Who owns Hangar42 Walker wants to know

June 14, 2010
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Hangar42, the new movie studio in Walker in part of the old Lear factory, is in the news statewide because it is supposedly a $40 million investment, thus qualifying for a $10 million tax credit from the state of Michigan under the movie studio investment incentive.

The conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy claims the property had previously been listed for sale at just under $10 million.

Details about the property transaction are unavailable due to secrecy requirements in the movie industry incentives law.

Joe Peters, one of the principals behind Hangar42, indicated in a written statement distributed to the news media in May by the Lambert, Edwards PR agency that “we negotiated a fair price for the purchase of our building.” He further indicated that was, indeed, $40 million.

According to state law, the transfer of ownership of real estate must be reported on a Property Transfer Agreement filed with the local tax assessor within 45 days.

Kelly Smith, the tax assessor for the city of Walker, said last week, “We have received nothing on that sale yet.”

According to Kent County records on-line, the Hangar42 parcel is still owned by Alpinist Endeavors LLC.

Veterans saluted

LZ Michigan, a much-publicized event at Fifth Third Park on July 3, won’t be the only high-profile summer activity in Grand Rapids saluting those who have served the country. Plans are afoot for an Aug. 28 military salute to be held on a closed block of Ottawa Avenue near Teazer’s Bar and Grill. The North Monroe Business Association learned last week some of the details of the event to feature helicopters, military simulators, representation from the Veterans Administration and the National Guard. It is being organized by Teazer’s owner Bill Anderson, a Vietnam vet whose son is serving in Afghanistan. Anderson has a passion for recognizing veterans and has contributed to the work of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. More details will follow.

The LZ Michigan event is receiving notoriety through its partnership with WGVU, Grand Valley State University and the West Michigan Whitecaps. The event will honor and welcome home Michigan's Vietnam War Veterans. This statewide effort will culminate in a day of recognition and celebration of their service and sacrifice, for veterans, their families and the public. The event is not political or military. It is being billed as the community's expression of thanks, support and welcome for the men and women who served in Vietnam.

The event will feature speakers, recognition, musical entertainment and video from the premiere of the Vietnam War Stories documentary, and will close with fireworks.

Designed to connect

The first “Design/Educate/Connect” event, has been scheduled Jun 18, with organizers having aspirations of hosting it twice each year. The event is being held at the Grand Rapids Art Museum from 5-8 p.m. and is the brainchild of Boxed Water is Better founder, Ben Gott. The D/E/C event will showcase live digital artists, but the main attraction will be the speakers.

Six “design-focused entrepreneurs” will be interviewed by friends to talk about the intersection of design, business and life. The six entrepreneurs include Gott, Rick DeVos, Josh Higginson, Premier Skateshop; Nick Stockton, Teamwork Design; and Chad Miller, Restaurant Bloom.

“The D/E/C Project was created to highlight some of the interesting people downtown in both traditional and non-traditional business … to learn more about how design integrates with the business and lifestyles they participate in,” said Gott.

The event is open to the public. Details can be found on Facebook or the Web site, www.theDECproject.com

Kickin’ it with the cup

Last Friday kicked off the 2010 World Cup. Thirty-two teams have entered the worldwide tournament that lasts for roughly a month in South Africa. Many games will take place during the workday and the natural assumption is that soccer-minded employees will be tuning out of work and into the games via online coverage. That may not be the case, however.

A recent study by OfficeTeam, a global staffing company, found that sports tournaments such as the Stanley Cup and the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament known as March Madness can improve office morale and productivity.

The trick, says OfficeTeam, is using the tournaments to promote team building. The study found that 41 percent of U.S. managers believed that watching games or participating in non-monetary pools made for a positive impact on morale.

Only 22 percent of the same group said it had a positive impact on productivity. The same percentage said it had a negative effect and 56 percent said it had no impact.

A green twist

A June 3 Fast Company article, “LEED Buildings Rated Green … and Often Toxic,” delves into a new study done by Environment and Human Health Inc., based in Connecticut.  The study reports that LEED ratings, ironically, do not account for “pesticides in tap water or formaldehyde-laden particleboard” or other “harmful stuff.” Huh?

A Lotto fireworks

Given Michigan’s dire budget situation, and continued crippling blows to education funding, it may seem odd that Michigan Lottery will be the main event sponsor of the annual 4th of July Family Fireworks in downtown Grand Rapids, as announced last week. Unless you know the players. Spending money to make money benefits the lottery and this community said Grand Rapidian and Lottery Commissioner M. Scott Bowen. “There is nothing quite like this kind of family celebration and it’s great to be a part of it.”

More strange, however, is that the Michigan Credit Union League also had agreed to help sponsor the fireworks and festivities, but backed out just after the announcements were made. Amway Corp. is a stage sponsor. Spartan Stores, another traditional sponsor, is also on board again this year.

The shirt off his back

Social media has rapidly become another great way to connect the dots in business. It’s evidently even more effective when it’s conducted in person. Jason Sadler, founder of www.IWearYourShirt.com, will visit Grand Rapids today through June 22 to promote the JW Marriott Grand Rapids and Amway Grand Plaza by, of course, wearing a shirt for each hotel on June 14 and 21 respectively.

Only his second year in business, his handlers say Sadler has become an international phenomena with coverage around the globe from Japan to Australia. A self-proclaimed “social media content creator,” he has been featured on ABC, MSNBC, CNN, CBS, Fox Business and TV Tokyo, and has been included in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, China Daily, Financial Times (Germany) and many more.

During his week-long stay in GR, Sadler will explore Grand Rapids by visiting its many cultural venues while promoting and wearing the shirts of other companies.

Sadler will launch a social media campaign promoting the hotels via Twitter, Facebook, podcasts and blogging while experiencing Grand Rapids firsthand.  He has quite the following with tens of thousands of followers and friends on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Social media followers and passersby who get a glimpse of Sadler on June 14 or 21 can take advantage of a hotel discount by jotting down the rate code on the back of his shirt.  In addition, a total of 16 lucky winners who “like” the hotels’ Facebook pages during Sadler’s stay will receive overnight hotel packages that include dinner or iPod shuffles that promote the city’s “Feel the Beat” summer offer. Sadler started his business on New Year’s Day in 2009 by charging the “face value” of each day (i.e.: Jan. 1 is worth $1) and then charging an additional dollar for each succeeding day. When 2009 sold out, Sadler capitalized on his tremendous success (he made close to $83,000) in true entrepreneurial fashion by adding a West Coast companion, Evan White, to his operation and doubling the daily price. White will also be promoting the hotels on the assigned dates from his home base in Los Angeles.

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