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Mike Novakoski, Elzinga & Volkers

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.

Sunday, 09 December 2018 16:24

Vacant land plays growing role in West Michigan real estate

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.

Sunday, 09 December 2018 16:09

Roundtable: Execs see more growth ahead for urban projects amid continued demand for amenities

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. 


Sunday, 09 December 2018 15:59

Executives: Rivertown Crossings likely to see some form of redevelopment

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.

Sunday, 25 November 2018 21:39

Alternative lender positions black-owned GR firm for growth

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. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 13:46

Family-owned apartment building near downtown GR sells for $10.25 million

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


Wednesday, 14 November 2018 11:49

New lounge and restaurant proposed for long-vacant downtown Grand Rapids space

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

Sunday, 11 November 2018 20:09

Amid changes, local commercial real estate brokerages see growth potential

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

Sunday, 11 November 2018 19:58

Reacting to consumer demands, Meijer ramps up tech initiatives

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.


Sunday, 11 November 2018 19:01

Q&A: Dillon Rush, Lansing Economic Area Partnership

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.

Friday, 02 November 2018 12:35

As election looms, Business Leaders for Michigan pushes education focus, policy consistency

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.

Thursday, 01 November 2018 15:34

Plans for key sites on banks of Grand River unveiled

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.


Wednesday, 31 October 2018 14:10

Affordable housing development moves forward on Grand Rapids’ west side

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

Tuesday, 30 October 2018 12:10

CBRE ends affiliate relationship with Michigan brokerage

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.

Sunday, 28 October 2018 15:56

Developer cancels downtown GR office project amid low demand

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. 


Sunday, 28 October 2018 15:34

Startups find a place in West Michigan, despite cultural challenges

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

Sunday, 28 October 2018 15:21

Grand Rapids, Start Garden seek to repair relationship

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. 


Thursday, 25 October 2018 11:02

Tribal-owned architecture firm to expand Kalamazoo headquarters

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

Tuesday, 23 October 2018 09:20

Muskegon moves ahead with plans for downtown convention center

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

Sunday, 21 October 2018 20:56

West Michigan business wrestle with unknowns over marijuana

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  

Sunday, 14 October 2018 10:46

Friar finds deals aplenty in niche segment of M&A sector

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. 


Sunday, 14 October 2018 09:55

Sparks finds ‘perfect’ deal with acquisition of Nuvar

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. 

Saturday, 13 October 2018 17:47

Regional planning needed as West Michigan grows, economic developers say

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

Friday, 12 October 2018 10:57

Meritage Hospitality reports continued sales growth amid challenges from weather

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


Friday, 12 October 2018 10:08

Grand Rapids to explore converting downtown one-way streets to two-way traffic

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.

Thursday, 11 October 2018 13:03

WMCAT joins state push to focus on cybersecurity

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.

Monday, 01 October 2018 13:00

Bradley Co. acquires commercial real estate firm X Ventures

Bradley Co. LLC wants to bolster its presence in West Michigan’s commercial real estate market via a new acquisition.


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