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Sunday, 11 May 2014 22:00

Logistics provider moves 70 employees to Grand Rapids’ west side

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Third-party logistics provider C.H. Robinson moved its local offices from Cascade Township to Grand Rapids, where it leased 10,000 square feet in American Seating Park on the city’s west side. The 70-person office hopes to grow to about 100 people in the next three to five years, executives said. Third-party logistics provider C.H. Robinson moved its local offices from Cascade Township to Grand Rapids, where it leased 10,000 square feet in American Seating Park on the city’s west side. The 70-person office hopes to grow to about 100 people in the next three to five years, executives said. COURTESY PHOTO

A Fortune 500 third-party logistics firm with offices in Grand Rapids recently moved 70 employees from the suburbs to city’s northwest side.

Next up: C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: CHRW) plans to add at least another 30 employees to the office over the next three to five years.

The company moved into about 10,000 square feet at the American Seating Park building at 801 Broadway Avenue NW in the city of Grand Rapids.

The move is part of an effort to strengthen recruitment and retention efforts within the company’s regional sales and account management office, said Matt Albers, general manager for the firm.

“Our old space just wasn’t working out,” he said. “We typically hire a young workforce — most right out of college. Being out in the suburbs with nothing going on didn’t exactly help with recruiting, so we started looking at downtown.”

The firm had operated out of a facility on Kraft Avenue south of 28th Street in Cascade Township. It added 10 new employees to the West Michigan office in the last year and is shooting to hit the 100-employee mark within the next three to five years, Albers said.

When the time comes to add more staff, C.H. Robinson also has right of first refusal to an additional 2,000 square feet directly adjacent to the new office.

C.H. Robinson is the latest addition to an expanding list of tenants at the American Seating campus that includes pharmacogenetic testing outfit ArticDx Inc., film production firm Storytelling Pictures LLC and human resources provider Axios Inc. The property also houses 20 condo units that are 100-percent occupied.

The American Seating Park property is owned by Thomas Beckering, the former president of Pioneer Construction Co., the firm that is performing the build outs for new tenants, including C.H. Robinson.

While the building has 145,000 square feet of commercial space, only 6,000 square feet is currently available — and even that has three potential tenants eyeing it, said Chris Beckering, director of business development for Pioneer Construction Co.

“The downtown office market — and in particular the west side — is experiencing a major uptick in office leasing activity,” Chris Beckering said. “Rates and terms are on the rise as tenants are demanding higher-end office build outs.”

Nearly 40,000 square feet of space has been leased at the American Seating Park over the last 18 months, he said.

The C.H. Robinson office features an open floor plan and large panoramic windows with views of downtown.

“We saw around 20 spaces, but felt the American Seating building was a perfect match,” Albers said. “The downtown vibe truly captures our workforce, which has a work-hard, play-hard mentality.”

The Eden Prairie, Minn.-based logistics provider has offices in Detroit, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, but the new Grand Rapids space is the firm’s largest operation in the state, Albers said. The firm works with many of the area’s Fortune 500 companies and numerous local businesses, he added.

“We wanted to put down more roots here,” Albers said. “From an economic development standpoint, there is a lot going in West Michigan, and we want to be able to support that business. We’re deep in the supply chain and many companies here actually make something, so we want to be a bigger part of that.”

The logistics provider first opened a West Michigan presence in 1989. Today, its West Michigan customers include Lacks Enterprises Inc., ADAC Automotive, Old Orchard Brands LLC and Wolverine World Wide Inc., Albers said.

The company as a whole provides freight transportation and logistics, outsourced solutions, produce sourcing and information services to more than 46,000 customers worldwide. It claims one of largest freight brokerage networks in the world, including about 63,000 providers spanning on-road, intermodal, rail, air and maritime transportation options. The company has over 11,000 employees and more than 285 offices in 40 countries.

C.H. Robinson reported more than $12.75 billion in sales last year.

Steve Millman, owner of NorthStar Commercial, along with C.H. Robinson’s corporate real estate adviser, Mohr Partners Inc., brokered the company’s five-year lease. The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a ribbon cutting and open house at the new office at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, May 15.

Read 8638 times Last modified on Friday, 09 May 2014 15:44

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