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Elijah Brumback

Elijah Brumback

Staff Writer

[email protected]

KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan University plans to offer a new degree to complement the demands of companies looking for new skilled workers.

Starting in the fall, WMU will roll out its Master of Arts in Leadership for Organizational Learning and Performance program.

GRAND RAPIDS — Finding funds for much needed services like infrastructure improvements is challenging when local governments are in a constant cost-cutting mode.

The Grand Valley Metro Council, tasked with finding funding to maintain the city's roadways and other mobility issues, has used a Pavement Management System (PaMS) to track the condition of local infrastructure, including signage, since 1995.

Public-private partnerships may be messy and complex, but they provide the best opportunities to push forward on transformational development projects.

Michigan's startup energy technology and manufacturing companies need working public-private partnerships to succeed and prosper. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Tapestry Square, the Wealthy-Jefferson Development Initiative developed by the Inner City Christian Federation, is but the first step in a potential six-phase, more than $60 million revitalization project to transform a key city neighborhood over the next five years.

The project, which stems back to 1991 when ICCF joined with the South East Community Association and began a preservation plan, covers a wide swath of territory from Cherry Street on the north to Franklin Street on the South, bordered by Lafayette and Division Avenue.

GRAND RAPIDS — A local public-private partnership continues to forge a new path for college-preparatory education in the city. 

Grand Rapids University Prep Academy (UPrep) will officially break ground on a new $9 million project including a three-story, 53,260-square-foot building on Division Avenue just south of downtown Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS — A familiar name in the West Michigan construction industry hopes to reignite his passion for the business at a company started by some of his former employees.

John Wheeler, the former CEO and co-founder of Rockford Construction Company Inc., joined Orion Construction Inc. late last year after a three-year hiatus from the industry. In 2009, he sold his shares in Rockford to 17 members of the firm and sold off 36 other real estate holdings, but he said he maintains a working relationship with his former colleagues as they collectively still own real estate partnerships together.

KALAMAZOO — If a redevelopment plan secures state incentive support, several of Western Michigan University's slowly decaying legacy buildings could be preserved for private commercial use. 

Dallas, Texas-based KDC Real Estate Development & Investments proposes to convert the university's historic East Campus into a boutique hotel, commercial office space and housing development in a project estimated to cost between $50 million and $60 million.

ALLEGAN — Rather than meet with the wrecking ball, a historic church in Allegan found a second life as a senior living center thanks to a developer who persevered to assemble the right mix of tax credits. 

Ohio-based Excel Realty Group secured the tax credits that made the deal possible to save the structure, which was built in 1892 and had served as a church until 2001.

GRAND RAPIDS — Legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder paves the way for a new wave of higher education construction projects in Michigan, including two projects in West Michigan. 

The capital outlay bill spreads $305 million in state funds to 18 projects across the state. With both state and university funds, the projects represent about $613 million worth of development and renovations.

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