This Is Knott The Usual Office Deal

August 30, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Businesses looking for a new home downtown might want to consider the Corl & Knott building at 25 Commerce Ave. SW. But instead of the standard lease deal, owners can buy their office space there.

Second Story Properties, headed by President Sam Cummings, is offering loft office condominiums for sale in the five-story building just a few steps south of Fulton Street.

“The building has great loft appeal,” said John Green, executive vice president for Second Story Properties, of the structure with its address boldly painted on the north exterior wall.

“With interest rates still low, now is the time for businesses to enjoy the benefits of property ownership,” he added.

The Corl & Knott is the second downtown structure in a short timeframe that Second Story has listed as having its floors for sale. Less than two years ago, Second Story began to market the six-story Goodspeed building at 190 Monroe Ave. NW in the same manner. Today, with an art gallery set to move in, Green said only the third floor hasn’t been sold.

“We’ve already sold most of the condominium units that we have at the Goodspeed building and we’re finding that there still are people interested in ownership,” said Green. “Before (interest) rates climb too high, we thought we’d taken advantage of that.”

At the Corl & Knott, space is being offered on a one-tenant-per-floor basis and each floor has 4,000 square feet of usable space, which is suitable for small- and medium-sized firms. Green said the cost for a floor ranges from a low of $275,000 to a high of $400,000, a price span of $75 to $90 per square foot.

Buyers get their business names on the north exterior wall and free parking at a lot just down the street at 54 Commerce Ave. SW.

“We’ve put together a 99-year lease in place between the owner of the property and the condominium association to allocate a certain number of free parking spaces to each floor,” said Green.

Green added that the first floor has been sold to an emerging mortgage company and that Second Story would consider leasing space until all the floors are sold.

Second Story bought the building in 1999 and sold it to its current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, in 2003. The owner has enlisted Second Story to manage the building and the parking lot down the street. Second Story develops and manages urban structures.

“We currently manage and lease the building and we had plans to do the condominiums before we sold it. But it was part of a portfolio that we sold and then they came back to us and said, ‘We’d like to revisit this,’” said Green.

The Corl & Knott was built in 1920 and most recently Grand Valley State University leased two of its six floors. The structure has large windows, separate heating and cooling systems for each floor, a newly renovated lobby, and a freight elevator on the west side. A new roof was installed last year and the brick was recently painted.

Then there is the building’s location. The structure is two blocks east of the Van Andel Arena and is surrounded by nightspots and recent developments. The city and Downtown Development Authority are making major upgrades to Commerce Avenue.

“The improvements that you are seeing down Commerce, from Fulton to Wealthy, are significant,” said Green.

“Streetscape improvements that the city is performing, the City Centre ramp coming down with the potential for being a new mixed-use development and creating new value in the area, I think prompted our interest.”    

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