Real Estate/Development

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VICKSBURG — A proposed large-scale redevelopment in Southwest Michigan is angling to be the second project in the state to use a new funding tool. Paper City Development LLC is hopeful its proposal will meet the Michigan Strategic Fund’s criteria to use the state’s transformational brownfield program, an incentive first enacted in 2017.

David Denton says even though e-commerce is affecting the retail market, he’s expecting another good year for the sector from a real estate development perspective. Denton, vice president of real estate brokerage at DAR Development in Grand Rapids, was recently named to the Midwest Real Estate News Hall of Fame and previously served as president of the Commercial Alliance of Realtors.

A Grand Rapids-based development group has proposed plans to activate Grand Rapids Public Schools’ long-vacant West Leonard Elementary facility.

Holt-based Moore Trosper Construction Co. has opened an office in Sault Ste. Marie in an effort to work with the local Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

The real estate and development arm of Livonia-based Schostak Brothers & Co. has purchased a 950,000-square-foot distribution facility in Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Kent County Road Commission is evaluating one bid valued at more than $5 million for its property on the Grand River. The Road Commission in December released a notice of sale for its Central Complex property located at 1500 Scribner Ave. NW along the west bank of the Grand River near U.S. 131. According to the Road Commission, 2722 Vassar LLC, which is registered to Christopher Weller, was the only entity to submit a bid.

A proposed headquarters project in Cascade Charter Township could become the home for Acrisure LLC, a Caledonia-based insurance brokerage that’s been growing rapidly through an ambitious M&A strategy. 

Two lakeshore communities are rethinking how former industrial sites will play a role in future development along their waterfronts. 

To help make Bronson South Haven Hospital more efficient, the owners are planning to shrink the facility’s footprint as part of a compact, contemporary health village design. Kalamazoo-based Bronson Healthcare, which acquired the former South Haven Health System in 2017, tapped Elzinga & Volkers Inc. to lead the $22 million project, which exemplifies a shift away from the inefficient designs of the past.

A $44 million hotel development in downtown Kalamazoo has secured project funding from the state of Michigan.

A project to construct townhomes in the city’s Michigan Oaks neighborhood gained financial support from the state on Tuesday.

Developers hope to begin construction this summer on housing and commercial space at a former church on the west side of Grand Rapids.

Hotel development in West Michigan remains on a torrid pace for 2019. Developers have plans to add more than 800 new rooms this year, with developments popping up in downtown Grand Rapids and in suburban areas surrounding the city. At the same time, although annual hotel occupancy dipped slightly for 2018, hotel revenue actually increased, a reflection of record room bookings.

Trillium Ventures MSV LLC, a Grand Rapids-based multifamily investment and property management firm, has acquired two Kalamazoo apartment complexes.

Pending finalization of the building’s purchase agreement, Gaia Cafe and the Division Avenue Arts Collective LLC have a clearer path to opening in Grand Rapids’ Creston neighborhood.

Grocery chain operator and food distributor SpartanNash Co. plans to open a small-format Forest Hills Foods store in the Grand Rapids suburb of Ada.

GRAND RAPIDS — Three Grand Rapids women on a mission to “keep Creston funky” have entered into a partnership to bring back Gaia Cafe and The Division Avenue Arts Collective LLC, this time in the city’s north quarter neighborhood. The partners are under contract to purchase a vacant 4,972-square-foot building at 1553 Plainfield Ave. NE, which has commercial space on the ground floor and a two-bedroom apartment on the second level.

GRAND RAPIDS — A strip shopping center along 28th Street has new owners. Grand Central Plaza, located at 2035 28th St. in Grand Rapids, was sold to an undisclosed Michigan-based firm, according to NAI Wisinski of West Michigan.

A co-op hopes to open a grocery store as part of a larger mixed-use project just south of downtown Grand Rapids.

The state will help fund the cleanup of a contaminated former dry cleaner in Wyoming to make way for a redevelopment project.

For years, the city of Hudsonville wanted to encourage developers to create a more traditional downtown for the Ottawa County community. Officials often found themselves in a Catch 22 in trying to spur those kinds of development projects. Because the city lacked what’s traditionally classified as a downtown area, the local government was unable to seek funding incentives for developers, which in turn hindered the growth of a centralized urban area.

MUSKEGON — A deal to redevelop the former Ameribank building is making headway, but the project remains contingent on incentives from the city and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Muskegon developer John Essex, managing partner and president of Core Development LLC, submitted a formal purchase agreement to the city prior to the Jan. 30 deadline. If the project goes ahead, it would transform a partially demolished building into a new use in the core of the city’s downtown.

KALAMAZOO — Southwest Michigan’s largest city is radically rethinking how its street network connects its people to neighborhoods, businesses and major institutions. In a January agreement with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the city of Kalamazoo accomplished a long-standing goal of getting back under local control the major streets through its downtown and into adjacent neighborhoods. Now, officials want to reconfigure the streets into a multi-modal part of the city’s urban center.

GRAND RAPIDS — A private investment group has purchased a downtown commercial office building at 61 Commerce Ave. SW for $4 million, MiBiz has learned. An investment group affiliated with Byron Center-based E5 Ventures LLC bought the five-story, 28,245-square-foot commercial office building from ProCare Corporate Headquarters LLC. The transaction closed on Jan. 14.

A corner commercial building along the East Fulton Street corridor in Grand Rapids is under new ownership.

GRAND RAPIDS — Developers relied on low-income tax credits to add nearly 2,000 units of affordable housing in the city over the last five years. While the credits provide key gap financing to affordable housing developers, officials who administer the funding say the program is consistently “oversubscribed,” leading to delays for new projects.

WALKER — With a massive amount of new housing in the works, the city of Walker hopes to further define its identity. Developers have planned and the city has approved more than 400 housing units for the Grand Rapids suburb, including 206 single-family units and up to 221 multifamily residences.

Federal tax reform means multiple benefits to the real estate industry, although some further guidance is needed for investors to fully understand what that means. After President Donald Trump signed into law the most sweeping changes to the U.S. federal tax code since 1986 with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, experts pointed to the real estate sector as one of the winners with the reforms.

Van Wyk Risk Solutions has signed a lease to occupy Class A office space in the new Warner Building downtown.

Kingma’s Market will close its store in Ada almost 18 months after opening the second location.

GRAND RAPIDS — The construction industry, both nationally and statewide, continues to express persistent concerns related to a labor shortage and escalating construction costs in the year ahead. 

One of the most active development and property management firms in Grand Rapids in the years after the Great Recession now faces liquidation, MiBiz has learned.

Pioneer Construction Co. will serve as construction manager for the city’s renovation of VandenBerg Plaza, known commonly as Calder Plaza.

The proposed sale of a site on the west bank of the Grand River could offer the property’s next owner a chance to fulfill some community goals for the city’s waterfront.

Executives at nonprofit development organizations think the dissolution of the Kent County Land Bank Authority will affect their operations, even if some of the specific effects will remain unknown until the agency is officially closed.

The Greenwich Hospitality Group has acquired a northern Michigan beachside resort hotel.

Two department store properties in West Michigan will hit the auction block this month.

The Hinman Co. is expanding its property holdings with the acquisition of a downtown Kalamazoo building.

KALAMAZOO — A market aims to “fill the void of groceries” for those living in downtown Kalamazoo.

Even with a number of large-scale projects being built, West Michigan developers say they’re still thinking big for 2019. Multiple real estate and construction executives say they see no sign of the industry slowing down in the new year, although many believe companies’ focus could shift away from market-rate housing in downtown Grand Rapids. 

Rex Bell has served as president of Miller-Davis Co. for the last 22 years and has never seen a worker shortage like the company faces today. It’s a problem he expects to continue throughout 2019. With a busy year ahead for the Kalamazoo-based general contracting firm that focuses on higher education, K-12, nonprofit and industrial projects, he hopes for a renewed focus on training by companies and encouraging high school students to go into skilled trades.

For Housing Next Executive Director Ryan Kilpatrick, 2018 has been about laying the groundwork to get more affordable housing online in Ottawa County. Next year is “where the rubber hits the road,” when more than 600 new housing units will come online, with more yet in the pipeline, Kilpatrick said. Since January, Kilpatrick has worked with multiple municipalities to increase the amount of affordable housing in the county. He expects more tangible results to emerge in 2019. 

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