Staff writer, covers real estate, economic development and small business.
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Founders Brewing to remain a Chamber member, despite endorsement controversy, prior statements
Nine days after a social media announcement that it would leave the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce over a controversial endorsement of Bill Schuette, Founders Brewing Co. has changed its mind.
GR officials plan ahead for emergence of e-scooters
Dockless electric scooters could soon become available on the streets in Michigan’s second-largest city.
Q&A: Andrew Johnson, President & CEO, The Rapid
As the new President and CEO of Grand Rapids-area Interurban Transit Partnership, known as The Rapid, Andrew Johnson hopes to leverage existing business support to grow the operation. Having previously served as the COO of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District in central Illinois, Johnson views West Michigan’s “diversified” economy as a perfect place to start in working toward better transit service. He spoke with MiBiz about the future of The Rapid and how bus service fits into mobility in West Michigan.
Transit planners push for options amid uncertainty over ridership
As transportation advocates and urban planners push new mobility strategies, they’re also working to see how new tools may affect the future of traditional mass transit.
Officials hopeful work will resume quickly on stalled West Michigan construction projects
Contractors and operating engineers have found a temporary solution to a labor dispute that’s affected more than 150 road construction projects around the state — and three in the greater Grand Rapids area.
Schuette addresses GR Chamber endorsement controversy
Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette on Monday morning signaled further willingness to expand the state’s civil rights law following an endorsement controversy last week.
Controversy mounts over GR Chamber endorsement of Schuette in race for Michigan governor
The backlash against the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce over its controversial endorsement of GOP Michigan gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette continues to percolate.
GR Chamber faces backlash over LGBT concerns after Schuette endorsement
Over the last several years, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has sought to make diversity and inclusion a key part of its mission and culture.
Essence Restaurant Group closes Rockford location, shifts to event space
ROCKFORD — Just months after rebranding its downtown Rockford location as Rockford Riverside Grille, Essence Restaurant Group has announced it will cease restaurant operations and reopen temporarily next month as an events and banquet facility.
Hour Media makes statewide play with acquisition of GR publications
The acquisition this month of Gemini Corp.’s assets by a Southeast Michigan publisher comes amid a broader consolidation trend in the media industry.
ABC West Michigan announces Excellence in Construction Award winners
The West Michigan chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) held its 32nd annual Excellence in Construction Awards on Thursday evening.
DDA to provide financial support for Hinman hotel project in downtown GR
The Hinman Co.’s scaled-back hotel project in the city’s central business district received a financial boost this morning.
HopCat’s 2nd GR location aims to shine light on local brewing industry
GRAND RAPIDS — HopCat’s 17th location overall — and its second in Grand Rapids — comes as an “experiment” of sorts for the growing chain of craft beer-focused restaurants.
Reporter’s Notebook: Construction crane vantage offers new views of GR’s expansion
GRAND RAPIDS — The first thing you should know about me is that I really dislike heights. I didn’t make it 200 feet into an attempt to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and I once nearly had a nervous breakdown on an outdoor patio of a 36th-floor condo.
GRBJ, GR Magazine acquired by Detroit-area firm
A Southeast Michigan publisher has acquired the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Grand Rapids Magazine and other titles from Gemini Corp.
Q&A: Mark Nettleton - Attorney and member, Mika Meyers PLC
As a veteran attorney representing Michigan cities, townships and villages, Mark Nettleton says his clients mostly find themselves on solid fiscal footing these days. The Mika Meyers PLC attorney believes the state’s municipalities have learned the lessons of the Great Recession and are now investing conservatively in large infrastructure projects and working to ensure they’re complying with increased state mandates around the proper funding of legacy benefits. He spoke with MiBiz about the fiscal health of the state’s many local units of government.
Municipal leaders, state officials differ over emphasis on local government funding
While Detroit’s record-setting municipal bankruptcy may be a distant memory, many business leaders around the state still view the financial health of Michigan’s municipalities as a potential ticking time bomb.
BUY LOCAL: New REIT targets $90M fund for West Michigan deals
A recent investment in a Grand Rapids office complex could serve as the template for what executives hope will become a new platform for West Michigan real estate investment.
Apartment project proposed for long-vacant corner of Division and Weston
GRAND RAPIDS — A development group hopes that a small mixed-use project will fill a long-time hole in the city’s Heartside neighborhood south of downtown, MiBiz has learned.
Meijer opens Bridge Street Market, announces similar store in downtown Lansing
At the opening today of Bridge Street Market, Meijer Inc.’s first foray in decades into smaller, neighborhood grocery stores, company executives say they’re “bullish” on the format and plan more similar stores, including in Michigan.
Amway Grand tower to overhaul exterior
One of downtown Grand Rapids’ signature skyscrapers will be given a new look in the coming years.
West Michigan retail sites active among buyers, attract out-of-state mone
PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP — West Michigan’s retail sector continues to attract investment from outside the state amid an active real estate market.
Stately quarters or royal mess? Polarizing Grand Castle embodies developer’s dream for luxury living
GRANDVILLE –– Amid an apartment building boom across West Michigan, the Grand Castle stands out in ways few other projects do.
Q&A: Tim Bartik - Senior Economist, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
The number of companies that relocate or expand in a specific area because of economic development incentives is largely “exaggerated.” That’s according to a new report from Tim Bartik, senior economist with the Upjohn Institute in Kalamazoo.
New development could transform Walker’s Standale district
WALKER — City planners hope to encourage downtown-style urbanism in the years ahead along a key suburban commercial corridor northwest of Grand Rapids.
A.J. Veneklasen one of many firms adding to industrial capacity
With extremely limited inventory for growing manufacturing and industrial users in West Michigan, developers increasingly are focusing on new construction.
Fox 17 to remain under Tribune ownership after media giant scraps deal with Sinclair
The dissolution this week of a proposed mega-merger between two media giants means the local Fox affiliate will remain under its existing corporate ownership, at least for now.
Q&A: James Hallan, President and CEO, Michigan Retailers Association
A new report by Lansing-based research firm Public Sector Consultants Inc. determined that Michigan consumers sent $18.5 billion out of state with their growing use of e-commerce. The report, commissioned by the Michigan Retailers Association, was released in conjunction with the debut of the group’s Buy Nearby campaign that aims to educate consumers on the benefits of shopping locally. The PSC report found that if consumers switched just one out of every 10 purchases to a local retailer, Michigan would stand to gain $1.2 billion annually in increased economic activity and 10,600 new jobs in the retail industry, which already employs one in five Michiganders. MRA President and CEO James Hallan spoke with MiBiz about the trade group’s focus on the benefits of shopping locally.
West Michigan grocery retailers shift to tech-driven marketing initiatives
Spurred on by changing consumer shopping habits, West Michigan grocery retailers want to make the task of shopping less of a “chore” by leveraging new technology-driven initiatives.
West Michigan construction industry remains bullish as costs surge
The rising price of steel and other building materials might cause sticker shock for some developers, but the costs are doing little to curb building activity around West Michigan.