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New MiEN Co. HQ planned at former Baker Furniture building along GR riverfront Rendering courtesy of Mathison | Mathison Architects.

New MiEN Co. HQ planned at former Baker Furniture building along GR riverfront

BY Tuesday, September 14, 2021 04:14pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Education-focused furniture manufacturer MiEN Co. plans to consolidate its Walker-based operations into a new headquarters at the former Baker Furniture property along the Grand River in Grand Rapids.

The parcel at 1661 Monroe Ave. NW was purchased on Aug. 16 for $6.3 million by Remco Realty LLC, which is registered to MiEN Co. President and CEO Remco Bergsma, according to property records. 

The mostly vacant property includes two industrial buildings: A 19th-century, five-story historic brick warehouse on the south end of the property, and a 131,000-square-foot single-story warehouse on the north end. The property is on the east side of the Grand River near the intersection of Monroe Avenue and Ann Street Northwest.

Bergsma told MiBiz that MiEN Co. currently operates its warehousing, logistics and corporate offices at multiple locations in Walker. 

Consolidating at the former Baker Furniture site is “the main reason I bought the property,” Bergsma said.

The company hopes to start construction in November and complete its new headquarters by 2023. Site plans before city officials also call for a future residential component, likely along the waterfront side of the property, Bergsma said.

“It’s very much what we needed as a company,” Bergsma said of the consolidation. “It is very difficult to find good warehouse spaces, and we wanted to be downtown. It’s a little expensive for warehouse space, but worth it to have a good location.”

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission later this month will consider plans to allow an addition to the fifth story of the existing building, which would exceed the maximum four-story height allowed in the transitional city center zone district where the property is located. The request for the fifth-floor addition is related to challenges involved with developing the irregularly shaped historical building. 

MiEN Co. has been in business for a decade and currently employs about 70 people. The company grew during the pandemic, said Bergsma, who added that a desirable location is crucial for attracting and retaining employees. 

“It’s a beautiful location. We want to make sure the people who work there love working there,” he said. “We hope to create an environment there with housing and maybe a restaurant, but we don’t know the extent of what that will look like right now.”

The property currently houses storage equipment supplier American Storage and Logistics Inc., which would eventually have to relocate, said Bergsma. 

Mathison | Mathison Architects is the architectural firm for the project, and Rockford Construction Co. serves as the general contractor. 

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