Government, Law, and Real Estate

City assigns property exemption to law firm

Transfer offers tax break to new owner of historic office building.

January 10, 2014
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Grand Rapids city commissioners recently transferred an obsolete property tax exemption to the new owner of the Pike House, a historic downtown office building at 230 E. Fulton St.

Keller & Almassian PLC, a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy and business litigation, bought the foreclosed building in a bankruptcy sale from First Financial Bank of Terre Haute, Ind., for slightly more than $1 million about a month ago.

Amicus Management of Grand Rapids, a real estate management firm, brokered the sale as the court-appointed receiver.

Commissioners reassigned the exemption from Pike House LLC to Ottawa House LLC, an entity the law firm created for the building’s ownership. The exemption was initially awarded in 2006 after Design Plus bought the Pike House for its new office. The structure went into foreclosure earlier this year.

The exemption freezes the building’s taxable value at $140,374 through 2018, which reduces the law firm’s property-tax bill. The designation only applies to the structure and not to the property it occupies. The Pike House is situated on nearly an acre.

The 2013 State Equalized Value and taxable value for the building and land is $177,100, according to Kent County property records.

The two-story Pike House has nearly 25,000 square feet of space and 60 parking spaces. The structure was built by Abram W. Pike as a home in 1844, and housed to the Grand Rapids Art Museum for 50 years. The Pike House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Keller & Almassian recently told City Economic Development Director Kara Wood it plans to invest about $500,000 into the building and the property. The law firm will do some remodeling to the interior and create more offices, and also make improvements to the parking lot.

“The law firm anticipates relocating its operations, including 16 permanent staff, from its Grand Rapids Township location in mid-2014,” she said.

Keller & Almassian is located at 2810 East Beltline Lane NE.

Irwin Bank & Trust issued the mortgage when Design Plus bought the Pike House. First Financial became the creditor when it took over the assets of Irwin Bank & Trust in September of 2009.

Design Plus, an architectural firm, merged with Progressive AE last year.

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