Southeast GR To Get New Offices

August 4, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — A new $25 million Class A office development is being planned for the Glenwood Hills Office Park along I-96 near the M-6 junction.

The Rockford Development Group and The Hinman Co. have joined forces to develop the property, the last available parcel in the prime office park. The project marks the first time the two noteworthy firms have collaborated on a joint venture. They’ve formed Glenwood Development Partners LLC for the project, which has been in the works for the better part of two years.

“We’ve been talking to those guys for a while about doing something, and this just really made a lot of sense,” said Mike Maier, president of Rockford Development.

The property is approximately six acres and the plan is to build 150,000 square feet of office space there. But Maier told the Business Journal last week that the partners weren’t certain yet whether the development would be a single building or two 75,000-square-foot buildings.

“We have some different designs and layouts that we like, but it’s probably going to be driven by the initial tenant that we work with, to some extent,” he said.

“It is 150,000 square feet, but we could have two buildings on the site, as well.”

The Glenwood Hills property has sat vacant for about 20 years. Rockford Development Group bought the site from Blue Cross Blue Shield three years ago when Blue Cross moved its headquarters from the site to the former Steketee’s department store building on Monroe Center in downtown Grand Rapids, a building the Rockford Development Group owns.

Rockford Companies, which owns the development and construction divisions, then relocated from Belmont into the building Blue Cross occupied in Glenwood Hills.

“Seldom do you see parcels of land this desirable and still vacant,” said Kirt Ojala, director of leasing and property management for The Hinman Co.

“We see enormous potential in this development opportunity. Timing, current market conditions, the sheer size of the lot, various configuration possibilities and location make it advantageous for just about any type of business,” added Ojala.

The partners haven’t targeted any particular business category, such as medical, for tenants. They feel the development and its location, with access to two highways, will draw interest from all types of businesses.

“I don’t think you can duplicate that location anymore, being on the highway and a major artery like that. I can’t think of any other locations like that one in Grand Rapids and with that much exposure on the highway,” said Maier.

A date for a groundbreaking hasn’t been set. But Maier said the development would likely cost $25 million to build. Rockford Construction Co. will direct the construction. The Hinman Co. will lease the space and manage the building.

“We’re just really coming out of the gate with this. We’re marketing it and making sure that everybody knows that it’s available,” he said.

Rockford Companies is in its 20th year of business. The Hinman Co. was founded in 1977, owns and manages 2.5 million square feet of commercial space in Michigan, and is based in Portage. Maier said this partnership looks like it’s going to be a good match.

“I think we’ve spoken to them for a couple of years about doing something together. When we first met them, it seemed like a great fit, not only from how we complement each other with our skills but also with our business philosophies and work environment. All of those things are very similar,” he said.

Maier said he believes this shared development could lead to other joint ventures between the Rockford Development Group and The Hinman Co.

“I would like to think so,” he said. “I’ve been very impressed with what they have done and by the way they’ve come into the office market. We toured their buildings in Kalamazoo and its all top-notch, quality stuff.

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