- people on the move
S J Wisinski Expansion Project Almost Complete
GRAND RAPIDS — The expansion project is nearly complete, and soon the biggest will be bigger.
The S.J. Wisinski Co., West Michigan's largest commercial real estate firm, has 70 percent more space at its southeast side headquarters at 2618 East Paris Ave.
The expansion project, which added 8,000 square feet to the 11,200-square-foot building, gives the company 19 new offices, two administration areas, a break room, a large meeting room and additional restrooms.
The expansion was necessary because business for the firm has been good. In 1998, the company's dollar volume was $296.5 million. The following year it jumped to $401.2 million.
"Our business has been expanding in the brokerage sales and leasing areas, and especially in the property management area," said Stanley J. Wisinski, company president, who founded the firm in 1986.
"When we moved into this building in September of 1994, I thought that I had enough space here, and I didn't have any plans to expand beyond this building.
"But in a very short period of time, I realized that with the market changing and with the demand for more services from our clients, we just had to expand," he added.
S.J. Wisinski now has about 45 employees. Seven years ago, the company had a staff of 30 when it moved to the East Paris site. Watching his firm steadily grow at a 50-percent clip, prompted Wisinski to begin thinking about expanding a few years back.
Integrated Architecture designed the addition, while Rockford Construction Co. managed the work, which took about six months.
Besides the additional room that was gained from the expansion, the project also has some aesthetically pleasing highlights.
First, the building was actually bermed into the grass to reduce the appearance of its height, resulting in a better scenic blend with the terrain. Second, a curved, masonry wall was added to a corner of the building.
Third, and perhaps most important, a new 3,500-square-foot courtyard was built between the existing building and the addition. Landscaping on the courtyard is under way.
"In our business, and especially here at the company, I think it's very important for people to have private offices," said Wisinski. "Just adding on to the building wouldn't give me that option. So how do I get more offices from 8,000 square feet? I do a courtyard."
The materials used in the expansion matched those found on the original structure.
"I was very careful to make sure that the addition blends in with the original building," said Wisinski. "It's going to be a real complement to the building."