Real Estate/Development

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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.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP — West Michigan’s retail sector continues to attract investment from outside the state amid an active real estate market.

WALKER — City planners hope to encourage downtown-style urbanism in the years ahead along a key suburban commercial corridor northwest of Grand Rapids.

GRANDVILLE –– Amid an apartment building boom across West Michigan, the Grand Castle stands out in ways few other projects do.

The rising price of steel and other building materials might cause sticker shock for some developers, but the costs are doing little to curb building activity around West Michigan.

Numerous public and private entities have turned their focus to restoring the Grand River through downtown Grand Rapids. While the new efforts remain in the early stages, they have the potential to redefine how West Michigan’s largest city interacts with its riverfront. In this multi-part report by reporter Nick Manes, MiBiz examines what the restoration process could mean for future investment, past and current projects, and a case study of how one Great Lakes city used its riverfront to concentrate redevelopment. 

West Michigan commercial real estate industry insiders see signs of a genuinely healthy market, albeit one that’s likely plateaued. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Efforts to restore the rapids in the Grand River might be a year or more away from launching, but stakeholders already have started thinking about opportunities the project will create throughout downtown.

City planners and other stakeholders are refocusing on revitalizing the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. However, that focus isn’t entirely new. An analysis done by MiBiz finds the Grand River corridor in and around downtown has received around three quarters of a billion dollars in public and private investment since the mid 1980s. Projects like the DeVos Place Convention Center, River House Condominiums and The Homes at River’s Edge have embraced the proximity to the river as an asset, even given its largely passive state. Here’s a look at some of the major projects. 

In anticipation of a multifaceted effort to restore the Grand River through downtown Grand Rapids, numerous public and private partners are coming together to activate a number of key sites along the riverbanks.

MILWAUKEE — As a wide variety of stakeholders push forward with revitalizing the Grand River corridor through downtown Grand Rapids, they have no shortage of other cities they can look to for best practices.

Grand Rapids officials contend they’re open to bringing the medical marijuana industry to the city, but the zoning proposed for businesses in the new sector seems to suggest otherwise. 

The emergence of PFAS contamination in Kent County’s Plainfield Township and at other sites in Michigan and around the world has environmental consulting firms racing to catch up. Grand Rapids-based Fishbeck Thompson Carr & Huber Inc. (FTC&H) recently opened a new division aimed at addressing PFAS issues. Dr. Fernanda Wilson, the practice’s environmental engineering lead, spoke with MiBiz about the widespread issues with the chemicals, which for decades were used for industrial purposes, fire-fighting foam and consumer goods.

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

GRAND RAPIDS — Amid Grand Rapids’ ongoing apartment-building boom, commercial real estate developers also are noticing demand for urban condominiums. 

News that The Hinman Co. plans to move forward with its long-planned tower in downtown Grand Rapids — albeit without 29 floors of residential units — indicated to many observers that the bottom has fallen out of the city’s apartment market.

As West Michigan law firms focus on talent recruitment and greater efficiencies, they increasingly are upgrading to modern, first-generation office space. 

Construction executives in West Michigan — known for its concentration of “merit shops” — generally speak favorably of the recent repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law.

GRAND RAPIDS –– New data on hotel rates across the Midwest offered some sobering analysis on the cost of a room in downtown Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS — When New Development Corp. rehabilitates older homes before selling them to qualified low-income families, the organization takes great care to remove contaminants like lead.

The uncertain future of Rivertown Crossings Mall in Grandville has cast a pall over West Michigan’s retail real estate market, where demand from new entrants is strong but places to put them remain in short supply.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling expected this summer could either clarify or bring further uncertainty to the debate over when states can force online retailers to collect sales taxes.

MUSKEGON — A dozen years ago, after the demolition of the former Muskegon Mall, an eight-block area in the heart of downtown sat vacant, filled with sand, shells of vacant buildings and few people.

It’s been a tumultuous time for large retailers as consumers gravitate to the convenience of e-commerce and consciously shift their buying habits to local options. As these shifts continue to drive change and stress in the retail industry, many stakeholders still believe it offers significant opportunity. In separate interviews, MiBiz connected with retail advisers to gather their thoughts on the state of the industry, why it’s changing and where it’s going. They were:

The local and national retail industry faces many headwinds, but reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

As developers have largely focused on apartment projects around Grand Rapids in recent years, many housing advocates say the demand for single-family homes and ownership options have gone unmet.

In an era of increasing labor and material costs, Michigan contractors and building owners now face another issue that is sending construction costs higher.

GRAND RAPIDS — Proposals to upzone several Grand Rapids neighborhoods in an attempt to address housing issues have exposed deep divisions among local stakeholders.

With a historic renovation project in Detroit, a Grand Rapids-based construction management firm is positioning itself for the next step in its regional expansion.

GRAND RAPIDS –– When developer Franklin Partners LLC brings its proposed seven-story downtown office tower to market in the coming years, it will offer tenants Class A office space that’s currently in short supply across the city.

GRAND RAPIDS — Demand remains strong for urban apartments, although occupancy rates for the burgeoning market have begun to slip as new units come online. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Planners and neighborhood stakeholders believe that investing in some basic infrastructure in downtown Grand Rapids’ Heartside district could help spur equitable economic development.

GRAND RAPIDS –– After a largely procedural vote striking down a resolution to boost the inventory of public parking in Grand Rapids, city commissioners will likely reconsider the idea now that it’s gone through the proper channels.

GRAND RAPIDS –– In considering redevelopment plans for public property at 201 Market Avenue, the city weighed drastically different options.

As 2017 comes to a close, West Michigan’s construction and development industry continues to show signs of strength.

While inventory remains constrained, the value of commercial real estate transactions continues to gather momentum in West Michigan.

BYRON TOWNSHIP –– As Kent County looks to exit the landfill business by 2030, executives say West Michigan’s construction industry will need to adjust to a new model.

GRAND RAPIDS –– West Michigan leaders believe they made a compelling case for the region to serve as the home to online retail giant Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters.

GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan real estate firm has moved to settle a federal civil lawsuit alleging it engaged in racketeering and other fraudulent activities by charging higher rents at properties once intended for affordable housing.

As Michigan prepares to begin licensing medical marijuana businesses at the end of this year, the industry hopes for a windfall of new business and development opportunities, at least for communities willing to take advantage of them.

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