Construction, Real Estate, and Small Business & Startups

Firm renovates downtown landmark

August 4, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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Calder Plaza Building renovation
The Calder Plaza Building, left, undergoes a renovation by CWD Real Estate Investment. Photo by Pat Evans

A 10-story downtown building is in the midst of a major facelift.

Grand Rapids-based CWD Real Estate Investment started this summer the renovation of its 160,000-square-foot Calder Plaza Building in Grand Rapids, across the street from DeVos Place, at 250 Monroe Ave. NW.

Grand Rapids-based Owen-Ames-Kimball is the contractor on the project.

The project is a “significant investment” in the building. 

CWD acquired the Calder Plaza Building in December 2014.

Retail and restaurant spaces

The southwest ground-floor corner of the building, which was once a loading dock, will become a retail space that is imagined as an outdoor living room, according to Sam Cummings, managing partner, CWD Real Estate Investment.

For the northwest corner, CWD is in negotiations with a “fast-casual concept.”

Entering

Cummings said the project will “dramatically improve the streetscape” with planter islands that will shield pedestrians from the Monroe Avenue NW traffic.

A curtain wall of self-tinting Pleotint glass, by Grand Rapids-based Suntuitive, is being installed for the front entrance.

“It’s the southern exposure of that wall and the potential for heat gain is dramatic,” Cummings said. “We sought to solve that and we did.”

Work on the lobby is progressing, and CWD is working with UICA to commission some local art to fill the lobby.

Around the building

CWD is making updates throughout the building's interior, as well as updating the general infrastructure, including staircases and elevators.

The bottom two floors of the building are seeing a complete overhaul, along with the entire southwest corner of the building.

Above the second floor, most of the southwest corner has been ripped up to install glass features to help modernize the more than 30-year-old building.

On the Calder Plaza side of the building, an enclosed veranda will be updated for a three-season-type common space, so “people can take their work outside, even when it’s raining,” Cummings said.

Cummings said one goal of the project, according to CWD Managing Partner Scott Wierda, is to “have the most kickass bathrooms in downtown Grand Rapids.”

Vacancies

The building is mostly empty as the law firm Miller Johnson, a one-time anchor tenant, has moved to Arena Place, allowing for the major renovation project. Cummings said the remaining tenants have all been excellent to work with during the project.

Currently, the building has 10 available spaces, ranging from 2,500 to 95,000 square feet.

Cummings added that the lack of occupancy gives the firm an "opportunity.”

“If you make the investment, it works," he said. "Timing is great. It affords us opportunity to attract and accommodate a business of significant scale.

"And it’s all that and a bag of chips: urban, improved streetscape and convenient parking.”

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