Jade Pig Awaits Word On Jacobsons

September 3, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — East Grand Rapids residents could see nearly half the Gaslight Village shopping area redeveloped if everything comes together for local developer Jade Pig Ventures. 

Jade Pig partners Scott Wierda and Brian DeVries will likely know next month whether or not their company is the winning bidder on the Jacobson’s store property at 2255 Wealthy St. SE. 

If the Jacobson’s deal goes through, that site will be combined with the Ramona Medical Building site at 515 Lakeside Drive into a major mixed-use development.

Jade Pig bought the 40,000 square foot Ramona Medical Building last May.

The 148,400-square-foot Jacobson’s store is on five acres. The property includes an adjoining two-story parking garage.

The building, developed in phases between 1966 and 1991, has 550 feet of frontage along Wealthy Street and about 30 feet of frontage along Lakeside Drive.

According to the city assessor’s office, the property’s current assessed value is $3.1 million, reflecting a market value of $6.2 million. 

Wierda, Jade Pig’s president, said his company also is interested in purchasing and incorporating into the development the neighboring D&W-anchored strip shopping center.

However, Jade Pig isn’t currently under negotiations with the owner of the strip center, he said, and redevelopment of the Jacobson and Ramona sites wouldn’t hinge on the center’s acquisition. 

Even if Jade Pig isn’t successful in acquiring the Jacobson property, it will still go ahead with redevelopment of the Romana Medical Building, Wierda said.

“If I have to just develop the Ramona site we’re fine with that, independent of everything. It might just stay an office building.”

He said he won’t make that decision until after the auction. 

If the company does swing the deal, redevelopment could get started as early as next spring.

“Style of architecture would be very mixed use. A lot of individual looking buildings — apartments, condos, retail, office — any of that is a possible combination that we would put in the whole area,” Wierda said. 

He said the plan is to “pump money back into downtown” East Grand Rapids.

Jacobson Stores Inc. filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in January.

The Jackson-based retailer got the go-ahead in July to liquidate more than $100 million in inventory at its 18 stores following the company's unsuccessful attempts to sell the business as a going concern.

Bids on the bankruptcy sale of the stores must be submitted by Sept. 6 to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.

An auction is slated for Sept. 18.

As of last week, “several” bids on the East Grand Rapids store had been submitted to the bankruptcy court, according to broker Josh Joseph of Hilco Real Estate Co., the Illinois-based firm in charge of disposition and lease re-negotiation of Jacobson properties.

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