Architecture, Construction, and Real Estate

Firm plans renovation of downtown landmark

September 19, 2015
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Firm plans makeover of downtown landmark
A rendering of the exterior renovation of the Calder Plaza Building on Monroe Avenue NW in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy CWD Real Estate Investment

With its largest tenant moving out, now is a good time for an extensive makeover of one of the largest buildings in downtown Grand Rapids.

The 10-story Calder Plaza Building — located at 250 Monroe Ave. NW, across the street from DeVos Place — hasn’t had a real makeover, since it was built in 1982.

The time for one has finally come, said Sam Cummings, managing partner at CWD Real Estate Investment in Grand Rapids, the building's owner.

CWD, which bought the Calder Plaza Building in December 2014, said this morning that it plans a schematic and architectural renovation of the roughly 160,000-square-foot building.

Class-A space

CWD plans to make the building “an extremely high-quality office address once again,” Cummings said. He declined to speculate on the cost of the renovation.

“It was built in 1982 and hasn’t really been re-designed since that time, and a lot has changed," Cummings said. "With Miller Johnson moving out, it presented us an opportunity to enhance our long-term vision for the revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids and take this building with extraordinary fundamentals . . . and bring it to contemporary standards.

“Our primary goals were to improve how it addresses the street, increase its ability to contribute to the street front and thereby increase its retail space and dramatically improve the lobbies (and) common areas, bringing natural light into the building and upgrading mechanicals.

“This re-design will give us great flexibility to accommodate a variety of clients looking for highly visible, class-A downtown office space with convenient parking."

He added that CWD can design suites from 2,500 to 110,000 square feet for delivery next summer or fall.

Outside perspective

CWD issued an RFP for an architect earlier this year.

Although Cummings praised local architects, he said CWD wanted “fresh eyes” for the project. This spring, CWD selected Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates to head the project. A contractor hasn’t been chosen yet.


Cummings said he believes the city permit and approval process will go smoothly, and he doesn’t expect many hurdles. He hopes to start construction in December and for the project to be completed next summer.

“We are pretty committed to downtown Grand Rapids and this falls right into that. It’s what we do,” he said. “This is one of those buildings that, frankly, needs us. It needs to be re-thought.”

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