Office activity is up in downtown

February 22, 2012
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One of downtown’s oldest and most prestigious business addresses is for sale: 161 Ottawa LLC has put the 100-year-old Waters Building on the market. NAI Wisinski of West Michigan secured the listing early last week.

“We are very grateful to have received the listing on the Waters Building, but the work is just beginning. We have handled projects on this scale before and we know what it takes to make sure we achieve our client’s goals,” said Mary Anne Wisinski-Rosely, part of the office team at NAI Wisinski.

The Waters Building opened at 161 Ottawa Ave. NW in 1912, and is named after the structure’s original owner Dudley Waters. The six-story building offers about 282,000 square feet of office and retail space and has hosted a laundry list of prominent tenants in the core of the central business district.

Current tenants include The Gilmore Collection, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Huntington Bank, the Rhoades McKee law firm and The Right Place Inc.

The building’s owner, 161 Ottawa LLC, is headed by Teresa Welsh of Ann Arbor. Welsh also is a principal in Waters Realty & Development, which manages the Waters Building, the Trust Building at 40 Pearl St. NW and the Ledyard Building at 125 Ottawa Ave. NW.

According to Kent County records, the 2011 State Equalized Value of the Waters Building was $8.6 million.

The listing of the Waters Building is the most recent sign that activity is picking up in the downtown office market. Supporting evidence for that claim surfaced last week when John Postema of Fulton Street Partners sold 98 E. Fulton St. to the Acton Institute. The 38,000-square-foot structure sits on the southeast corner of Fulton Street and Sheldon Avenue.

Wisinski-Rosely and NAI principal Stan Wisinski represented Postema in the transaction, while the Midwest Realty group did the same for the Acton Institute. The two-story building was once home to Jacobson’s department store and the White & White medical business.

The Acton Institute will occupy the first floor; the building’s current tenant, West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, will lease the upper level. The Action Institute will move its office from the Waters Building.

“Someone turned on the switch, and office space is starting to fill up,” said Stan Wisinski, a veteran in the local commercial real estate field.

“I look forward to seeing the overall effect this has on downtown.”

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