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Kate Carlson

Kate Carlson

Staff Writer, covers real estate and development and small businesses

 

Twitter: @BizCarlson
Email: [email protected]

When a California-based marketing firm consolidated 450 employees from Grand Rapids-area offices into a vacant commercial building three years ago, the move was celebrated by Wyoming city leaders and supported by a $550,000 state business development grant.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids native Alita Kelly saw a market need on the south side of the city and formed a pickup and delivery food service that will mainly source from Black and Indigenous farmers, as well as women producers. 

HOLLAND — When officials with the Park Theatre first decided to close in early March because of concerns of spreading COVID-19, they weren’t anticipating a complete lack of concerts or events in the historic venue for months to come.

The Grand Valley Metropolitan Council, which serves as the centralized hub of information for 39 West Michigan municipalities, has been using AI and machine learning to store, analyze and forecast data to plan for regional growth. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Artificial intelligence is growing increasingly common in the construction industry to automate mundane yet critical tasks.

GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County’s hotel occupancy has started to rebound since the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, but a major downtown Grand Rapids hotel operator anticipates only being able to call back half of the 1,200 employees it furloughed in April.

GRAND RAPIDS — The city of Grand Rapids needs to add nearly 9,000 housing units over the next five years to satisfy high market demand, according to a housing needs assessment prepared for city officials. 

GRAND RAPIDS — A proposed Community Partnership Agreement aims to build neighborhood support for a major redevelopment addressing housing equity on the city’s southeast side, though some local officials say the project is moving too quickly.

WAYLAND — Classic Transportation & Warehousing recently broke ground on a $5.5 million facility in Wayland next to its corporate offices.

PLAINFIELD TWP. — Township officials have placed a one-year moratorium on single-story commercial development requests along the Plainfield Avenue corridor in an effort to reimagine the area through new zoning regulations. 

Property managers and real estate companies are seeing an increase in their commercial and retail tenants’ ability to pay rent again after accessing funding through programs including the Paycheck Protection Program. 

GRAND RAPIDS — After months of an empty DeVos Place Convention Center because of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants could soon be operating from the space on a temporary basis.

GRAND RAPIDS — Bing Goei, who owns Eastern Floral and The Goei Center event venue, hopes more people take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously so economic conditions don’t worsen for businesses like his.

GRAND RAPIDS — A recycling company hopes to help Kent County achieve its ambitious goal of diverting 90 percent of the county’s trash from landfills by 2030 by working directly with restaurants and grocers to reduce food and beverage waste. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health has acquired two more properties in the Monroe North business district to use for its future Center for Transformation and Innovation campus development.

Kent County officials have provided $40,000 to help minority business owners facing language barriers access COVID-19 relief funding.

GRAND RAPIDS — Studio C is rolling out two weekly, socially distanced events at its outdoor Studio Park space downtown that will feature live music and movie screenings.

GRAND RAPIDS — Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. is reallocating $50,000 it initially budgeted for ArtPrize 2020 toward a new event tentatively planned for September. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Existing medical cannabis businesses in Grand Rapids can apply months ahead of schedule for licenses to grow, process, transport and sell recreational marijuana. The Grand Rapids City Commission voted unanimously July 7 on a resolution that fast tracks current medical cannabis growers, processors, safety compliance facilities, secure transporters and provisioning centers’ ability to operate in the adult-use side of the cannabis industry. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The historic Sobota building on Grand Rapids’ West Side that was previously a grocery store, tavern and restaurant will continue as a coworking space after recently completed renovations by a new owner. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Two kickboxing facilities in Kent County have reopened for members in violation of orders from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that gyms across most of the Lower Peninsula remain closed.

GRAND RAPIDS — Fair housing organizations across Michigan recently received $2.1 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help fight housing discrimination.

Michigan had the largest percentage increase in construction jobs among dozens of states from April to May, as firms rebounding from COVID-19 are showing cautious optimism in hopes of the overall economy following suit.

The Grand Rapids City Commission is expected to vote July 7 on a plan that could allow retail recreational cannabis sales months ahead of schedule, and put the city on track with a growing number of communities allowing the industry to flourish.

GRAND RAPIDS — When the coronavirus pandemic hit, a pair of Grand Rapids natives scrapped their initial plans to open a cigar lounge on the city’s south side, deciding instead that a fresh food market and weekly farmers market would be a better resource for their neighborhood.

GAINES TOWNSHIP — Irie Kitchen LLC recently reopened for takeout, and proved it has a large base of support after raising more than $100,000 following vandalism in early June.

ZEELAND — Outdoor seating has been a game changer for restaurants and bars reopening this summer, making Laura Gentry even more grateful that she expanded outdoor seating space at her Zeeland brewpub a few years ago.

LANSING — Michigan restaurants and bars are now able to expand alcohol sales as well as the area where patrons can consume drinks. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Has Heart, a nonprofit that connects veterans with artists to tell their stories, is building a coffee shop in Veterans Memorial Park.

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health has added to its growing list of property acquisitions northeast of downtown and near its Butterworth Hospital campus.

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