Holland Plaza Center

April 10, 2002
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HOLLAND – The partnership behind the $9 million Plaza Center under construction in downtown Holland, part of a “super block” development envisioned for years for the business district, has commitments from two major tenants for more than half of the floor space.

GMB Architects-Engineers will acquire and occupy the entire second floor of the new three-story office and retail facility when it’s ready for occupancy this fall, said Kris DePree, a partner in Eighth Street Partners LLC and head of Grubb & Ellis/Focus Properties in Holland.

The Holland law office of Warner, Norcross & Judd will lease 60 percent of the Plaza Center’s third floor, DePree said. That leaves the remainder of the third floor, as well as the entire first floor, for smaller tenants who require 3,000 to 4,000 square feet of floor space for retail establishments or professional offices.

Among the possible tenants for the ground floor is a café-style restaurant whose backers have offered a verbal commitment to lease space, DePree said.

With a “fairly weak” demand for commercial real estate space in the Holland market and the current state of the economy, DePree is pleased with the tenants that have signed leases and the market interest in the property so far.

“Given the climate, I’m happy,” he said.

DePree expects to start seeing increased interest for the remaining space in the 65,000-sqaure-foot Plaza Center, one of the largest developments in downtown Holland in several years. Prospective tenants seeking smaller spaces typically do not require lengthy lead times before signing a lease for office or retail space, usually six months or so before the project’s targeted completion date.

“They don’t plan that far in advance so you can’t talk to them a year and a half before they move,” DePree said.

DePree hopes to have 85 percent to 90 percent of the Plaza Center leased by the time the building is ready for occupancy in September or October. Space is going for a premium of $20 to $24 per square foot, he said.

Plans for the Plaza Center Building took off last year when DePree and his partners acquired 2.5 acres of land from the Riverview Development Limited Partnership, a group formed in 1988 that consisted of several Holland business leaders whose investments spearheaded downtown’s revitalization during the 1990s. With its mission complete, Riverview decided a year ago to fold its tent and divest its real estate holdings.

That gave Eighth Street Partners LLC, which had been looking to undertake a major development in downtown for years, the opportunity to acquire a prime location and take over the concept of the “super block,” a square-block area on the east end of downtown that Riverview envisioned redeveloping into a series of retail and commercial buildings that would complement downtown’s mixture of retail stores, professional offices and restaurants.

“It just worked out nicely for us to work with them, acquire a piece of this property and put this project together,” DePree said. “It will fit nicely with downtown.”

Construction on the Plaza Center, one of three major projects ongoing in downtown Holland, began last fall and is proceeding on schedule, he said.

The development partnership, meanwhile, continues to study options for two small parcels remaining on the site, he said.

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