Michigan Monopoly II

December 19, 2005
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In its July 25 issue, the Business Journal identified the key players in the Michigan Street hill health care land grab in "Michigan Street Monopoly." That piece credited Michael Crawford, M.D., with being owner of the yellow Ventnor Avenue, just a pair of 6's back from Dick DeVos' Boardwalk. Through Crawford Property Management, he owned and operated a full medical office building at 415 College Ave. NE, along with several underutilized properties adjacent to that, including 431 Michigan St. NE and 419 and 410 Sinclair St. NE.

Across Sinclair, Kameel Chamelly, owner of Martha's Vineyard at 200 Union Ave. NE, was dubbed Pennsylvania Avenue for his collection of properties along Michigan Street, including 421 Michigan St. NE, on the northeast corner of Sinclair and Michigan. One door east of the McDonald's, it's a 105-year-old, 5,016-square-foot, two-story eyesore. Taxable value is $49,877, but it was listed at the time for $648,000.

Well, somebody's putting up a new hotel on Sinclair.

A month after that piece ran, Crawford sold his holdings to Great Lakes Neurosurgical, led by Lynn Hedeman, M.D., and currently located at

414 Plymouth Ave. NE.
The group has tentative plans to raze the four structures in favor of a 60,000-square-foot facility estimated to cost around $20 million.

The project is still in early planning, said Great Lakes Neurological office administrator Dennis Johnson. No architect has been hired, and any development, if one does occur, will be months away.

The purchase was brokered by Varnum Riddering Schmidt & Howlett attorney (and former East Grand Rapids mayor) Nyal Deems

While the purchase price was not revealed, a Realtor that was overbid on the property estimated the cost at $3.25 million to $3.75 million.

Rumor has it that the neurosurgeons may already be looking elsewhere for a new headquarters, with the hope of reselling the Crawford parcels for upwards of $5 million.

There is also a possibility that the

two Pennsylvania Avenue
properties (
407 Sinclair St. NE
and
421 Michigan St. NE
), listed by Signature Associates' Raymond McDaniel, will be joined with the Crawford property for a nearly 75,000-square-foot facility that would capture
Sinclair Street

If not, a 10,000-square-foot medical office building will likely appear on the smaller site.

MarvinGardens, Brian DeVries' Jade Pig Ventures, which has a garage across the street from its

444 Michigan St. NE
corporate headquarters at
443 Michigan St. NE
, next door to the Bagel Beanery, does not appear to be involved at this time.

  • When Stuart Frankel, senior vice president of online advertising giant DoubleClick, learned he would be speaking in Grand Rapids at an event last week hosted by the Ad Club of West Michigan, he decided to look up an old girlfriend from West Michigan

Using nothing but the Yahoo! search engine, he discovered that she was living in Alabama, was married with at least one child and had recently hosted a wine tasting event.

With the premise that he was "happily married" and "he dumped her," his pseudo-stalking was indeed a testimonial of the power of search, but also highlighted the weakness of contemporary search engine marketing.

He was not looking for a hotel room in Alabama, parenting products or wine. He wasn't looking to buy anything.

"What role does search play?" he asked, rhetorically. "I think it should all be about touch points."

Because the pay-for-click model of companies like Google — where targeted ads appear on the screen related to the search, assuming that the user is looking to buy a related product or service — is so easily measured, Frankel often has to deal with angry clients. More often than not, the metrics don't show a correlation between search and sales.

The problem is, up to 50 percent of search's real impact doesn't appear in its metrics. He estimated an additional 25 percent of activity occurs online outside of the pay-per-click channel, and another 25 percent happens in the offline world, when the original "touch" translates into word-of-mouth or brick-and-mortar sales.

More on this story is available from last Friday's daily Web exclusive at www.grbj.com

  • On a related note, the Internet has provided consumers the opportunity to shop 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Instead of battling the crowds at RiverTown Crossings, much less the lovely Michigan weather, you can sit back and let your computer play Santa's helper well after the malls have closed.

Or it could be your new way to blow off work. According to data released from the LIVEmark Index by Web consultancy Coremetrics, leading retail sites receive 40 percent more visits and 53 percent more purchasing visits on weekdays than on weekend days. A full 62 percent of visits occurred on weekdays between and

While a likely headache for employers, this could be particularly troubling for marketers, said Coremetrics CEO Joe Davis. The workday is a particularly difficult time to launch targeted campaigns and other promotions, but appears to be the most important time to reach online shoppers.

  • This data was partly to blame for the various news reports earlier this month about "Cyber Monday." The Monday after Thanksgiving was touted as the online retail world's version of Black Friday, the biggest online shopping day of the year.

Well, sorry Virginia, Cyber Monday is a myth, a gimmick dreamed up by Shop.org, an association for retailers that sell online. Last year, the biggest online shopping day was Nov. 22, the Monday before Thanksgiving. The Monday after the holiday was 12th.

The hype, however, may have turned the myth to reality. Traffic to online shopping sites was up 35 percent the Monday after Thanksgiving, according to SiliconValley.com.    

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