Grooters Grows Up And Out

June 5, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — River House at Bridgewater Place isn't the only project that Robert Grooters is starting. The successful owner of the Robert Grooters Development Co. has also started a full-service commercial real estate firm.

The Robert Grooters Real Estate Co. made its debut two weeks ago, with a niche in industrial, manufacturing and office structures, and Pioneer Die Sets of Byron Center was the firm's first client.

"Pete Colvin of Robert Grooters listed and sold our building in two weeks so we could build a new one in time to house the new equipment we had ordered. I must say, we were pretty amazed and impressed at the speed and tenacity that he and his 'SWAT team' put forth to make it happen for us," said Donald Sazama of Pioneer Die Sets.

"In addition to selling our building for full price with a backup offer, he helped us secure a tax abatement, and put together the land and a new building package for us in about eight weeks. We move into our new building in July and can honestly say this was a very smooth project," added Sazama of the firm's new site in the Byron Commerce Industrial Park, south of 84th Street.

Colvin told the Business Journal that the real estate firm will do more than list and sell buildings. He said the staff will help clients with leasing, sales, 1031 exchanges, energy credits and tax abatements. The firm will also offer financing assistance for buyers, sellers, tenants and investors.

"We now offer lease-to-own options, where tenants get some rent dollars back to use as their down payments later on," said Colvin, a senior sales adviser for the firm. "We offer discounted commissions to help our clients save money."

After years of constructing industrial and manufacturing buildings and parks, Colvin said the real estate company was a natural outgrowth of that business. He said that clients often returned to the development firm to ask for help with finding a new location.

"We really want to offer our clients full service. It was pretty much 'here is our inventory' and hope we can make it fit, and if our client didn't fit what we had, then they went down the road. But now we can show someone everything that is on the market. It has opened us up to all sorts of new ideas," he said.

"The company is a result of people asking us for that full service. They wanted to work with us, but we had limited inventory. Now we're open to the entire market, which makes us a lot more valuable to help them."

The Robert Grooters Real Estate Co. joined the Commercial Association of Realtors in West Michigan. The same management team that ran the development company is also leading the real estate firm.

River House is a 34-story condominium building going up at 377 Bridge St. NW, next to one of the city's premier office towers also built by Grooters: Bridgewater Place.

River House will have 206 condos. Prices will range from $200,000 to $550,000 for units that will be from 906 to 1,900 square feet in size. The building will also feature a fitness center, an indoor lap pool, a Jacuzzi, high-speed elevators and private balconies.

Winklemann Associates designed the building, which proposes to become the city's tallest when it opens, and the Wolverine Building Group is managing the project's construction.

A groundbreaking ceremony for River House was scheduled for today. Completion of the project is projected for the fall of 2007.   

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