MoBevy is mo' better for some

July 6, 2009
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Clark Communications is one of the first companies to take up residence in the recently opened Monroe Bevy, an innovative office location at 40 Monroe Center in downtown Grand Rapids that seems to have become popular rather quickly — it already has a nickname.

Even though the site opened its doors only two weeks ago and some finishing touches are still being applied, the local blogisphere has already christened it “MoBevy.”

“There were two primary reasons for my move to MoBevy. First, the lease at my now former space was set to expire later this summer, and it didn’t appear that we’d be able to reach a renewed agreement,” said company owner Craig Clark.

“Second, I wanted to continue working in a shared office environment with other creative types, and MoBevy caters to this audience,” he added.

Clark’s second reason actually defines the idea that underlines the creation of Monroe Bevy.

The concept was developed and is owned by Rockford Cos. CEO and Chairman John Wheeler and COO Kurt Hassberger, Jade Pig Ventures Director of Properties Mike Mraz, and Seyferth & Associates President and Principal Ginny Seyferth. 

The space has been specifically designed to appeal to what many have called the “creative class” — younger entrepreneurs who want to work with others like them in an urban office setting. The thought behind that particular type of clustering is to encourage creativity and shared experiences that lead to every firm’s advancement.

Architects, artists, fashion designers, film producers, graphic designers, illustrators, product designers, writers and communicators like Clark were the type of tenants the developers had in mind when they built Monroe Bevy.

“They want a space and an environment to display their work. They want to share their thinking,” said Seyferth. “At the same time, this younger, very mobile generation needs greater flexibility in price and leases so they can make an office environment work for their small-business model.”

Monroe Bevy totals 3,600 square feet. Work studios start at $350 a month and long-term leases aren’t required. The space has room for up to 13 tenants. It also has a boardroom non-tenants can rent for $50 an hour.

“The space is more a hub of activity. While we have just begun to rent areas within the space, MoBevy has already hosted a series of think discussions on New Urbanism and the walkability of downtown,” said Mraz.

“It’s a highly professional, affordable office environment with access to creation areas, space to host group-think events, art display space and traditional client conference areas,” said Val Moody, a development coordinator for Rockford Construction Co.

Clark has experience in this type of environment. He came to MoBevy from 25 Ottawa Ave. SW, an office address he shared with Mark Bird of Bird Design and David Maxam of Maxam Architecture. Bird decided to join him at Monroe Bevy. Now they can continue to work together.

“Operating from the concept that we could service the same clients from a single location without having a large organization, so MoBevy seemed like a great fit,” said Bird, whose firm designs marketing and advertising materials and programs. “Some of the other members on our team are considering a spot at MoBevy because of the convenience it offers in a day-to-day setting.

“The short term lease was also really attractive. Like everyone else I know in business, the current economy makes it really tough to forecast or plan. Many of the clients I have had for over 10 years have dramatically cut their marketing expenses in response to diminished sales. So having the ability to scale up or down without having to feel locked-in to a long-term commitment was definitely a contributing factor to signing a lease at MoBevy,” said Bird.

The suite Clark Communications leases has room enough for Clark, his public-relations associate Jennifer Luth, and a few strategic partners who will use the space from time to time. Clark defined his suite as an ideal location for emerging and creative professionals who want a premier downtown address.

“MoBevy provides the infrastructure for companies like mine to focus on growing their business without having to manage an office space,” said Clark.

“And because of the focus on attracting creative types to the space, MoBevy offers terrific networking opportunities and creative energy that people in my profession require in a work space.”

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