The site at the northwest corner of Plainfield Avenue and Grove Street. The site at the northwest corner of Plainfield Avenue and Grove Street. Photo by Nick Manes.

Investor group seeks new developers for Creston neighborhood site in Grand Rapids

BY Friday, July 06, 2018 02:16pm

GRAND RAPIDS –– A long-stalled development proposal in the Creston neighborhood north of downtown Grand Rapids is on the hunt for new owners.

An investor group led by Jeff Baker, CEO of Grand Rapids-based general contractor and real estate development firm First Companies Inc., seeks to sell three parcels comprising 1.76 acres it owns at the northwest corner of Plainfield Avenue and Grove Street.

“We’re trying to get some fresh blood in the neighborhood and keep the momentum of the neighborhood going,” said Bradley Hartwell, principal with North Town Real Estate LLC, a Grand Rapids-based commercial brokerage that’s marketing the site on behalf of Soba LLC, the investor group that owns the property.

The property, listed at $1.75 million, includes the long-vacant Break Room pool hall and a vacant office building.

For the so-called Soba site, Hartwell said he anticipates a new developer would likely move forward with another mixed-use proposal, given the zoning and the neighborhood.

Additionally, the size of the site offers ample surface parking, according to Hartwell, and a large anchor retailer may be a possibility.

“A 10,000-square-foot user would be a gamechanger (for the neighborhood),” he said, adding that he also hopes to get interest from out-of-market development groups which have been showing more interest in Grand Rapids in recent years.

The property was originally part of a mixed-use development proposed in 2014 by 616 Development LLC, which never materialized.

Another portion of that development planned to the northeast at Plainfield and Quimby Avenue also has yet to materialize. The buildings at that site were demolished earlier this year.

Matt Sink, chief operating officer of First Companies, told MiBiz on Friday morning that the firm expects to begin construction on that site by the end of 2018.

That property is still owned by an affiliate of 616 Development, according to Kent County property records. However, it’s unclear if 616 would still serve as the developer for that site.

"While we (616 Development) work on this project, and aggressively expand into new markets, we feel it is the most responsible course of action - for all stakeholders involved in this project - to explore all options," Derek Coppess, the company’s founder, told MiBiz.

The investor group behind the Plainfield and Quimby proposal is largely comprised of many of the same investors as the Soba site, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comment from Derek Coppess of 616 Development.

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