Real Estate/Development

SPONSORED BY ROCKFORD CONSTRUCTION COMPANY

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. 

Ask Planning Director Mike Franzak what’s going on in Muskegon right now, and he can rattle off a long list of projects either under construction or well into the planning stages. There’s so much activity, in fact, that the lakeshore city has started to think about issues like parking facilities after the many vacant former Muskegon Mall parcels downtown have been developed. 

More so than many other areas of the country, West Michigan has experienced tremendous growth in 2018, according to Anirban Basu, who serves as the chief economist of the Associated Builders and Contractors, a national trade group. His outlook is less rosy for 2019, which could be a transitional year for the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, he thinks 2020 could be the beginnings of the next economic downturn. 

As the construction industry continues to expand, companies with the best culture will find the most success. So says Mike Novakoski, the president and CEO of Holland-based general contractor Elzinga & Volkers Inc. Like many of the region’s construction managers, the company finds itself with a strong backlog heading into the New Year and few signs of a slowdown.

A new year means a fresh start for the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership. Andrew Haan, president of the nonprofit organization, said with the beginning of the Downtown Economic Growth Authority and the rebranding of the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, formerly known as Downtown Kalamazoo Inc., there’s a more stable future moving forward as the city continues to grow. 

Catalyst Development Co. LCC’s latest project in Kalamazoo, located at the southwest corner of North Edwards Street and Water Street, will bring more housing, offices and parking spaces to the growing downtown, which could spark some more retail development in the area. That’s according to Managing Director and Vice President Patti Owens, who said she does not see a slowdown in development coming any time soon for the Kalamazoo area. 

After a busy year on K-12 school projects, Triangle Associates Inc. is expecting more of the same in 2019 with the passage of multiple school bonds in the November midterm election. According to Senior Vice President and Partner Mitch Watt, these long-term school projects will carry the general contractor in the event of a slowdown in the construction market.

GRAND RAPIDS — To the disappointment of executives and several nonprofits present, the Kent County Board of Commissioners voted today to dissolve the Kent County Land Bank Authority.

GRAND RAPIDS — The public body that owns a 14.2-acre “opportunity site” along the Grand River is seeking bids on the property for a possible sale.

The developer of a proposed downtown hotel tower received approval today for state cleanup funding.

GRAND RAPIDS — Dr. Norman Beauchamp hopes a new innovation center at the Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Center downtown will help get clinical discoveries to patients faster.

WALKER — A specialty chemicals company has scooped up space at a Walker-based industrial park for an eventual expansion of its West Michigan operations.

A public-private partnership approved today by the Michigan State University board of trustees will continue development of the downtown Grand Rapids Research Center campus.

GRAND RAPIDS — A contaminated former gas station property in Grand Rapids will be redeveloped after being receiving brownfield funding from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Watermark Properties announced today that it will purchase Macatawa Legends Golf Club in Holland.

GRAND RAPIDS — Nine proposed affordable housing projects in West Michigan have been awarded tax credits.

With vacancy rates across all commercial real estate sectors at near record lows in West Michigan, industry executives say buyers have increasingly turned their attention to vacant land.

Stakeholders in West Michigan’s commercial real estate, architecture and construction industries are coming off another big year for development and see few signs that indicate a significant slowdown in 2019. 

WALKER — Falk North America Inc. is the latest company to plan a move into WalkerView Industrial Park. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Five distinct areas of Grand Rapids’ southside likely will soon have an Area Specific Plan (ASP) to help guide development. 

GRANDVILLE — A 20-year-old mall in southwestern Kent County could potentially turn into a mixed-use “mini-city,” or be repositioned for a sale.

HUDSONVILLE — With a significant number of available jobs in the U.S. and persistently low national unemployment, companies looking for workers will struggle in 2019.