Working On A New Ledyard

June 30, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — One of downtown's most historic business addresses is being upgraded.

The LedyardBuilding, a 132-year-old landmark just northwest of the

Ottawa Avenue
and MonroeCenter intersection, has been undergoing a $1 million renovation project since January that is making multiple improvements to the interior and exterior.

"The building needed to be taken to the next stage to kind of bring back its grandeur," said Steve Dodgson, president of Dodgson Reality, which manages the structure that opened in 1874 and was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1983.

Dodgson Realty is also part of the building's ownership, known as the Ledyard Group, which also includes the Three Oaks Group LLC of Ann Arbor and the Valkyrie Property Fund of Lake Orion.

"It's been in need of some upgrades and it's time to reposition it in the marketplace to increase the occupancy and get it back in full service," said Dodgson.

The repositioning that Dodgson referred to is well under way, as more than half of the work has been completed. A new state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly roof has been installed, as has a new HVAC and energy management system.

The Ledyard's exterior has been cleaned, a new meeting room was built on the second floor, and free wireless Internet service was added to the south atrium. The common areas are being painted and new carpeting is being installed this week. The exterior trim is also getting some new colors.

But a big part of the renovation is the installation of new sidewalks along the

Ottawa Avenue
portion of the four-story building.

"We had an asphalt coating along

Ottawa Avenue
. We've just taken off that coating and we're about to resurface that entire sidewalk. We think that is going to be a pretty big change and make the building have a bigger presence on a high-profile corner," said Dodgson.

"It's going to be a brand new sidewalk deck with some brick and paver features at the entry points and we have some new planters coming in. So we're hopeful that will be done in the next 30 days or so."

Then the bathrooms, elevators and signs will be upgraded, and both the building's atriums will be remodeled. Dodgson told the Business Journal that he thought all the work would be finished by October.

Cornerstone Architects designed the interior and exterior renovation, while Progressive AE drew up the streetscape improvements. Dodgson Reality has managed the project, which is the first major renovation of the building since a $10 million restoration was completed in 1987.

As one would imagine, the Ledyard has played a significant role in the development of downtown. In fact, in the late 1800s, the building was home to the GR Public Library and the YMCA.

The Ledyard, which has been called an outstanding example of Victorian Italianate architecture, has 104,000 square feet and space is available.

"We're doing this to fill space and to solidify the building as a business center downtown. We do have space. Some of our tenants are growing organically and we're filling space that way, through internal growth," said Dodgson.

"In addition to the renovation monies that we're putting into the building, we also have funds for tenant build-outs available. Personally as a broker, I think this is a value place for tenants given the attractive rates we have for what we've done to the building. It's a secure, unique space with a historic flair."    

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