Government and Real Estate

DDA chooses new office location

April 19, 2013
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A new downtown entity will begin operating this summer in a new downtown home.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. hopes to set up shop on the ground floor of the Federal Square Building at 29 Pearl St. NW by July 1, the first day of its first fiscal year.

DGRI will enter into a seven-year lease with a five-year option for 4,300 square feet of space that was last occupied by Three Crowns Bistro, a restaurant that closed eight years ago. The organization will pay $5,195 a month in rent, but will receive the first two months free and a free build-out of the space.

The rent will rise annually by 2 percent, and the tenant will pay $5 a square foot for storage space.

DGRI is the overseeing parent organization for the Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Alliance and the city’s Office of Special Events, which is currently in the police station on Monroe Center at Division Avenue. All three will have offices there.

DDA Executive Director Kristopher Larson said the board contacted 38 property owners, received 13 offers and toured four of those sites. Larson said the board wanted a space with a meeting room that could hold up to 50 people.

“The decision was based on, among other criteria, the location’s accessibility, visibility, cost and community meeting space,” he said.

Currently, the DDA is on the ninth floor of City Hall and holds meetings on the sixth floor. Meetings are expected to be shifted this summer to the new location.

“Breathing new life into an underutilized building and area of the central city also was a key priority. This particular space at 29 Pearl has stood vacant for approximately eight years,” said Larson.

The location offers employees and visitors parking in an Ellis Parking surface lot just west of the building and in a city-owned parking ramp across Pearl Street.

Colliers International principal Ray Kisor, who has been active with the Downtown Alliance for years, helped the DDA in its search for office space and negotiated the lease on the tenant’s behalf.

DDA Chairman Brian Harris will sign the lease. The DDA will be the initial tenant, but that title will be transferred to DGRI in the near future.

“This has been an excellent process,” said Harris. “We avoided places that had a higher use. This space is intended to be accessible and visible to the public.”

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