Rex Bell has served as president of Miller-Davis Co. for the last 22 years and has never seen a worker shortage like the company faces today. It’s a problem he expects to continue throughout 2019. With a busy year ahead for the Kalamazoo-based general contracting firm that focuses on higher education, K-12, nonprofit and industrial projects, he hopes for a renewed focus on training by companies and encouraging high school students to go into skilled trades.
For Housing Next Executive Director Ryan Kilpatrick, 2018 has been about laying the groundwork to get more affordable housing online in Ottawa County. Next year is “where the rubber hits the road,” when more than 600 new housing units will come online, with more yet in the pipeline, Kilpatrick said. Since January, Kilpatrick has worked with multiple municipalities to increase the amount of affordable housing in the county. He expects more tangible results to emerge in 2019.
Ask Planning Director Mike Franzak what’s going on in Muskegon right now, and he can rattle off a long list of projects either under construction or well into the planning stages. There’s so much activity, in fact, that the lakeshore city has started to think about issues like parking facilities after the many vacant former Muskegon Mall parcels downtown have been developed.
More so than many other areas of the country, West Michigan has experienced tremendous growth in 2018, according to Anirban Basu, who serves as the chief economist of the Associated Builders and Contractors, a national trade group. His outlook is less rosy for 2019, which could be a transitional year for the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, he thinks 2020 could be the beginnings of the next economic downturn.
As the construction industry continues to expand, companies with the best culture will find the most success. So says Mike Novakoski, the president and CEO of Holland-based general contractor Elzinga & Volkers Inc. Like many of the region’s construction managers, the company finds itself with a strong backlog heading into the New Year and few signs of a slowdown.
A new year means a fresh start for the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership. Andrew Haan, president of the nonprofit organization, said with the beginning of the Downtown Economic Growth Authority and the rebranding of the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, formerly known as Downtown Kalamazoo Inc., there’s a more stable future moving forward as the city continues to grow.
Catalyst Development Co. LCC’s latest project in Kalamazoo, located at the southwest corner of North Edwards Street and Water Street, will bring more housing, offices and parking spaces to the growing downtown, which could spark some more retail development in the area. That’s according to Managing Director and Vice President Patti Owens, who said she does not see a slowdown in development coming any time soon for the Kalamazoo area.
GRAND RAPIDS — A contaminated former gas station property in Grand Rapids will be redeveloped after being receiving brownfield funding from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
GRAND RAPIDS — Nine proposed affordable housing projects in West Michigan have been awarded tax credits.