Staff writer, covers real estate, economic development and small business.
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Parfet says municipal foundation model taking hold in Kalamazoo
MACKINAC ISLAND — It’s been nearly one year since Kalamazoo became a “laboratory” for a new form of philanthropy-backed municipal finance.
Michigan leaders urge forward-thinking policy, investments at Mackinac conference
MACKINAC ISLAND — Michigan political and business leaders generally agree that the state’s infrastructure, workforce development and talent efforts need further investment.
Law firms embrace new offices for efficiencies, talent attraction
As West Michigan law firms focus on talent recruitment and greater efficiencies, they increasingly are upgrading to modern, first-generation office space.
Mixed Messages: Expanded Michigan Street transit service comes amid massive parking development
GRAND RAPIDS — In offering increased transit service along one of West Michigan’s densest employment corridors, Grand Rapids officials hope to fulfill a goal of one of the city’s key urban planning documents.
Construction execs sound off on prevailing wage repeal
Construction executives in West Michigan — known for its concentration of “merit shops” — generally speak favorably of the recent repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law.
Developers plan townhouse condo project in SE Grand Rapids
A group of developers in Grand Rapids have teamed up to build a nine-unit townhouse condominium project near the Breton Village shopping center.
West Michigan businesses back Soo Locks upgrades
MACKINAC ISLAND — West Michigan business leaders say that a proposed upgrade of the Soo Locks in the Upper Peninsula is critical for keeping the region’s economy moving forward.
Tenants announced for new industrial building north of downtown Grand Rapids
Two local firms plan to expand into a new industrial facility in Grand Rapids later this summer.
Q&A: David Abbott, Executive Director, Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts
The Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts turns 50 next year and for the first time in its history has a full-time paid executive director. David Abbott hopes to continue the Festival’s tradition as a celebration of art, music and international cuisine, but also make the event more of a driver for economic development and talent attraction. Abbott comes to the organization after working at ArtPrize and a variety of other endeavors. He spoke with MiBiz about how he hopes to engage the community regarding what it wants out of Festival, which runs the first weekend of June.
GR hotel rates push upward amid construction boom
GRAND RAPIDS –– New data on hotel rates across the Midwest offered some sobering analysis on the cost of a room in downtown Grand Rapids.
GR Planning Commission recommends opening city to medical marijuana industry
Planning commissioners in Grand Rapids on Thursday offered regulatory recommendations to bring the burgeoning medical marijuana industry to the city.
Amazon formally identified as user of planned Gaines Township distribution facility
After months of secrecy, Amazon.com Inc.’s interest in a proposed Kent County facility is now official.
Plaza Roosevelt development gets city support, affordable housing funding still uncertain
A collaborative development project on Grand Rapids’ southwest side continues to take shape, even while the fate of planned a affordable housing component remains uncertain.
Rapid transit agency hires deputy CEO
The Interurban Transit Partnership, the organization that operates The Rapid bus transit system around the Grand Rapids metro area, announced on Tuesday that it had hired a new member for its executive team.
Distribution center linked to Amazon gets final approval from Gaines Township
The developers behind a nearly 1 million-square-foot distribution facility received their final municipal approval on Monday evening.
Q&A: Ira Bryck
On May 22 at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, the Family Business Alliance of Grand Rapids is hosting a seminar on effective family meetings and family councils for owners and members of familyowned companies. The keynote speaker at the event is Ira Bryck, an Amherst, Mass.- based expert in the study of family-owned businesses, who will discuss the importance of family-owned businesses maintaining constant communication. MiBiz spoke with Bryck on the economic impact of keeping businesses within the family and of maintaining dialogue among family members.
From Boardroom to Classroom: Execs-turned-educators bring practical knowledge to students
A handful of West Michigan executives find that practical business experience can carry over from the boardroom to the classroom.
Two large Wyoming apartment complexes hit the market
Two apartment complexes in suburban Grand Rapids are back on the market after being purchased in 2015 for almost $100 million.
Housing developers struggle with ROI for costly abatements
GRAND RAPIDS — When New Development Corp. rehabilitates older homes before selling them to qualified low-income families, the organization takes great care to remove contaminants like lead.
Call to Action: As education results in Michigan slip, stakeholders mobilize
Michigan’s beleaguered K-12 public education system continues to take a beating from the state’s business groups.
After 4 years, development still slow along GR’s Silver Line bus route
GRAND RAPIDS — The old adage that development follows transit has proven slow to materialize along the Silver Line bus rapid transit (BRT) route through southern Kent County.
Reports: Michigan economy, ranking as business-friendly state improve
New economic data shows Michigan’s economy continues to improve, even as the state remains in the middle of the pack for business according to a ranking from national executives.
Concept Design acquired by global architecture firm
Concept Design Group has been acquired by Ghafari Associates Inc., a Dearborn-based global architecture, engineering and construction services firm.
Laura Bell stepping down as CEO of Bell’s Brewery
Laura Bell will step down as CEO of Bell’s Brewery Inc. on May 18.
Gaines Township planners sign off on distribution facility linked to Amazon.com
A proposed “massive” distribution and warehouse facility in southern Kent County has moved one step closer to a groundbreaking.
Q&A: Stacie Behler, Meijer Inc.
Stacie Behler wants to see more women in top leadership roles at West Michigan companies and nonprofits. The Meijer executive in charge of public affairs and corporate communications — and the retailer’s former senior legal counsel — was recently honored by the Michigan Women’s Foundation with its Woman of Courage and Achievement award. The statewide organization focuses on accelerating women’s entrepreneurship, developing the next generation of women leaders and furthering policy issues relevant to women in the state, including a campaign to end the backlog of untested rape kits in Detroit. In accepting the award, Behler put particular emphasis on the mentoring and development of young women and nurturing more female business leaders. She discussed the topics before a crowd of more than 800 people in mid April when she received the award, as well as in an interview with MiBiz following the luncheon ceremony.
Three perspectives on the changing nature of the retail industry
It’s been a tumultuous time for large retailers as consumers gravitate to the convenience of e-commerce and consciously shift their buying habits to local options. As these shifts continue to drive change and stress in the retail industry, many stakeholders still believe it offers significant opportunity. In separate interviews, MiBiz connected with retail advisers to gather their thoughts on the state of the industry, why it’s changing and where it’s going. They were:
Fate of Rivertown Crossings reflective of broader retail uncertainty
The uncertain future of Rivertown Crossings Mall in Grandville has cast a pall over West Michigan’s retail real estate market, where demand from new entrants is strong but places to put them remain in short supply.
West Michigan retailers adapt to changing dynamics
The local and national retail industry faces many headwinds, but reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.
State certifies petition to legalize marijuana
Michigan continues to come closer to legalizing and regulating the recreational use of marijuana.