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Kate Carlson

Kate Carlson

Staff Writer, covers real estate and development and small businesses

 

Twitter: @BizCarlson
Email: [email protected]

GRAND RAPIDS — Five recreational cannabis dispensaries will be operating in the city of Grand Rapids by Friday morning. 

GRAND RAPIDS — In-house food delivery and expanded outdoor capacity are just a few pandemic lessons Rob Schellenberg has learned as he prepares to open a new bar with live music space on Grand Rapids’ West Side.

KALAMAZOO — A new funding tool recently signed into law is intended to help finance an event center in downtown Kalamazoo, but it’s unclear if there is a desire or solid plans to move forward with the venue.

SPRING LAKE — It has been nearly a year since Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake had a crowd of people packed together for a live music performance, but owners Gary and Michelle Hanks hope to see shows return in some capacity in 2021. 

SPARTA TOWNSHIP — Stoney Ridge Winery LLC officially opened in June 2020 after a few soft opening events at the start of the pandemic.

Michigan’s statewide building codes are set for an update this year. While there could be some new energy efficiency measures added, the codes are far behind where they should be to address climate change, according to some local design firms and environmental advocates.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread uncertainty about the future of commercial office space, including for the relatively new sector around coworking, or flexible workplaces.

Owners of historic homes and buildings will soon be able to apply for funding through a newly reinstated state tax credit for historic preservation projects that was eliminated in 2011 as part of former Gov. Rick Snyder’s tax reform strategy.

GRAND HAVEN — A 133-unit condominium and apartment project gained unanimous final site plan approval Tuesday from the Grand Haven City Planning Commission.

WALKER — The Walker Planning Commision is set to consider plans for two conjoined hotels totaling 156 rooms just south of I-96.

Real estate experts from Colliers International’s West Michigan office predict the market in 2021 will have pent-up demand with some improvement in most sectors from last year. But that will depend on the rate of COVID-19 cases and how the vaccine is rolled out.

GRAND RAPIDS — Amplify GR and Rockford Construction Co. were awarded about $2.2 million in tax incentives Tuesday to redevelop an industrial site on the city’s south side for a data management company.

GRAND RAPIDS — Gage Cannabis Co. plans to open a medical cannabis dispensary in Grand Rapids later this week, marking its sixth retail store in Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — Finishing touches are being added to the completely renovated building near downtown Grand Rapids that was transformed into the new headquarters for Integrated Architecture LLC. 

GRAND RAPIDS — A 240-unit affordable housing complex located on Lake Michigan Drive will be considered for final site plan approval on Thursday by the Grand Rapids Planning Commission. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Events are planned to slowly return to Grand Rapids’ downtown venues with ramped up safety guidelines, starting with crowdless Grand Rapids Griffins games and Grand Rapids Symphony performances.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread uncertainty about the future of commercial office space, including for the relatively new sector around coworking, or flexible, workplaces.

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed legislation reinstating a tax credit for historic preservation projects that was eliminated in 2011 as part of former Gov. Rick Snyder’s state tax reform strategy.

CASCADE TOWNSHIP — A group of top leadership staff at Colliers International’s West Michigan office have launched a new commercial real estate brokerage firm. 

Sunday, 03 January 2021 17:30

Putting pieces together in Manistee

MANISTEE — The lakeshore city of just more than 6,000 people is seeing multiple new downtown developments that local officials and investors say are critical for reinvigorating empty storefronts, diversification and emerging better off after the pandemic.

Sunday, 20 December 2020 19:15

Experts divided over future of office space

Through multiple lockdowns and workplace restrictions, companies have altered the way they think about and use their commercial office space because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Recent year-end reports on non-residential construction activity softening and a plunging average project backlog are giving West Michigan construction leaders some reason for concern going into 2021.

Zachary Verhulst started Grand Rapids-based PURE Architects in August, about five months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Verhulst — who was named the 2019 Young Architect of the Year by the American Institute of Architects’ Grand Rapids chapter — believes the pandemic will cause a major shift in architecture and design, while social movements over the past year have underscored the need for more diversity in the industry.

The tourism and hospitality sectors took a major hit in 2020 but are expected to slowly rebound in 2021 with positive news about the COVID-19 vaccine. Experience Grand Rapids Executive Director Doug Small is among industry leaders predicting it will take longer than a year for tourism to return to pre-pandemic levels, but a few larger projects on the horizon could provide Grand Rapids with some momentum in the new year. Hotels hit historically low occupancy rates in 2020, and Kent County hit a low in April with an 18 percent average occupancy rate. Occupancy levels are expected to increase in 2021, but are still expected to fall short of pre-pandemic levels.

Ada-based Erhardt Construction Co. focuses on a variety of market sectors — including industrial, higher education, senior living, places of worship, office and retail — and has intentionally diversified to be better positioned when one market slows down. While CEO Ben Wickstrom is concerned about some industry trends he expects to see in 2021, including a shrinking backlog of projects, he is still mostly optimistic about a gradual rebound starting around midyear. He also hopes the pandemic underscores the value of revenue to municipalities that helps drive construction projects, and plans to closely watch productivity on projects amid new worksite regulations.

Born and raised in Muskegon, Greg Maki was the first to open recreational cannabis dispensaries in Muskegon, Ottawa and Montcalm counties. While many businesses ground to a halt during 2020, the cannabis industry continued to grow in West Michigan. Park Place Provisionary in Muskegon, Exit 9 in Nunica, and Edmore Provisionary are open under Agri-Med LLC, and Maki is working on opening more locations in the region.

Ben Wrigley — along with fellow attorney Robert Hendricks — created a specialized law practice in 2013 under the CannaLex division of their firm, Wrigley Hoffman PC. As more adult-use dispensaries open across the state, Wrigley has emerged as a local voice in the cannabis industry to help make sense of frequently changing state and local restrictions for business owners. He has represented numerous clients seeking to start cannabis businesses in Michigan’s medical and adult-use markets, which he says are poised to expand to more municipalities. 

The pandemic pushed local retailers that traditionally rely on foot traffic to beef up their online presence and offer curbside and delivery options — mostly out of necessity to accommodate shopping from home and to compete with online retail giants.

With already thin profit margins, dine-in restaurants have faced the brunt of COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan, and many won’t emerge on the other side. Some owners — including Jeff Lobdell, president of Restaurant Partners Management Inc. — feel their businesses have been unfairly targeted as state officials sought to stem the surge of cases over the past month. Lobdell owns restaurants across the state, including several in the Grand Rapids area like Bagel Beanery, Sundance Grill & Bar, Beltline Bar, The Omelette Shoppe, Rockwell Republic and Noble Restaurant. Lobdell started the year operating 20 restaurants, nearly half of which have closed at least temporarily.

GRAND RAPIDS — Perrigo Co. plc is seeking a 12-year incentive agreement estimated at $4.1 million in total property tax savings for its plans to relocate its North American headquarters to downtown.

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