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Concept Design worked on 20 Monroe Live, a downtown Grand Rapids concert venue. Concept Design worked on 20 Monroe Live, a downtown Grand Rapids concert venue. Courtesy Photo

Concept Design acquired by global architecture firm

BY Tuesday, May 01, 2018 12:08pm

DEARBORN –– Concept Design Group has been acquired by Ghafari Associates Inc., a Dearborn-based global architecture, engineering and construction services firm.

Concept Design, a Grand Rapids-based architecture and interior design firm, will be a unit of Ghafari Associates and known as “Concept Design, a Ghafari Company” during the transition period, according to a statement released on Monday. Ghafari has 15 offices around the world, stretching from Detroit to Brazil and the Middle East.

Concept Design President Stephen Fry, along with Vice President Tom Tooley, will run the existing Grand Rapids office on Monroe Center NW and both join the management team at Ghafari Associates.

Fry said the deal allows Concept Design to broaden its list of services beyond West Michigan and provides for a new type of architecture and engineering expertise in the region.

“Grand Rapids has sought big city architects. Now we can provide an in-place conduit for that communication,” Fry told MiBiz. “Concept Design/Ghafari now has over 300 people within 300 miles, either in Dearborn or Chicago with specific areas of expertise.”

Fry noted that the deal enhances both companies’ capabilities, given Concept Design’s experience in corporate and commercial work –– most notably in mixed-use, multi-family residential projects –– and Ghafari Associates’ engineering focus.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Locally, Concept Design has worked on multiple projects in downtown Grand Rapids and surrounding neighborhoods such as the mixed-use Arena Place development across the street from Van Andel Arena, concert venue 20 Monroe Live next to The B.O.B., and The Gateway at Belknap apartment development just north of downtown Grand Rapids.

For executives at Ghafari Associates, the deal bolsters the firm’s efforts to expand into more corporate and commercial work.

“As part of our strategic plan, we are expanding our core corporate and commercial expertise, as well as our geographic reach,” Kouhaila Hammer, president and CEO of Ghafari Associates, said in a statement. “Joining forces with Concept Design enables us to enhance our design capabilities and corporate / commercial portfolio, while also affording their team the opportunity to grow professionally.”

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