The list of most-read stories on MiBiz.com for the first half of 2016 has a decidedly real estate and retail-related theme.
Readers seemed hungry for more information on the wave of new mixed-use developments, grocery stores and bars in Grand Rapids and around West Michigan. Additionally, stories about higher ed strategies, M&A and strategic alliances also proved popular.
(MiBiz exclusive) A wedge-shaped parking lot in the middle of downtown Grand Rapids could be transformed into the site of the city’s tallest building and one of the tallest in the state. According to documents filed with the city, Portage-based The Hinman Co. plans a 42-story, 418-foot-tall hotel and apartment tower at 10 Ionia Ave. NW. Currently, a small, wedge-shaped surface parking lot occupies the location that borders Fulton Street, Louis Street and Ionia Avenue.
(MiBiz exclusive) The demand for a downtown grocery store appears to be getting heard loud and clear. According to an application filed with the Grand Rapids Planning Commission, Jeff VandenBerg and business partners plan to open a 3,500-square-foot neighborhood grocery store in the vacant ground-floor space of 38 Commerce Ave. in downtown’s Heartside neighborhood.
(MiBiz exclusive) Despite losing one-third of its student body since 2012, Davenport University Jeff VandenBerg has embarked on a wave of spending, including expanded facilities, new dormitories and the addition of a football team this fall. A review of federal filings and public statements by Davenport officials over the past four years shows that enrollment at the Caledonia-based nonprofit university system dipped to 8,715 students in 2015 from a self-disclosed 13,000 in the 2011-2012 academic year.
(MiBiz exclusive) Traverse City-based craft beer bar and restaurant 7 Monks Taproom has unveiled plans for a Grand Rapids location along the growing Michigan Street corridor. The bar and restaurant company will open its third 7 Monks location at 740 Michigan St. NE, executives confirmed to MiBiz during the Craft Brewers Conference in May in Philadelphia. The site is part of a recently-completed mixed-use development from 616 Lofts LLC that offers 54 apartments, ground-floor retail and underground parking.
Documents released by the Grand Rapids Planning Commission outline further details of a proposed redevelopment project along the up-and-coming Bridge Street corridor. Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction Company Inc., along with a variety of partners, plan a mixed-use development on sites situated around Bridge Street, Seward Avenue and Stocking Avenue that would include housing, a Meijer Inc. grocery store, additional retail, parking and office space.
With more than 530 new apartments and at least $115 million in new investment, the pipeline for mixed-use development remains strong along the Michigan Street corridor east of the Medical Mile. The newest proposal for the area comes from Grand Rapids-based Third Coast Development LLC, whose principals plan a mixed-income and mixed-use $42 million project called Diamond Place on the north side of Michigan Street, just east of Diamond Avenue. Included in those plans: Attracting an urban grocery user to the ground floor of the development.
(MiBiz exclusive) Less than two years after launching in Grand Rapids, ELK Brewing LLC now plans to open a second microbrewery and restaurant in Plainfield Charter Township’s Comstock Park district. The existing brewery and taphouse on Wealthy Street is “bottlenecked,” necessitating the expansion to a location on Dodge Street just west of West River Drive in Comstock Park, near the entrance to Fifth Third Ballpark, said co-owner Eric Karns.
North Ottawa Community Health System and Mercy Health plan to work together under a new strategic alliance that executives say holds benefits for both health systems. Under the alliance approved by the boards at both health systems, Mercy Health would get a larger presence in the attractive northern Ottawa County market. North Ottawa would get greater access to more medical specialists from Mercy Health physicians.
After a lengthy, and ultimately unsuccessful lease negotiation, popular downtown Rockford restaurant Reds On the River has decided to vacate its space in The Promenade Building at 8 E Bridge Street. The restaurant, operated by Redwater Restaurant Group LLC, moved to Thousand Oaks Golf Club off of 5 Mile Road and East Beltline Ave. and was rebranded as Reds at Thousand Oaks.
(MiBiz exclusive) Grand Rapids-based Windquest Group Inc., the family office for Amway scion Dick DeVos and his wife, Betsy DeVos, has decided to get into the booze-making business. Windquest is listed as the registered agent for CC Acquisitions, LLC, which formed on Oct. 29, 2015 and a day later changed its name to Coppercraft Distillery, LLC. The company appears to have acquired certain assets of the Holland Charter Township-based craft distillery of the same name.
Also on the list: