GRAND RAPIDS –– The sibling owners of downtown Grand Rapids bar and music venue The Pyramid Scheme have bought out a long-time partner and are now the sole owners of not only the business, but also the affiliated real estate.
Co-owner Tami VandenBerg first announced the deal on her personal social media pages on Tuesday evening, stating that she and her brother, Jeff VandenBerg, had closed on a deal to acquire the building and an adjacent parking lot.
Tami VandenBerg told MiBiz on Wednesday morning that negotiations with the previous owner had been ongoing for about a year.
“Owning the real estate is everything, especially with the vastly changing real estate market,” VandenBerg said, pointing to several iconic music venues in cities like Chicago and New York that had been closed as neighborhoods changed. “A lot of these iconic clubs eventually get priced out or pushed out when other people want the neighborhood.”
The property transaction had not yet been recorded in public records on Wednesday morning but VandenBerg said the purchase price for the property was $971,710, noting that a loan from the Small Business Association (SBA) helped to finance the deal.
The VandenBergs first opened the bar and music venue at 68 Commerce Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids’ Heartside district in 2012.
The two partnered with Mark Sellers, founder of bar and restaurant group BarFly Ventures LLC, but bought out his shares of the business in the following years.
Grand Rapids-based 68 Commerce LLC, an entity registered to Sellers, continued to own the affiliated property, according to public records.
Sellers told MiBiz that The Pyramid Scheme was the only venture he had been involved in where he served as a landlord, which he wasn’t used to.
Once the VandenBergs completed their due diligence, Sellers said he “couldn’t imagine selling it to someone else.”