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Sunday, 19 January 2014 21:45

Franklin Partners to acquire vacant Steelcase manufacturing facility

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Chicago-based real estate investment firm Franklin Partners LLC is scooping up another large industrial property in the greater Grand Rapids area.

Franklin Partners plans to close next month on the purchase of an 885,000-square-foot former Steelcase Inc. manufacturing facility at 5565 Broadmoor Avenue in Kentwood, the company confirmed to MiBiz.

The firm is working with the Grand Rapids office of Colliers International on the deal.

Franklin Partners expects to spend roughly $2 million to renovate and segregate the building from the rest of the campus, said Gary Tamminga, facilities manager for Franklin Partners.

With the purchase, Franklin Partners hopes to address the growing concern over the shortage of Class A-type manufacturing facilities in the region, Tamminga said.

While the company has not secured tenants for the facility, it is prepared to configure the building as needed, Tamminga said.

“It’s almost move-in ready as-is,” Tamminga said. “The utilities need to be separated and that’s the biggest thing going forward other than relamping it, getting new paint and taking down some of the internal walls.”

The preparations could take about three months to complete, he said.

The building was built in 1983 and was one of the very first buildings Steelcase erected on its Kentwood campus. As a result of a consolidation in its manufacturing operations, Steelcase announced two years ago that it would vacate the building.

For Tamminga, who spent more than 20 years working in facilities for Steelcase, having the property under his care again is a familiar feeling, he said.

“It’s kind of like déjà vu,” he said. “It’s cool to go back in (these buildings). I’ve basically spent a career in these buildings, and it’s fun to go back and really reinvent the space again.”

This is the second Steelcase property Franklin Partners has purchased. The firm bought and redeveloped the 665,000-square-foot Steelcase plant at 5353 Broadmoor Avenue SE in 2006, which is now fully occupied by Roskam Baking Co.

Before that, Franklin Partners revamped the 915,000-square-foot former Bosch facility on 44th Street, which was built by Stow & Davis Furniture Co., a company later acquired by Steelcase. Working with Colliers, Franklin Partners separated the property into two facilities, selling a portion to X-Rite and leasing the remainder to four other manufacturers.

Currently, Franklin Partners is working to reposition the former Zondervan Publishing facility at 5300 Patterson Avenue. The firm is working with design firm Progressive AE to separate the warehouse space from the office portion of the property.

The latest purchase of the vacant Steelcase facility is a big move for Franklin Partners, Tamminga said, adding that the firm has a lot of activity going on right now. The acquisition comes nearly a month after the firm purchased an office building at 25 Ottawa SW in downtown Grand Rapids, its second downtown facility.

“We know the Steelcase buildings well, and for a manufacturing facility, they’re truly top-of-the-line,” he said. “We’re fortunate to get them and be able offer tenants a first-class building that was spared no expense when they were built. It really differentiates us and our portfolio.”

Read 3565 times Last modified on Sunday, 19 January 2014 22:26

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