Construction, Law, and Real Estate

Partners plan two towers on prime downtown lot

November 9, 2015
| By Pat Evans |
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Partners plan two towers on prime downtown location
Orion Construction in Grand Rapids was founded in 2000 and operates a real estate division, Orion Real Estate Solutions. Photo via

A major mixed-use development is in the works for downtown — and a law firm is lined up to be the project’s anchor tenant.

Towers across from courthouse

Orion Real Estate Solutions, or ORES, a division of Orion Construction in Grand Rapids, said today that a “game-changing” project is being planned for Grand Rapids' Central Business District on the corner of Ottawa Avenue NW and Lyon Street NW.

The project would feature two 14-17-story towers on a site that houses an Ellis Parking lot.

ORES is partnering with Midtown Properties and Lansing-based DTN Management, a property management firm, for the project, along with ConceptDesign in Grand Rapids for the architecture work.

The development would house apartments and condominiums, offices and retail. Orion said “plentiful” parking would be available to tenants and visitors.

More plans for the project will be revealed in the first quarter of 2016, but the early announcement indicates the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd would be the anchor tenant of the building.

If the project is approved by the city, it is slated to be completed in 2019. The project is still in the early stages, so details such as square footage and cost are still to be determined.

14-month process

“I am pleased that after a complete and exhaustive search, Warner Norcross has identified the Ottawa-Lyon corner as the location it would like for its new offices,” Midtown Properties President Michael Ellis said. “Its decision will serve as the catalyst for an exciting multi-use development on the entire site.”

ORES has spent 14 months creating a concept that “satisfies a number of objectives and delivers what we know to be a game changing, mixed-use development in Grand Rapids’ Central Business District,” ORES President John Wheeler said.

“We have an incredible opportunity with Midtown Properties and DTN Management, and our team is now focused on a detailed pre-construction schedule, finance procurement and design features that align with our anchor tenant’s strategic goals and business initiatives,” Wheeler said.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell said the mixed-use development would be “a welcome addition to downtown Grand Rapids.”

“The development team has been thoughtful in its initial design of the project, taking care to ensure it will provide a tremendous mix of office, retail and residential with ample new parking in a facility that complements the current cityscape.

“We appreciate the continued investment in making the Central Business District an excellent place to live, work and shop.”

"Customized" legal space

Additional office tenants for the project are also in the works.

“Since our law firm was founded more than 80 years ago, Warner Norcross has always had offices in downtown Grand Rapids,” said Douglas Wagner, managing partner, Warner Norcross & Judd. “We are extremely excited to be part of this development, which will allow us to design space that can be customized to better suit the changing needs of our clients, attorneys and staff.

Wagner added that as the largest law firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, the firm is “committed to maintaining a strong presence in the Central Business District — and this new development will allow us to do just that.” 

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