Project Expands Holland Central Business District
HOLLAND — Plans for downtown Holland’s newest office building are part of the “next wave” of development that will expand the central business district to the north.
Bayside Capital Management plans to break ground by the end of July on the two-story, 20,000-square-foot building at Seventh Street and Central Avenue, across the street from where the company developed the Central Avenue Financial Center two years ago. The new building will take about a year to complete.
While Bayside Capital Management didn’t have specific plans for a second office project when it built the Central Avenue Financial Center, it was willing to undertake additional development if “we could put the right project together, and that has in fact occurred,” said Bayside’s Scott Spoelhof.
A solid demand for downtown office space and a desire to help the business district grow led Bayside Capital Management to move forward on the second project.
Bayside Capital Management is a financial-asset management and development firm owned by the Spoelhof family, which has been involved in downtown Holland for years through the former Riverview Development Limited Partnership. John Spoelhof, Scott’s father, was president of the former Prince Corp.
“It’s pretty cool when you can meld doing something for downtown with a business opportunity that makes commercial sense,” Scott Spoelhof said. “It’s a smart business opportunity and it’s also an opportunity to nurture and continue to facilitate development in this whole area.”
“What you’re seeing is a very calculated investment shaded by the desire to do the right thing for the community,” he said.
The Bayside Capital project, which is expected to have a single tenant, is one of two office buildings currently planned for downtown.
Eighth Street Partners LLC has plans for a new three-story office building. The project is the first piece of what’s been dubbed the “superblock,” a square-block area along Eighth Street, on the east end of downtown, that has been targeted for redevelopment into a series of retail and commercial buildings.
The development partnership hopes to break ground on the project in early August, said Kris De Pree, a partner in the group and head of Grubb & Ellis/Focus Properties in Holland. The partnership has a tentative agreement for a tenant for the entire third floor of the building, tenants for three-quarters of the second floor, and has seen “good activity” in leasing the first floor, De Pree said.
After an estimated $110 million in private-public sector investment in downtown since the late 1980s, the Bayside Capital and Eighth Street Partners projects represent a new era of development, said Patti Seiter, director of the MainStreet/Downtown Development Authority.
While projects over the past 13 or more years have been centered within the core area of the central business district, future developments are expected to come in the surrounding perimeter, particular on acreage located to the north of downtown.
“This is the next wave of development for downtown,” Seiter said. “It’s just kind of a natural cycle. We do have areas that need development and are ripe and prime for development, and it’s just happening now.”
Making the acreage north of downtown more attractive for development is the city’s plan to seek brownfield designation for the area, which would qualify developers for tax breaks.
While Bayside Capital does not presently have specific plans for additional projects in the future, the firm does own several parcels to the north of downtown and is looking for new “commercially viable” opportunities, Spoelhof said. He sees future development in and around downtown occurring in a more coordinated fashion than in the past.
“We are very involved in the long haul,” Spoelhof said. “We’ll let things continue to play out.”
“As an organization, we have a long-term commitment to Holland. We believe we can put together commercially viable projects, and if you do that, you can attract tenants without too much of a problem,” he said.