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Elijah Brumback

Elijah Brumback

Staff Writer

[email protected]

Monday, 02 September 2013 22:00

Retailers hone biz models for urban markets

As developers have turned their attention to adding residential units in and around downtown Grand Rapids, they’re helping to create an environment that’s more conducive for urban retailers.

A Grand Rapids-based development firm that made a recent buy in the Battle Creek market says it plans to offer much-needed residential units to the downtown market, as well as help bring a new hotel to the area.

GRAND RAPIDS — As the national professional organization for architects discusses ways it can become more relevant, the local chapter is also searching for a way to become the go-to resource for the profession in West Michigan.

Developers looking to shelter gains from the sale of one property and use them for the purchase of another have a legitimate method to execute such an exchange, but the technique does often require the help of outside experts.

Sunday, 04 August 2013 21:46

Top Real Estate Deals

Deal volume and activity that produced a late surge in closings at the end of 2012 kept the pace of activity rolling through the first half of 2013. Investment activity in the industrial market saw several properties change hands, while space in both the office and retail markets saw increased absorption along with increased rental rates.


1. The massive former Zondervan Publishing headquarters complex at 5300 Patterson Avenue was recently purchased by Franklin Partners, the same Chicago-based firm that is wrapping up work on the 99 Monroe office building in the Grand Rapids central business district. The company plans to downsize the Zondervan building by almost 100,000 square feet and separate it into two standalone facilities offering 200,000 square feet of industrial space and 100,000 square feet of Class A office. In the current market, brokers expect the separated properties will attract plenty of interest as activity in both the industrial and Class A office markets is up.

2. Crosslake Partners, a Rosemont,Ill.-based real estate investment trust (REIT), closed in June on a seven-building industrial portfolio for $29.2 million. Six of the seven properties are located in Norton Shores, Walker and Grand Rapids. The facilities ranged in size from 107,000 square feet to more than 335,000 square feet. The industrial properties have 23 existing tenants — include Wacker Neuson, Tubelite and PIPP Mobile Storage — and are 75-percent leased.

3. Undercar Products Group, a subsidiary of Canadian Tier I auto supplier ABC Group, recently leased 100,000 square feet at 4247 Eastern Avenue in Wyoming.

4 Automotive supplier II Stanley leased 22,500 square feet of industrial space at 770 Watkins Road in Battle Creek. The move was the second expansion for the company since it moved into the building less than a year ago. II Stanley now occupies the entire building for a total of 72,500 square feet.


5. Thirty-Eight, the eight-story office and residential building at 38 Commerce Avenue in Grand Rapids, was sold to MP1 LCC of East Lansing in deal that includes local partners and East Lansing-based Maplegrove Property Management. Sellers Locus Development built the facility three years ago. The price was undisclosed.

6. American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust, a New York-based REIT, recently purchased 6105 Wilson Avenue SW. The 53,000-square-foot building is fully leased to Spectrum Health for nine years.

7. The historic Heritage Tower and an adjacent building in Battle Creek were purchased by Grand Rapids-based 616 Development LLC. The 19-story, 123,000-square-foot tower is partially condemned, but 616 is in the planning process to redevelop the building into residential units.

8. The parking lot at the corner of Fulton Street and Sheldon Avenue in Grand Rapids is set for redevelopment after being purchased by developer Karl Chew, who’s planning a $32 million, 14-story housing complex on the site.


9. The former Walgreens store at 956 Michigan Street NE was sold for $950,000. The building is roughly 12,500 square feet and is slated for redevelopment as a new Goodwill store.

10. The Applebee’s located at 3851 Alpine Avenue in Comstock Park was sold to Breens Inc., an Illinois-based uniform and rental company, for $2.6 million. The 5,744 square-foot building was acquired from Green Alpine LLC. Applebee’s has nearly 15 years remaining on its lease and has been in that location since 2008, according to reports.

11. The former Frank’s Nursery at 2450 28th Street SE was sold to a group of local investors for $1 million. A Family Dollar still exists on the 30,250-square-foot property and a Tim Horton’s is planned in late 2013 for a new outlot that fronts the street.

The lessons learned from pre-recession deal making are still fresh in the minds of those working in commercial real estate, but brokers say activity across market segments in West Michigan is starting to heat up.

A rundown of the most high-profile projects in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek and why they matter.

The commercial real estate markets in Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties still tell a story of recovery. While companies continue to improve their performance and pump life back into their balance sheets, some brokers in the market are watching from the sidelines, waiting for the action to heat up. 

It’s a good time to be an architect — except in the Midwest.

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