Readers of MiBiz.com voted with their clicks in paying the most attention to news scoops related commercial real estate projects across West Michigan.
Nearly half of the top 30 most-read stories on MiBiz.com this year dealt in some way on the real estate industry, whether for exclusive news on new or scrapped projects, property deals across the region or analysis of one of the region’s most unique project, the Grand Castle.
As well, an analysis of web traffic over the year shows readers also turned to MiBiz for exclusive reporting on West Michigan’s craft brewing industry, breaking news about M&A and in-depth coverage of the region’s manufacturing sector.
Here’s a look back at the most popular stories on MiBiz.com in 2018.
1. Developer cancels downtown GR office project amid low demand
GRAND RAPIDS — With minimal “velocity” in the West Michigan office market, Franklin Partners LLC has backed away from plans to construct a $30 million, 100,000-square-foot glass and steel office project on the south end of downtown.
2. New lounge and restaurant proposed for long-vacant downtown Grand Rapids space
GRAND RAPIDS — Downtown could soon see its first African American-owned bar and restaurant in years.
3. Stately quarters or royal mess? Polarizing Grand Castle embodies developer’s dream for luxury living
GRANDVILLE — Amid an apartment building boom across West Michigan, the Grand Castle stands out in ways few other projects do.
4. Default entered against Boersen Farms in Monsanto case; company faces a new lawsuit
ZEELAND — A embattled West Michigan farm operator failed to answer a federal lawsuit filed against it in Missouri and faces new allegations that it failed to pay its bills.
5. Grand Rapids, Start Garden seek to repair relationship
GRAND RAPIDS — A recent kerfuffle between Grand Rapids economic development officials and executives at Start Garden Inc. highlights the challenges cities face when they try to encourage more entrepreneurial investments.
6. Family-owned apartment building near downtown GR sells for $10.25 million
GRAND RAPIDS — An East Lansing property management firm closed this week on a deal to buy a 107-unit apartment building just east of downtown.
7. Controversy mounts over GR Chamber endorsement of Schuette in race for Michigan governor
GRAND RAPIDS — The backlash against the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce over its controversial endorsement of GOP Michigan gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette continues to percolate.
RELATED: GR Chamber faces backlash over LGBT concerns after Schuette endorsement
8. Partners propose new microbrewery near Rockford
PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP — Three Michigan natives plan to open a new microbrewery in the Rockford area.
9. With pending $13.2 billion deal, JCI to fully exit West Michigan auto supplier operations
HOLLAND — Johnson Controls International plc would exit its last remaining automotive industry manufacturing operations in West Michigan if it completes a transaction with Brookfield Business Partners LP.
10. Magna Mirrors to invest $45M in Newaygo expansion
NEWAYGO — A West Michigan Tier I automotive supplier is investing $45 million into a 175,000-square-foot facility expansion designed to improve workflow and efficiency.
11. Railtown Brewing sues planned Byron Center brewpub, alleging confusingly similar name
DUTTON — An established Grand Rapids-area craft brewery is suing a nearby Byron Center-based brewpub in planning, alleging that the startup’s name is confusingly similar.
12. Brewery Vivant to open second Grand Rapids-area brewery taproom
KENTWOOD — Brewery Vivant is planning to open a satellite facility that will help ease space constraints and give the company a broader reach into the greater Grand Rapids area, MiBiz has learned.
13. New development could transform Walker’s Standale district
WALKER — City planners hope to encourage downtown-style urbanism in the years ahead along a key suburban commercial corridor northwest of Grand Rapids.
14. HERO OF THE DAY? Heavy metal band Metallica grants $100K to GRCC for welding program
GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Community College will receive $100,000 from heavy metal band Metallica to support new programming, the school announced today.
15. Plans for key sites on banks of Grand River unveiled
GRAND RAPIDS — A broad group of stakeholders on Thursday unveiled conceptual plans for re-designing public spaces on both banks of the Grand River through downtown Grand Rapids.
16. JSJ Corp. to close office furniture manufacturer izzy+
GRAND HAVEN — JSJ Corp. plans to wind down office furniture maker izzy+ after 17 years of operation. The manufacturing holding company said today that it would discontinue production of izzy+ branded products and refocus its resources on other manufacturing segments in its portfolio, including automotive, medical and equipment.
17. Fox Motors to purchase pair of Grand Rapids-area dealerships
GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan car dealership group plans to acquire a pair of stores located a mile apart on Plainfield Avenue north of Grand Rapids.
18. Bills would uncork changes for Michigan’s craft beverage industry
A series of bipartisan bills fast-tracked for the state Legislature’s lame-duck session would redefine the laws governing how Michigan-based alcoholic beverage producers operate.
19. Sources: Amazon in talks for distribution center in Kent County
GAINES TOWNSHIP — Developers representing an online retail behemoth are considering a 100-acre site in southern Kent County for a “massive” distribution facility, MiBiz has learned.
20. Alternative lender positions black-owned GR firm for growth
GRAND RAPIDS — When Reliable Medical Transport LLC realized it needed to add vehicles to its fleet to grow the business, founder Rich Flowers ran into some roadblocks familiar to many African American and minority entrepreneurs.