New Building Is Doing Well

April 11, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — One of the city’s newest office buildings is off to a good start, despite all the nearby construction that has closed streets and made it a tad difficult at times for visitors and potential tenants to reach the structure easily.

Third Coast Development Partners LLC, owned by Dave Levitt and Brad Rosely, opened a new three-story, 30,000-square-foot building at 545 Michigan St. NE last May. The office address is one component of the firm’s larger Mid Towne Village development, which includes more medical office space, condominiums, a park and possibly a hotel making up a walkable community just north of the office building.

“It came out of the ground as a medical office building — but it’s a mixed-use medical office building, as it has street retail. The differences between a medical office building and a regular office building are primarily in construction, making provisions for things like water and that kind of stuff,” said Levitt.

“But there is nothing that precludes an office user from going into this building, so it’s kind of a mix. I would say the building, from an office perspective, is primarily medical or medical support — offices that are either related to the medical industry or are doctors,” he added.

Levitt told the Business Journal that roughly half of the building’s space is leased. Of course, The Omelette Shop, the structure’s ground-floor restaurant, is the building’s most talked-about tenant. Levitt kidded that some people even call it “The Omelette Shop building.”

“It’s the only retail tenant currently. We’re always connecting with somebody, so we’re in discussions with a couple of other retail-type tenants. They are going to be more service-type businesses, potentially another restaurant or a spa or those types of uses. Typically, when we say ‘retail,’ I’m not envisioning The Gap or something like that,” he said.

Levitt also joked that the building might have more tenants if construction for all the medical developments going up on Michigan Street hadn’t created a detoured traffic maze only about a mile west of the building. After having a good laugh, he said, “Well, we have a long-term perspective on it. So the construction along Michigan Street is good because it will make way for more traffic in the future.”

Cornerstone Architects designed the building and Pioneer Construction managed the project for Third Coast.

“It’s a great building, first of all, and second, it’s in an awesome location. The building is really well-located relative to both the Spectrum and Saint Mary’s campuses; it’s a half-mile from one and a mile from the other, right at the (I-196) College Avenue exit and on the ‘Medical Mile,’” said Levitt.

“Those are all the factors that make it a great building.”

Those are also some of the factors that have helped make the past year a pretty good year business-wise for Third Coast. Levitt said a couple things that he and Rosely have done have accounted for much of the good fortune their company has had.

“We really focus on the success of our clients. People can say that, but there is clearly a difference between companies that really care about how their clients succeed and then sort of make money in the process, versus companies that are out there just trying to make money and if their clients succeed, then that’s fine,” he said, while adding that some clients have asked him and Rosely to join them on other projects.

Levitt said another thing that made a difference for them is they’re not trying to make a “killing” on every project they do, something Rosely called the “Meijer strategy.”

“We’re trying to make a living and make a little bit on a lot of projects. There are two different kinds of poles in the development community. One side of the development community is like us and one side is developers who really try to go out elephant hunting,” Levitt said.

“It’s not that one is right and one is wrong; it’s just a difference in philosophy. And philosophically, we think by working hard and doing well by our clients, they will come back to us over and over again and we’ll make money. We say it right out front with all of our clients: We’re in this to make money, but if you don’t succeed, we’re not going to make it.”

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