GRAND RAPIDS — The owners of Eastern Kille Distillery have sold their Grand Rapids manufacturing and tasting room property to Spectrum Health, generating a major return on the craft spirit makers’ real estate investment as they seek to maintain operations within the city.
The health system, which is planning an eight-story office tower in the city’s Monroe North district, bought the property for $3.75 million — more than 10 times the amount of the distillery’s initial property investment of $370,000 in November 2014, according to city records.
Spectrum acquired the property on June 24 from V & VP Capital LLC, an affiliate of Eastern Kille Distillery’s owners. The location at 700 Ottawa Ave. NW includes two buildings and spans 11,188 square feet.
According to a statement from Eastern Kille Distillery Co-owners Steve Vander Pol and Brandon Voorhees, the distillery will continue operating in the location through the end of 2022, with plans to maintain a presence in Grand Rapids in the future.
“We are working on exciting plans for future location(s) that we look forward to announcing publicly soon,” reads Eastern Kille’s statement. “Our intention is to always maintain a presence in Grand Rapids where we can share our craft cocktails and spirits with the community that has supported us the past 5 years. In the meantime, we are happy to reinvest in our growing and aging inventory of award-winning whiskey.”
Going forward, the distillery owners are “looking for the best possible fit for our community and our business,” Voorhees told MiBiz.
The distillery opened in the North Monroe neighborhood at its current location in 2015 under the name Gray Skies Distillery LLC. The business was renamed in 2019 after a trademark dispute with the owner of Skyy vodka brand. The distillery’s current location houses the company’s distilling and manufacturing operations, as well as its cocktail tasting room.
“Eastern Kille Distillery was founded to create world class spirits with a focus on bourbon and rye whiskey,” reads the Eastern Kille Distillery statement. “With the recent sale of our location at 700 Ottawa Avenue, that mission remains unchanged. We create bourbon and rye whiskey to be sipped with the best, right here in Grand Rapids, and for the time being that is exactly where we will be.”
Spectrum Health has been acquiring a slew of properties in the Monroe North business district for its planned Center for Transformation and Innovation (CTI) campus development. Demolition of the former Gill Industries Inc. building is currently underway.
Spectrum plans to begin construction late this summer on the CTI development, which will house about 1,200 Spectrum Health administration staff which currently work at 26 leased spaces across the city of Grand Rapids. The summer of 2023 is the target occupancy date for employees.
“Spectrum Health continues to plan for future growth in the North Monroe area,” the health care company said in a statement. “As previously announced, development in this neighborhood will include co-locating Spectrum Health functions and departments. We believe our actions support our vision of personalized health made simple, affordable and exceptional and support the downtown business community.”