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The B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids. (File photo.) The B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids. (File photo.)

Comedy club Dr. Grins set to close amid pending sale of The B.O.B.

BY Wednesday, December 08, 2021 03:42pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Dr. Grins Comedy Club is preparing for its last event in The B.O.B. at the end of the month ahead of the expected sale of the building to a new owner.

Sources tell MiBiz  the comedy club, as well as other venues and restaurants in the building at 20 Monroe Ave. NW, are closing on Jan. 1 ahead of the building’s sale to an as-yet undisclosed buyer. The closings suggest a new purpose for the four-story building that includes restaurants, bars, venues and offices.

The B.O.B., along with the adjacent GLC Live at 20 Monroe music venue (formerly known as 20 Monroe Live), were listed by Pure Real Estate Brokerage LLC in November 2020, as MiBiz reported at the time. The B.O.B. was listed for $15.5 million while the music venue was listed for $16.5 million. The listings included an option to purchase both entities as a package deal. Both venues are owned by Gilmore Collection

Media partner WOOD-TV8 first reported late last week that separate sales are pending on both properties.

Pure Real Estate Principal and Broker Ray Kisor said both sales are expected to close in mid January 2022. Kisor declined to comment on further details about the buyer and future use of the properties, citing a non-disclosure agreement. 

Gilmore Collection CEO Greg Gilmore did not respond to questions about the business closings or the pending sale, though he did say a press release would be issued on Thursday.

However, sources who work in The B.O.B. have confirmed that all of the businesses in the building are scheduled to close by Jan. 1. 

The four-story, 70,000-square-foot building is home to B.O.B.’s Brewery on the lower level; Judson’s Steakhouse, Gilly’s Smokehouse and H.O.M.E. on the first floor; Bobarino’s Pizzeria on the second floor; and Dr. Grins Comedy Club and a banquet facility on the third floor. The fourth floor includes Gilmore Collection’s corporate offices and Eve Nightclub

Dr. Grins has shows booked through the coming weeks until a final “Last Laugh Showcase” featuring local comedians that’s scheduled on New Year’s Eve, said Gerrit Elzinga, a Dr. Grins employee who emcees shows. 

“We have canceled all of our January shows and at least the first few weeks of shows in February,” Elzinga said. “We’re trying to find a new venue (for Dr. Grins.)”

Dr. Grins reopened in August 2021 after being shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. The club opened in 1997 and has hosted nationally recognized comedians.

“It’s bittersweet,” Elzinga said. “I started doing comedy at 15 and this was the first place that I went to. It’s a huge part of history in downtown Grand Rapids comedy, but it’s also a personal history for me, too. It’s a bummer and I hope we can open in a new place, but it still won’t be the same.”

Elzinga said Eve nightclub also hopes to relocate to a new venue in Grand Rapids after it is expected to close its doors in The B.O.B. at the start of the new year. A separate source confirmed that all businesses in The B.O.B. are closing.

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Managing Editor Andy Balaskovitz contributed reporting to this story.

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