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Sunday, 15 December 2013 20:58

Wege, Kellogg foundations plan offices in downtown Grand Rapids

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99 Monroe 99 Monroe COURTESY PHOTO

Two major West Michigan philanthropic organizations will soon be neighbors in a newly renovated building in downtown Grand Rapids.

Both the Wege Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation plan to open offices at 99 Monroe Avenue NW, developer Don Shoemaker confirmed to MiBiz.

Shoemaker and his colleagues at Chicago-based Franklin Partners LLC, the firm that bought the former Campau Square building in June 2012, are busy identifying new tenants, including Detroit-based personal injury firm Johnson Law PLC, which signed in September.

“Getting Wege and Kellogg, they are more than just tenants,” Shoemaker said. “They’ve long been two of the major philanthropic contributors to this community and they really raise the profile of the building.”

Wege, Kellogg and Johnson Law will join existing tenant Oxford Financial Group Ltd. of Carmel, Ind. in filling out the entire ninth floor.

Both Wege and Kellogg approached Franklin Partners about taking space and were inclined to sign leases based on the downtown location, new building amenities available to staff and the ability to build out their spaces from scratch, Shoemaker said.

Keith Aikens, communications officer for Kellogg Foundation, confirmed that the Battle Creek-based Kellogg Foundation signed the lease for the satellite office, but said “we don’t have a move-in date set yet.”

“The short of it is, 99 Monroe was the right space and right fit and right location,” Aikens said. “Once we get a date set we’ll make an official announcement.”

With program officers doing more work in Grand Rapids, Aikens said the move is just part of larger strategy to be accessible in the communities that the organization serves.

Firms are willing to spend a little more on space given that the supply for Class A office space in the downtown market is getting harder to find while rates are also rising, Shoemaker said, noting that space in the building is going for roughly $22 to $25.50 per square foot.

Construction firm Owen-Ames-Kimball Co., which did the initial $4 million renovation on the building, is helping Kellogg Foundation build out its 2,580-square-feet office, he said. While there is no exact move-in date, the organization is shooting for February.

The Wege Foundation is working with Rockford Construction Co. for its 4,113-square-foot build out, Shoemaker said.

Executive Director Ellen Satterlee confirmed in an email that the Wege Foundation leased space in 99 Monroe, noting the move will likely take place in the summer.

O-A-K is also building out Johnson Law’s 4,407-square-foot office space. The law firm expects to move in at the start of the new year, Shoemaker said.

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