WALKER — The former MLive Media Group and Grand Rapids Press printing facility in Walker that once printed 375,000 newspapers a week has been sold to a Pontiac-based industrial contracting company for $9.75 million.
The nearly 236,000-square-foot facility at 3100 Walker Ridge Drive will serve as Lee Contracting Inc.’s first location outside of Pontiac. The company worked to acquire the site from Herald Publishing Company LLC, which merged with The Grand Rapids Press Company LLC and other MLive affiliates on Jan. 1, 2018.
Lee Contracting’s Walker facility will start by offering electrical and mechanical services, with rigging, machinery moving and concrete machine foundations to follow. The sale closed on Sept. 24 and included some personal property such as a racking system and office furniture, according to JLL Senior Vice President Bob Horn, who acted as a broker on the deal.
MLive Media Group announced in July 2020 that it was closing the Walker printing facility. Starting in October 2020, MLive transferred its printing operations to an Advance Publications Inc. — MLive’s parent company — facility in Cleveland as a cost-saving measure, according to previous MLive reports. The Walker production facility was built in 2007.
“We have been serving customers in West Michigan for several years, and we feel the business environment in the greater Grand Rapids area is a great fit for us,” Lee Contracting CEO Frederick Cauley said in a statement. “Expanding our footprint with an established office in Walker allows us to better serve the day-to-day needs of our existing West Michigan customers, while expanding our ability to bring our award-winning services to additional companies in the region.”
Lee Contracting currently works with more than a dozen companies in the Grand Rapids area, including aluminum extrusion equipment manufacturer Granco Clark Inc. and steel supplier Dennen Steel Corp.
“Walker is excited to welcome Lee Contracting,” Walker Mayor Gary Carey said in a statement. “The commitment to their employees has helped them accelerate their growth and allows them to attract, retain and develop top talent. The combination of investment Lee Contracting makes in their people, along with the communities in which they serve, makes them a perfect fit for Walker. We are very excited for them to live, work, and grow in their new Walker location.”
Horn said the facility is “unique” with a layout that includes printing and warehouse space as well as a 40,000-square-foot office building, Horn said.
“The space boasts a number of specialized features, including 75-foot clear heights, fire protection, dual substation power feeds and an autonomous racking system,” Horn said. “JLL was pleased to assist Lee Contracting in finding the ideal satellite location for its expanding operations.”
Headquartered in Pontiac, Lee Contracting employs more than 450 people and is accepting applications for skilled tradespeople to work at its new Walker location.