Nothing New With Olds

August 26, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — What was then is still now.

Activa Real Estate Services, a division of Alticor Inc., told the Business Journal recently there has been no decision about what to do with Olds Manor, the former nine-story Rowe Hotel at the corner of Michigan Street and Monroe Avenue that later became a retirement and nursing home.

Connie Van Middendorp of Activa said a decision hasn’t been made whether to sell or lease the vacant building. She added that Alticor hasn’t developed a use for the structure either, which is located across Michigan Street from DeVos Place, the city’s convention center.

Van Middendorp did say that Activa has received some calls regarding the building, which opened in the 1920s. But she said those contacts have largely come from people inquiring if condominiums were going to be built there.

“Nothing from a huge developer saying that they’d really like to buy the building. Nothing like that,” she said.

Rockford Construction Co. removed asbestos from the building and cleaned out the interior.

“So it’s ready if it’s ever going to be used for anything,” said Middendorp.

Amway co-founders Richard DeVos and the late Jay Van Andel bought the building in October 2002 from SIBSCO, a real estate firm owned by the Peter Secchia family. SIBSCO had purchased the building the previous October.

DeVos said he and Van Andel bought the property as part of their ongoing interest in ensuring the quality and integrity of downtown.

“The corner at Monroe and Michigan is important to our city as we continue our growth downtown. Buying the property now lets us keep our options open for a use that we believe is in the best interest of downtown development,” said DeVos when the deal was negotiated with SIBSCO.

“We may renovate the property, we may build a new facility, we may sell or we may partner with someone else. We do not have a specific plan,” he added. “At this point, we just want to have an influence on what goes on in this important section of our downtown.”    

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