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Kate Carlson

Kate Carlson

Staff Writer, covers real estate and development and small businesses

 

Twitter: @BizCarlson
Email: [email protected]

A majority of Michigan small businesses oppose President Biden’s recently announced vaccine mandate as staffing shortages and rising costs remain the biggest obstacles for business owners, according to a new survey by the Small Business Association of Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Friday to sell the school’s 11-acre property located along East Beltline Avenue Southeast for $6.25 million. 

NORTON SHORES — Kentwood-based First Companies Inc. and Zeeland-based Town & Country Group Inc. have been recognized by a regional trade group as the top companies in West Michigan for jobsite safety and instilling values throughout their corporate culture.

GRAND RAPIDS — The stalled redevelopment of a vacant church into apartment units on Grand Rapids’ west side is back on track.

GRAND RAPIDS — Education-focused furniture manufacturer MiEN Co. plans to consolidate its Walker-based operations into a new headquarters at the former Baker Furniture property along the Grand River in Grand Rapids.

BYRON TWP. — Disability Advocates of Kent County is launching the public phase of a $2.5 million fundraising campaign to move its headquarters and create an accessibility showroom at a nonprofit hub under development in Byron Township. 

KALAMAZOO — Construction on the downtown mixed-use Warner Building that houses several prominent organizations and dozens of apartments is now completed, developers announced Monday.

GRAND RAPIDS — Rental rates are rising for prime downtown Grand Rapids office space, but vacancy rates are also up significantly compared to previous years, according to a recent report from global real estate services firm JLL.

GRAND RAPIDS — Alyson and Mallory Caillaud-Jones were planning to open a bakery in a shared kitchen space when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, causing the sisters instead to search for a singular brick-and-mortar location for their small business.

When Jermale and Anissa Eddie opened Malamiah Juice Bar LLC in 2013, the couple aimed to be role models not just for their three sons, but also for the rest of the Black and brown community.

KALAMAZOO TWP. — Cloud Cannabis Co. has acquired a 70,000-square-foot commercial grow facility in Kalamazoo from cannabis company KKind.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Local Development Finance Authority has approved an agreement for Spartan Innovations L3C and Start Garden Inc. to collaborate and manage the city’s SmartZone business incubator and related tech business support services. 

GRAND RAPIDS — A hub for talent recruitment, skills development and job placement is expected to open early next year in Grand Rapids in hopes of filling the workforce pipeline for West Michigan construction jobs.

GRAND RAPIDS — Housing advocates are hopeful for a multi-million dollar infusion from Michigan’s share of federal stimulus money that would go toward a range of housing developments. 

Michigan’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion and submission rates decreased for the second year in a row by nearly 5 percent, indicating lower college enrollment and ongoing challenges for the already sparse talent pipeline. 

WYOMING — Linus and Renata De Paoli left their corporate lives working as engineers in Germany and have opened a new brewery to introduce a range of international food and beer culture to West Michigan.

Leslie Wyman has led the West Michigan Cannabis Guild since May after serving as the organization’s treasurer. Before the Guild officially formed in 2019, its founding members played a role in getting the Proposal 1 ballot initiative in front of voters that was eventually successful in legalizing recreational cannabis in Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — Real Seafood Co. is opening its first West Michigan restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids and will serve as the anchor tenant at CWD Real Estate Investment’s 111 Lyon Street development.

WALKER — The Walker City Commission will consider final approval for rezoning the former Lincoln Country Club property on Monday along with a tax abatement request from Irwin Seating Co. to expand its facility in Walker.

GRAND RAPIDS — D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s broke ground today on what will be a $10 million multipurpose facility near the organization’s 25-acre Knapp Campus on the northeast side of Grand Rapids.

MUSKEGON — Luxury condos, a marina, restaurant, event space and expanded public trails are part of a $250 million vision to transform 30 acres of Muskegon waterfront property.

GRAND RAPIDS — Business owners in the Monroe North neighborhood near downtown are anticipating an influx in activity when about 1,200 employees are expected to work from Spectrum Health’s planned eight-story office development.

Housing nonprofits are scrambling to distribute unprecedented amounts of federal funding to renters at risk of becoming homeless as a scaled-back national eviction moratorium is temporarily extended.

West Michigan commercial real estate experts see slowly improving activity in retail and office markets that were particularly harmed by remote work and talent shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The widespread shift to remote working has caused many small dry cleaning businesses to shut down or adapt to stay afloat.

Al Vanderberg is leaving his role as Ottawa County administrator, which he has held since 2003, after recently accepting a position as Kent County administrator/controller.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Planning Commission has approved final site plans for the second building that will be constructed as part of the Boston Square Together development along Kalamazoo Avenue SE on the city’s south side.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy recently awarded $4.6 million in brownfield grants and loans to five redevelopment projects on contaminated properties in West and Southwest Michigan. 

BENTON HARBOR — Whirlpool Corp. has broken ground on a $22 million multifamily housing development near downtown Benton Harbor that officials say will help fill gaps in workforce housing availability.

Congress will inevitably relax decades-old federal restrictions on cannabis, West Michigan industry experts say, but how and when lawmakers will act are key unanswered questions that could determine who gains access to the market.

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