Construction, Higher Education, and Real Estate

MSU approves $3M demolition of ex-Press building

December 12, 2014
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GR Press buildiong
The Grand Rapids Press building at Michigan and Monroe is one of several former newspaper buildings in the state that will be repurposed. Photo by Chris Pastotnik

The former Grand Rapids Press building downtown is exiting stage left to set the scene for the future Grand Rapids Biomedical Research Center.

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees approved the demolition of the building, at 155 Michigan St. NW, during a special meeting earlier today.

Demolition on the building is anticipated to begin in March and be completed by next December. The MSU administration is expected to meet with the board of trustees later this winter to discuss potential construction plans and recommendations for a new facility.

Depending on board approvals, the Grand Rapids Biomedical Research Center is planned to be completed in late 2017.

Tearing down the old Press building will grant the university flexibility in developing a high-tech facility, according to Vennie Gore, VP of auxiliary enterprises, MSU.

“Demolition allows MSU to build a facility that best achieves the goals inherent in biomedical research that requires high-tech laboratories and allows for the site to have maximum flexibility for future development,” Gore said.

The budget for the demolition project is $3 million, which will be funded primarily through the university’s general fund and tax-exempt financing with debt repayment.

The remaining land may be used for future development by the university and/or private developers.

Biomedical center

Earlier this summer, the university issued a request for proposals to three development firms interested in a public-private partnership for the new research center. The online bidding process was scheduled to end by July 29 and then be subject to an evaluation and review process.

MSU acquired the former Grand Rapids Press building in 2012, with plans to develop a 145,000-square-foot Grand Rapids Biomedical Research Center on a portion of the 4.3-acre site.

The center will provide biomedical research space and allow the MSU College of Human Medicine to grow its NIH-funded initiatives and principal investigator recruitments.

The university's $90 million privately funded Secchia Center in downtown Grand Rapids was designed for medical education, and the university has worked with the Van Andel Institute and Grand Valley State University to accommodate researchers who have been recruited by MSU. Currently, the university said it has exhausted all available lab space in Grand Rapids.

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