GRAND RAPIDS — Integrated Architecture LLC is starting construction this week to renovate a 13,600-square-foot building north of downtown into its new headquarters.
The West Michigan architecture and engineering firm will invest about $2 million into the property at 840 Ottawa Ave. NW, said Mike Corby, executive vice president of Integrated Architecture. The firm’s current office in Kentwood has been sold to another unnamed company, Corby said.
Integrated Architecture plans to occupy the newly renovated space in the Monroe North district in mid to late November this year.
“There was a time when a large percentage of our work was out of the area, so we had to be in somewhat close proximity to the airport,” Corby said. “Now, a greater percentage of our work is local and we’ve been heavily involved in a number of projects downtown and a lot of our clients are downtown.”
The new office will be designed for 70 people, Corby said, but 50 people will move into the building initially, with the opportunity for growth.
“A lot of the staff was very interested in being closer to downtown,” Corby said. “The whole vibe of the downtown area is attractive, not just to visit, but to work and be part of that collaborative atmosphere.”
The architecture and engineering firm first proposed the headquarters relocation project in 2017, as MiBiz reported at the time.
Renovation work on the building will include removing most of the interior walls, but leaving some interior brick trusses and window areas mostly as they are now, Corby said. New metal and glass paneling will be added to the exterior to have a “completely new look,” Corby said.
Anything new on the interior will be “very clean,” glass, drywall or metal to contrast with the exposed brick from the original structure, Corby said.
The south side of the property includes an existing parking lot, which will be paved to allow for 26 parking spaces and a couple of electric vehicle chargers. An entryway will be added to the southwest corner of the building, as well as a porch area.
“We like the idea of having a nice porch to greet visitors and have a little more of a hospitable feel,” Corby said.
Integrated Architecture is working with Caledonia-based FCC Construction Inc. for the exterior and site work, and Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction Co. Inc. for the interior improvements. Van Haren Electric Inc. and River City Mechanical Inc. are also part of the renovation project.
Meanwhile, Grand Rapids-based health system Spectrum Health has recently been amassing property in the Monroe North business district near its planned $100 million Center for Transformation and Innovation, as MiBiz reported in March.
“We’re very aware of the potential for Spectrum Health to expand in the area,” Corby said. “There is a lot of good stuff happening. It’s very accessible, I think people are very excited to plug into downtown in a meaningful way.”
The project has received support from the city and the local business association. IA840 LLC, an Integrated Architecture-affiliated entity, received an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Exemption to save about $22,000 a year. The property falls within the borders of the DDA and Monroe North Tax Incremental Financing Authority.
“That support was very instrumental,” Corby said. “It’s nice to take a building that’s been vacant for over a dozen years now and bring it back to life and help with the resurgence of that area.”
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