One for Thirty-Eight

October 19, 2008
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Locus Development is making progress on Thirty-Eight: a $26 million, mixed-use, two-building project going up at 38 Commerce Ave. SW in partnership with the city of Grand Rapids.

The development features 68,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space that will be built into the two structures. Residences will go into the Commerce Avenue building, while offices will go into the one on Weston Street. Then the two “liner buildings” will come together at the intersection.

John Green, who formed Locus Development with Andy Winkle last spring, said they have their first office tenant lined up and should be closing on that lease within a month. The tenant remains anonymous at this time. But Green did confirm that the company will be moving into the building from a suburban address, which will mean new jobs and new income-tax revenue for the city.

“We are in discussions with a few other prospective office and restaurant users but cannot release that information until leases are signed and contingencies are waived,” said Green.

Green also said Locus Development is thinking about installing a geothermal system to heat and cool the buildings.

“We continue to evaluate geothermal heating and cooling as well as other ‘green’ technologies. Our decision, however, will be based upon the economic benefits that each of these technologies deliver to the project so we can pass the savings along to our customers, specifically those who live and work within the two LEED-certified buildings,” said Green.

“While incorporating ‘green’ is important to Locus Development and our customers, we feel strongly that the social rewards should be balanced with the economic benefits of the project,” he added.

A key part of the project has the city building a 360-space parking ramp inside the two structures. If geothermal is incorporated into the development, Parking Services Director Pam Ritsema said the system’s wells will be buried underneath the ramp.

Locus Development will invest $16 million into the project, and the firm secured its financing from Mercantile Bank in July. The city bought its ramp property and will spend roughly $10 million on the site and the facility.

Both Green and Ritsema said the project will be put up for bid at the end of this month.

“Occupancy is still slated for December 2009,” added Green.

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