Economic Development and Real Estate

Michigan tribes purchase historic downtown building

The 18-story building is a mixed-use development featuring commercial, retail, office space and more.

January 16, 2020
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McKay Tower renovation includes ballroom and apartments
Gun Lake Investments and Waséyabek Development are making a joint acquisition of McKay Tower. Courtesy McKay Tower

Two Michigan tribes are purchasing a historic building downtown for $17.5 million.

The nongaming economic development entities of Gun Lake Investments and Waséyabek Development Company said they are making a joint acquisition of McKay Tower, at 146 Monroe Center NW in downtown Grand Rapids.

The 18-story building is a mixed-use development featuring commercial, retail and office space, a ballroom, conference rooms and three floors of luxury apartments that include a rooftop lounge and deck.

No operational changes are planned for the building, said the partners, both based in Grand Rapids.

The building was sold by Steadfast Property Holdings.

“When McKay Tower came on the market, we believed it represented an attractive acquisition opportunity, and we were excited about the opportunity to continue its historic legacy in downtown Grand Rapids,” said Kurtis Trevan, CEO of Gun Lake Investments.

McKay Tower history

At 227 feet tall, McKay Tower was the tallest building between Detroit and Chicago until 1983, when the Amway Grand Plaza tower was completed. It’s now the fifth-tallest building in Grand Rapids.

It dates back to 1914 when Grand Rapids National Bank constructed a four-story building on the site. In 1926, 12 additional stories were added and two more were added in 1940. Local resident Frank McKay purchased the tower in 1942 and renamed it after himself.

McKay willed the building to the University of Michigan, which sold it in 2000 to Spring Lake developer Mark Roller.

Jonathan Borisch of Steadfast bought the building for $10.5 million in 2012, according to previous Business Journal reports.

In 2013, Borisch spent about $1 million to renovate the second-floor ballroom. He also renovated and added apartments on the 15th floor, completed exterior renovations and replaced the four elevators.

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