Real Estate/Development

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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.

The DeVos family office announced Monday that it has agreed to purchase a vacant office building in downtown Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS — A proposed housing development is seeking approvals from the city and state before moving forward in the Belknap Lookout neighborhood.

GRAND RAPIDS — A Grand Rapids nonprofit is beginning efforts to create a land trust that will allow for low-income home ownership in the city’s core neighborhoods.

Two major Southwest Michigan development projects are moving forward after receiving approval for state incentives.

GRAND RAPIDS — The non-gaming arm of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi has acquired a downtown building for its headquarters as it looks to grow its federal contracting business, MiBiz has learned. 

An East Lansing property management firm closed this week on a deal to buy a 107-unit apartment building just east of downtown.

A New York City investment firm has scooped up two apartment complexes southwest of Grand Rapids in a series of deals totaling more than $215.3 million, MiBiz has learned.

GRAND RAPIDS — Downtown could soon see its first African American-owned bar and restaurant in years.

GRAND RAPIDS —  is the new owner of two more properties along the Michigan Street corridor. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Changes involving a pair of West Michigan commercial real estate brokerages could signal future growth opportunities for the firms, sources say. 

GRAND RAPIDS — A broad group of stakeholders on Thursday unveiled conceptual plans for re-designing public spaces on both banks of the Grand River through downtown Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Bridge Street corridor west of downtown Grand Rapids continues to serve as a magnet for new housing options.

EAST LANSING — Martin Commercial Properties Inc., an East Lansing-based commercial real estate brokerage with a Grand Rapids office, will end its 20-year affiliate relationship with CBRE Inc. at the end of this year.

GRAND RAPIDS — With minimal “velocity” in the West Michigan office market, Franklin Partners LLC has backed away from plans to construct a $30 million, 100,000-square-foot glass and steel office project on the south end of downtown. 

Four business expansions in West Michigan that will collectively generate $110.3 million in investment and create more than 280 jobs earned state incentives today.

Bradley Co. LLC wants to bolster its presence in West Michigan’s commercial real estate market via a new acquisition.

GRAND RAPIDS — A development group hopes that a small mixed-use project will fill a long-time hole in the city’s Heartside neighborhood south of downtown, MiBiz has learned.

A recent investment in a Grand Rapids office complex could serve as the template for what executives hope will become a new platform for West Michigan real estate investment.

GRAND RAPIDS — Red Oak Capital GP LLC wants to capitalize on the strong economy by seeking investors for a new fund that will offer senior lines of credit for commercial real estate deals.

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