West Michigan Economy

Trends in Real Estate
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Our Commercial Real Estate Trends segment. Today's topic is Property Management and our guests are Anne Ficeli and Elizabeth Slane.

From Where I Sit

Mar 1, 2016

From Where I Sit, a monthly interview with office furniture industry analyst Mike Dunlap. Today we talk about Business Furniture.

Courtesy project photo

Amid continued growth in the greater Grand Rapids hospitality industry, a Thursday ribbon cutting celebrated the city's newest downtown-area hotel.

The 5-level, 142-room Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton is located on Dudley Place, along the Grand Rapids Medical Mile corridor - about a mile from the start of the city’s downtown core.

Project partners also highlight its proximity to Midtown – a neighborhood experiencing significant redevelopment – as an added benefit for expected area growth.

Downtown Grand Rapids

Multiple city of Grand Rapids-owned properties may be listed for sale.

The properties include the riverfront site of the city’s former "mystery project" at 201 Market Ave. SW, currently housing the Department of Public Works.

That and four other parcels are identified as potential listings. 

Officials say the goal is redevelopment, and it’s not a new idea – noting its fit under Transformation Plan objectives of 'Economic Opportunity' and 'Nurturing an Environment for Business'.

Wikimedia | Paul Joseph

Oceana County in western Michigan is getting its first microbrewery as craft brewing in the state continues to expand and thrive.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports Big Hart Brewing Company in Hart will feature 12 beers on tap.

Designed to represent the owners' love for the community, the microbrewery includes bricks from a recently-demolished local building and other unique touches. It opens this weekend.

General Manager Phil Thomson says those involved in the microbrewery seek "to shine a light on Hart and what it has to offer."

Switch | courtesy The Right Place

Construction is taking place at the site of a tech company's expansion into western Michigan and the data center is on track to open this year.

Roger Martin, a spokesman for the project by Nevada-based Switch, says in an email late Thursday that more than 70 workers from a number of western Michigan companies are working at the site in Kent County's Gaines Township.

Martin says the initial construction budget remains $400 million.

The data center will be based in a pyramid-shaped building that once housed office furniture maker Steelcase's research facility.


A Grand Rapids area business is expanding, and nearly doubling its workforce.

SalesPad began its software development business back in 2003.

Today its enterprise software products for use with Microsoft Dynamics, GP and Intuit along with QuickBooks are in high demand.

SalesPad currently employs 110 workers. It plans to add another 91 positions and make a $3.85 million investment in its Grand Rapids Township expansion.

Regional economic development organization The Right Place help secure a $364,000 Michigan Strategic Fund grant.


A company that conducts preclinical medical studies plans to spend $5 million to upgrade facilities at its headquarters in southwestern Michigan.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Mattawan-based MPI Research also plans to add up to 130 jobs by the end of the year.

Word of the expansion follows the announcement that 69-year-old company founder William U. Parfet is retiring as chairman, president and chief executive officer.

He says in a letter about the change that MPI has a bright future and is poised for growth.

Commercial Real Estate Trends, a monthly conversation with those in Real Estate. Today's topic: East Beltline and Knapp area development. 

From Where I Sit

Feb 2, 2016

From Where I Sit, a monthly conversation with office furniture industry analyst Mike Dunlap. Today we talk about the commercial furniture industry.