Above The Water

November 5, 2007
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Things will be looking up, literally, in 2008 for the new owners of the Waterfront Office Suites near Centerpointe Mall.

Doug and Pamela Fournier, who last summer purchased the office building at 3737 Lake Eastbrook Blvd. SE from longtime Grand Rapids businessman Randy Disselkoen, are planning to add three to four stories to the single-story building. The addition could tack 7,000 to 9,000 square feet onto the 11,800-square-foot building, Doug Fornier said.

“When the architect got here, he saw the middle section as not being utilized to its fullest extent,” Fournier said.

Tenants in the offices, which offer views of Lake Eastbrook, currently include lawyers, advertising agencies and sales brokers, he said.

He said he recently signed his first tenant for “virtual flex suites.” This arrangement provides a furnished suite that includes a computer, telephone, fax, Internet access, mailbox, and use of a conference room with teleconference capability and audio-visual equipment. He said the space starts at $149 a month for 12 hours of use, and goes up from there.

Fournier said he expects that even after construction is done, the nautical-themed building will continue to house a mix of full-time and flex-time tenants.

“With the economy, a lot of companies are downsizing and looking for flex-type office space,” he added.

He said construction could begin in summer 2008 — “but there are so many variables.” He noted that major construction to transform Centerpointe Mall is expected in 2008, as well.

The Fourniers also are working on their Byron Center Plaza on 4.3 acres along 84th Street, east of Byron Center Avenue, where work could begin before the end of the year.

“The front will be taken off and resurfaced to have the ‘Old Town’ look, making every storefront somewhat different, yet blending in,” said Pamela Fournier. Gone will be the box signs, which are outdated, she said, to be replaced with channel signs. She said the building at 2245 84th St. SW is about 20 years old. The new design, with brick and canopies, was created by architect Rob Postema, of RP Associates Architects and Engineers.

“People still will be able to enter the stores (during construction),” Fournier said. “We’re going to work as quickly as we can.”

She said current tenants include a restaurant, a hair salon, a nail salon, a fitness center and a drug store.

“There’s a lot of room to expand,” added Doug Fournier, noting that a bank and a gasoline station have recently joined the grocery store on an adjacent lot, owned by relatives.

Fournier, a businessman and former teacher, said that he and his wife, who has a background in marketing, hope to continue to expand their real estate holdings in the future.

“Yes, absolutely, that’s the direction we intend to do,” Fournier said.   CQX

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