Real Estate

CWD expands its presence on city’s southeast side

It hasn’t yet decided on a project for the site.

November 22, 2013
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CWD expands its presence on city's southeast side
CWD partners said the MAC property will be used in ways that focus on the immediate neighborhood and surrounding community. Photo by Chris Pastotnik

It appears the reason CWD Real Estate Investment bought the building that houses the Michigan Athletic Club and the property it sits on is that both are close to some sites the firm already owns.

The MAC is at 2500 Burton St. SE in Grand Rapids, near Breton Village Mall and other parcels CWD recently bought.

But the firm’s partners, Sam Cummings, Scott Wierda and Dan DeVos, said they haven’t put together a proposed development for the site as of yet.

“Our goal with this property, first and foremost, is to do what’s best for the community and the immediate neighborhood. We are committed to the Breton Village area and do not want the property to sit vacant once the MAC closes down at its lease expiration,” said Wierda, co-managing partner of CWD, in a statement.

“We are patient investors and will be exploring a number of options. We want to have the best possible plan moving forward,” added Wierda, who also said Brian De Vries is part of this investment.

John Truscott, principal and president of Truscott Rossman, a Lansing public relations firm representing CWD, said the partners were very interested in the property. The site is a fairly large one for an urban commercial location at 8.5 acres.

“They own a lot of property in the area, so when this became available they definitely wanted to add it to their portfolio and continue to grow their interest in that area,” said Truscott.

Truscott added that CWD has just begun its process to figure out what would be the best use for the site.

City Planning Director Suzanne Schulz said the property is zoned a Planned Unit Development, or a PUD in zoning parlance. So any change in use that CWD has in mind for the property would have to go to the Planning Commission and then to the City Commission.

“The question would be, what are they planning on doing and how sensitive is it compared to what is already there? So depending on the extent and scope of the project, that would determine the approval process they would need to go through,” said Schulz.

“We haven’t seen any proposed plans for the site,” she added.

CWD was recently awarded a zoning change for two nearby parcels the firm is planning to develop into a retail use. The properties are at 2410 and 2420 Burton St. SE, where the firm said it plans to put up a 12,000-square-foot retail building on a redesigned footprint.

A zoning change was needed for the project because the parcels were zoned with a nod to office use and not retail, even though the sites are across the street from the Breton Village Mall, which CWD also owns.

A representative for CWD told the Planning Commission the company has a tenant interested in setting up shop there if the properties are rezoned.

“They are heavily invested in that area with Jade Pig (Ventures) and CWD between Breton Village Mall and the southeast corner at Breton and Burton that they just recently had rezoned. So certainly I think they’ll be trying to protect the investment they’ve already made,” said Schulz.

“Clearly, they have a vision for that area of the city, and when they are ready they will share it with everybody,” she added.

“It could be an investment from a land-control standpoint because they have been investing in that area and they want to make sure it is managed in a way they can protect their investment.”

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has announced it will discontinue operating the MAC and was hoping that someone would make an offer on the business because it wasn’t financially viable for the health system to continue operating it.

Saint Mary’s lease on the building expires at the end of January and won’t be renewed, unless a valid offer is made on the business. Saint Mary’s announced the MAC will close Jan. 5.

“CWD doesn’t operate health clubs. If somebody steps forward, they might entertain that as an option. At least that is an option, but they’re looking at all options right now,” said Truscott.

According to Kent County property records, CPPR LLC has owned the property since late January 1999 when the local investor group purchased it for $5.5 million. The 2013 State Equalized Value of the site stood at $2.94 million.

Truscott told the Business Journal a purchase price will not be disclosed.

“We are excited about this acquisition because it is not only a continuation of supporting and investing in Grand Rapids, but it also emphasizes the importance of reinvesting in our near neighborhoods, as well as our urban core,” Cummings said.

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