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volume 1 | Distinctively Downtown Downtown Alliance and Downtown Development Authority


Grand Rapids Wells Fargo Insurance Team

Dedicated to the community and businesses of Grand Rapids Wells Fargo Insurance is proud to play an active role in the Grand Rapids community. Our local insurance professionals have worked with the people, businesses, and industries of Grand Rapids for more than 30 years, and we are committed to providing you with sound advice, quality products, and superior service today and in the future. Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. Brass Works Building • 648 Monroe Avenue NW • Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616-454-7153 •

“We’re proud to have been a part of the history of downtown Grand Rapids for 30 years and look forward to serving the community for many more years to come.” Bill Rothwell Managing Director, Wells Fargo Insurance

© 2012 Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. All rights reserved. MC-4321

Products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc., and Wells Fargo Insurance Services of West Virginia, Inc., non-bank insurance agency affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company. Products and services are underwritten by unaffiliated insurance companies, except crop and flood insurance which may be underwritten by their affiliate, Rural Community Insurance Company. Some services may require additional fees and may be offered directly through third-party providers.

MC-4321 Grand Rapids Jouranl_8.375x10.875.indd 1

6/27/12 9:32 AM

distinctively downtown

contents 3 4 5 6-7 8-9 10-11 14-15 16-17 18-19 22-23 24-25 26-27 30-31 32-33 34-35 38-39 40-41 42-43 44-45 46-47

A message from The Right Place, Inc. From the Associate Publisher A message from the Downtown Alliance NAI Wisinski of West Michigan 616 Development Interurban Transit Partnership Rockford Construction Rhoades McKee PC Kendall College of Art and Design Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. Colliers International | West Michigan First National Bank of Michigan Wolverine Building Group University Club of Grand Rapids Erhardt Construction Western Michigan University TowerPinkster Ferris State University Comerica Bank Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

2 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

lth and

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m pids’ bout a co Grand Ra asbe said a n n a w c to t n lo w a t. that ss than of Do istric rmation s been nothing le I believe its downtown d fo s n a tr f e to the Am a o vibrancy nessed much of th l decades, and it h Pantlind Hotel in nd south of I’ve wit e former al Mile a st severa n an er the pa evelopment of th along the Medic ave set in motio v o e p a c h d ts s e n r r e e citys e d tm a iness le . From th st inves tounding Plaza, to the late mmunity and bus for downtown. llaboray d o n it c rivate co d the ’ a il r s -p b c a id li p in b a u ta R way G s p n, Grand ies aroun th and su novative Downtow nted plan of grow is the result of in izations. Many cit Rapids, we e nt Grand d organ unpreced f this developme aders an tnerships, but in l city of investle y o it h n c u u r M pa ode omm g many c of public-private s has become a m s travel to Grand s n o m a s n ” id p lk tio der cesse unity lea Grand Ra talk the ta ative suc dent n country “ alk”. Downtown aboration. Comm ur city’s collabor ss is depe o oll ew “walk th formation, and c ina to learn from over is that succe a common ns tablish ay as Ch things they disc ment, tra er and es as far aw y n th m a e o g m fr to e s k e ong th Rapid to wor ts along th work. Am e ability vestmen ket, are exn and team ing principle: th I . y a d to r uid at vision rban Ma ent on one g e future. s the results of th e Grand Rapids U ntinued investm th r fo n s o e th C n n . s visio it s a w w ie h to c it n e to , su ow tun side of d I continu on of downtown rders and oppor st the west wn. These are ju bo rti n o n o p r y e n it r s th e r u n e o to w s iv n n to ’s w south n n U o w w D g Do ownto in ey State er and west of d ll m a g r V in fo d s d n n n a pa iv tra Gr ross the r nsion by t projects and expa opportunities ac t and investmen n districts n d e downtow d social t s has create e many developm e b e an f th ls some o r of the business at is felt a few of th ids. pids riva o a th h c R n p n a d w a n R e a to d r n G w s th Gran owntown merged a pulsating from do ed by that energy Today, D tates. It has re-e ir y p s s and erg ited S , we are in wn Grand Rapid e is an en to in the Un our region. Ther t The Right Place n in Dow r A sectors fo t West Michigan. eration of growth n u e o g through act on the next p future. and its im igan’s economic h West Mic ly, Sincere

. Klohs Birgit M nd CEO ta Presiden Place, Inc. t h ig R e h T

distinctively downtown 2012 49503 3

Cool City I’ve lived in Grand Rapids (Jenison, to be exact) for 22 years, after having spent nearly the same amount of time in other communities around the country. I have worked in downtown GR all those years. And, without any reservations whatsoever, I can honestly say Grand Rapids is one of the “coolest” cities anywhere! It wasn’t always like that. In those 22 years, Downtown GR has seen a major resurgence. It is now “cool!” Perhaps, we could credit our “coolness” to the arts . . . performing, visual or liberal. For example, ArtPrize attracts nearly 500,000 people to Downtown GR. Or, maybe it is due to the 75,000 enrolled college students who annually circulate throughout our community, making GR “hipper, fresher and more vibrant.” Perhaps it is the result of the pro-active vision, commitment and vigilance of our influencers and policy-makers that makes GR a place to live rather than merely reside. This could also be at the root of what makes GR “cool.” Whoever these “conspirators” are, “cool” cities don’t just happen. It takes time, money and people. Many of the movers and shakers operate behind the scenes. These are the designers, creators and builders of the “people spaces,” places where we work, live and revel. Nowhere is this more evident than Grand Rapids 49503, the Downtown GR District. Here the “cool” factor is so hot, Gemini Publications produced this special single-issue magazine to tell the stories of the places and the people that define Downtown GR. We would like to thank our sponsors . . . Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Alliance and Right Place, and also, our advertisers . . . for their vision, passion and commitment. And we should all appreciate, too, that the things we enjoy today will only improve in the coming years. Management expert and popular author Kenneth Blanchard says it best: “The best place to discover ideas isn’t looking for new ones, it’s seeing those that already exist.” And, in that regard, we’ve been building on Louis Campau’s vision since 1826. Enjoy 49503!






Christopher Pastotnik: ART COORDINATOR


Melissa Brooks: Kristen Van Oostenbrugge: Robin Vargo: GENERAL SALES MANAGER


Christina McDonald Meister: Craig R. Rich: Julie VanGessel: ADVERTISING SALES ASSISTANT






General Inquiries: TO ORDER REPRINTS

Karla Jeltema:, or call (616) 459-4545

Randy D. Prichard Associate Publisher Gemini Publications

49503, Volume 1 is published by Gemini Publications, a division of Gemini Corporation. Publishing offices: 549 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 201, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-1444. Telephone (616) 459-4545; fax (616) 459-4800. General e-mail: Copyright © 2012 by Gemini Publications. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 49503, 549 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 201, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-1444.


There’s so m architectu ething special about re, public art, excitin Downtown Grand R and prese g new gath apids. The nt. Grand R re a eri ap institution s of higher ids is a rich, multi- ng spaces, and the st re the things you ca layered urb n see: the reetscapes learning, o our reside great a nts. ur medica re l and resea n tapestry, a bi-prod flection of our city There are ’s rc u c past h t o fa also the th f cilities, an River. You ings you c d our arts, our government, ou can feel it a n r m fe u el. Th seums and . You can se it in the ne certainly e it on the ere’s a buzz, an ene wspapers rg fa and magaz Grand Rap ines and o ces of visitors and th y, about this place a ids. lon n the Inte o Certainly, rn et. There’s se that live here. Yo g the Grand u can read something the people the magic comes fr ab magic abo om the bu they emplo ut Downto out sinesses lo magazine y and attra wn c of the 495 a c te t, d to h the servic 03 district. The busin es they off ere. From the buildin e e ss r, g e s a s n th a d the insp nd people sible. The iration the ey renovate, to in y leap. Th y provide… is is a com vesting in Downtow show our like this m n un skil G the great p ls as we construct ity where we strive rand Rapids have m green buil fo a otential of d r e an art of the best, w dings, ren all people, what’s posith a hum The Dow ovate th effort as w ntown Alliance and at we can create a D entire blocks and c ble audaciousness. W e work to o re th e ate art. It re create a pla e Downtown Dev wntown of such be and sociali minds me elopment auty, histo ce where b ze. of A ry u u th a si n ority (DDA nesses and d commun The Down ) it th to a y. e re w ir n All yo employees the Down chose to lo ur partners in this town Allia iance is an organiza c a n ti te ce are gov We work to on of the d and grow, ern owntown live p an town; we c rovide a welcomin ed by a 25 person B g environm oard of Dir d for the downtown reate a sen ; se of place e e markets th , an identi nt by providing a cle ctors – all downtow the activities of e ty, for the n stakehold an, attracti tion and o downtown, and pro C BD and W ve, safe an rga vid ers. est d fr Improvem nization. It was cre es services of advo cacy, merc Michigan. The Dow iendly downated in 20 ent Distric h 0 t, n a 1 and, by su pporting a to make good into b when the property nt assistance, events town Alliance rt, culture owners de etter, clean , commun The DDA , c icaa id in n d life style ed to crea to cleaner, was crea ic preserv te a Busin social into ess ation with ted in 1979 to prom , to make the Down v ib rant and c ote tow in led to loss ompelling of populati the central business economic growth a n even better. ; n district. T o ment agen he DDA se d revitalization and cy responsi n, jobs, businesses a e e n ks to revers ncourage ble for ma the growth d the quali h ny improv a ements in ty of life within the e historical trends th istorproperties, nd development of C th at had B th e the DDA h D e d . o C T w B h n D e to . D wn Usin DA have led to as unprecede financed many pub g incremental prop area that have contr is a developib lic improv nted priva erty taxes Several ye ements an te investm collected fr uted greatly to ars ago aft d e o ment: “Th n u m do t. p e r g rades to th an event, v is is w e infrastru wntown id I think tha hat I love about Gra eos were being pla cture, whic ced on You t is a fittin n h g tribute to d Rapids.” Tube. One ended wit the people h this state , businesse s and deve lopers of D owntown Grand Rap ids. Sharon Ev oy Executive Director,

Downtow n Alliance

distinctively downtown 2012 49503 5

Left to right: stan wisinski, sioR, cciM and Mary Anne wisinskiRosely, sioR, cciM

100 Grandville Ave SW, Suite 100 Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616.776.0100

6 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

NAI Wisinski of West Michigan Local Knowledge. Global Reach. Achieve More Nowhere is the on-going renaissance of downtown Grand Rapids more evident than it is in the historic Heartside Neighborhood. Since the opening of Van Andel Arena in 1996, developers, business owners and other urban pioneers have transformed what had been a hodgepodge of rundown old factories and buildings south of Fulton Street into a thriving environment of offices, shops, apartments, restaurants and bars. “I started to see more serious interest in Heartside shortly before work on the arena began,” said Stan Wisinski, partner and broker with NAI Wisinski of West Michigan. “Some of it was speculative, but most of the investors were serious about renewing downtown and utilizing the rich history of this neighborhood to

get the heart of downtown beating again.” When the Diocese of Grand Rapids decided to consolidate some of its operations at the southern end of downtown its leaders turned to Stan Wisinski and fellow NAI Wisinski partner Mary Anne Wisinski-Rosely for help assembling a mixture of empty or under utilized properties. Today the $24 million Cathedral Square campus is a southern gateway to downtown that is spurring additional investment around it. Some of the founders of NAI Wisinski of West Michigan believed so much in the potential that they were among the neighborhood’s pioneers, establishing what is now the company’s headquarters inside a former hardware wholesale building at 100 Grandville Ave. SW. “Being part of the neighborhood

gives us the insight we need to work with visionaries who recognize the potential in the fabulous architecture and highquality of construction used throughout the neighborhood,” Wisinski-Rosely said. Karl Chew, founder of Midland-based Brookstone Capital Partners, is one of those visionaries. Working with NAI, Chew transformed a group of dilapidated buildings into fully leased workforce apartments and livework units along South Division Avenue and Williams Street. “While we’ve seen the area come a long way, there are still opportunities in Heartside,” said Jim Decker, president of NAI Wisinski. “That’s why we call it home and why we enjoy working with companies and investors with the vision to be part of this great urban environment.” distinctively Downtown 2012 49503 7

80 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 250 Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616.504.1715

616 Development siMPLe uRban Living

8 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

616 Lofts on Ionia received one of the first Community Revitalization Program grants from the state along with support from the city and its Downtown Development Authority “Without the collaborative vision of state and local supporters this project would not have been possible,” said Derek Coppess, founder of 616 Development. 616 Lofts on Ionia, a $7 million project, was designed by Dixon Architecture with First Companies serving as general contractor The southwestern corner of Fulton Street and Ionia Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids is about as good as it gets for 616 Development and its founder Derek Coppess. Inside two historic buildings there, 616 Development has invested more than $7 million to create 616 Lofts on Ionia in the heart of the city’s arena and entertainment district. “This project embodies what I call our bread and but-

derek coppess

ter, what we view as a perfect mixed-use redevelopment project,” he said. “It has retail on the ground floor, an office buffer on the second and residential on the upper floors. It’s a true 24-hour concept.” The 20 new apartments on floors three, four and five are a short walk from the downtown’s bustling restaurants and bars, across the street from hundreds of parking spaces, and just a few blocks from downtown colleges and cultural attractions like the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. Grand Rapids Brewing Co. (GRBC) occupies the ground floor, providing an anchor to the project and a new draw to the city named Beer City USA 2012 by the National Beer Examiner. “This really hits a sweet spot for us,” Coppess said. “By mixing our tenant base and bringing new life to these historic buildings, we add to the fabric of the city and create a dynamic place for our residents.”

GRBC’s visibility along Fulton Street combined with its proximity to Van Andel Arena, area hotels and other downtown hotspots also make the building a magnet for people visiting downtown. “We couldn’t ask for a better location, right next to Van Andel Arena, in the heart of GR’s entertainment district,” said Mark Sellers, whose BarFly Ventures owns GRBC and four other downtown bars. For Coppess, 616 Lofts on Ionia is part of a growing 150-unit 616 Lofts community he is creating at buildings throughout downtown Grand Rapids. “As we grow specifically within the downtown Grand Rapids district, we are connecting residents not only with other residents in their buildings but also people at other 616 properties,” Coppess said. “We also work to introduce downtown retailers and restaurants to our residents because we know how vital those relationships are to developing a sustainable downtown living community.” distinctively downtown 2012 49503 9 616-776-1100

The Rapid Moving coMMuniTy FoRwaRd

10 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

Getting large volumes of people from one place to another efficiently, affordably and effectively is not particularly flashy or headline-worthy, which is why public transportation – when done well – sometimes goes unnoticed. The Rapid, as public transportation done well, has often fallen into that ‘unnoticed’ category. It’s time to shed some light on why its accomplishments deserve some attention. The role of The Rapid in helping to facilitate the urban redevelopment of downtown Grand Rapids has been dynamic and fast changing. The system provided 10.8 million rides last year, and is on pace to break that record number again this year. The Rapid has been growing over the past 12 years, increasing pickup frequency, adding new routes, and providing more

weekend nighttime service and other improvements, which in the past have included: social media interaction with riders, web site features like trip planner and nearest stop, bicycle racks on buses and increased sustainability measures. All of these improvements have happened in tandem with the development of downtown into a more vibrant, exciting area. “All that is happening downtown in culture, entertainment, education and employment can be accessed affordable and conveniently through The Rapid’s regional network,” said Peter Varga, CEO of the Rapid. The connection of The Rapid has also been strengthened by its relationships with important downtown fixtures such as Spectrum Health, GVSU, Meijer and Art-

Prize. These partnerships ensure employees, students, and visitors are able to take full advantage of The Rapid’s services. For example, The Rapid has a program with Spectrum Health that encourages employees to use the bus. GVSU also subsidizes some routes so that students and faculty can ride for free. On top of the services The Rapid offers to area residents who want to take advantage of all that downtown has to offer, it also offers downtown residents access to many area attractions like Woodland Mall, Celebration Cinema, Fulton Farmer’s Market and the airport. “We want to create as many connections as possible so that people have the ability to take full advantage of everything this community has to offer,” Varga said. distinctively Downtown 2012 49503 11

New Build Microbreweries Restaurants Buildouts Industrial Maintenance Property Management Grand Rapids Brewing Company 1 Ionia-Opening Fall 2012


Construction Services

Over 30 Years of Construction Experience 616.293.4232 |

The thing I like best about it is the sense of community with all the different shops. All the shop owners know each other and we have very loyal customers, we know their names, know what they like and they’re not asked if they want something special. Cheryl Powell,


I love the convenience of downtown Grand Rapids. I love the fact that it’s quaint. It’s not so busy that you can’t enjoy it but it’s busy enough where it catches your eye.

Katherine Brown



Rockford Construction Changing skylines

Rockford Construction Chairman and CEO Mike VanGessel still sees opportunity in downtown Grand Rapids even after more than 15 years of investments in revitalizing the urban core. He sees so much opportunity, in fact, that Rockford is planning to renovate an old factory on the West Side of downtown for the company’s new headquarters. “All of our work downtown is designed to spur additional investments that will continue the renaissance of our central city,” VanGessel said. Established in 1987, Rockford Construction is a leading construction and development group with more than 170 employees at offices in Michigan, Florida and New Mexico. The company has become a national leader in green and sustainable construction and urban revitalization thanks, in part, to investments in downtown Grand Rapids. “In the last 15 years, Rockford Construction has invested heavily in the renewal of Grand Rapids’ urban core by building and renovating more than 3 million-square-feet of space,” VanGessel said. “We do this because one of our major objectives as a company is to make our city a vibrant place to live, work and play – and we plan to continue taking on projects that will help us achieve this goal.” In 1999, Rockford began work on Cherry Street Landing, a depressed section of the city within the Arena District. Through a partnership with the Secchia family’s SIBSCO and the DeVos family’s RDV Corporation, Rockford was able to bring new life to the neighborhood. Today, 13 projects have been completed including Cooley Law School, Western Michigan University, Bank of Holland, and GRid 70, a design hub that brings together creative professionals from Amway, Meijer Inc., Steelcase Inc. and Wolverine Worldwide Inc. and allows them to share ideas while drawing inspiration from the urban environment. Rockford’s philosophy is to think big and think small. MoDiv (The Shops at Monroe Center and Division) is a good example. The project is a retail incubator with a unique blend of experienced and start-up retailers in a historic downtown location. “We are more committed than ever to building a sustainable city that serves as a beacon for talented and creative people and businesses,” VanGessel said. 14 49503 distinctively Downtown 2012

1090 36th Street SE, Suite 620 Grand Rapids, MI 49508 616.285.6933 p | 616.285.8001 f

distinctively downtown 2012 49503 15

161 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 600 Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503 616.235.3500 phone

Left to right: Pat drueke & Martin Buschle

Rhoades McKee PaRTneRing FoR success

16 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

How does a law firm help “build” a downtown community? Housed in the historic Waters Building since 1960, Rhoades McKee has been an active participant in shaping real estate and business opportunities as well as supporting the cultural landscape of Grand Rapids’ urban hub. Downtown isn’t just a place to practice law for Rhoades McKee. It is a reflection of the firm’s philosophy of immersing itself in the community. “We prefer practicing law downtown,” said Martin Buschle, Rhoades McKee attorney and shareholder. “It’s convenient for our clients and puts us at the pulse point of the city. Our location allows us to understand our roots and see firsthand the needs of the community.” The firm’s Real Estate Team has counseled developers and investors to successfully complete condominium and building projects requiring acquisition, financing, leasing and zoning that have enhanced and altered the downtown landscape.

Areas of specialties include: • Agriculture Industry Services • Alternative Dispute Resolution • Business and Corporate Law • Business Succession Planning • Construction Law and Litigation • Corporations, Partnership and General Business Formation • Criminal Defense • Defense of Physicians, Attorneys and Other Professionals in Malpractice Actions • Employment and Labor Law • Environmental Law • Estate Planning, Administration and Elder Law Left to right: Alexander denton, Allison sleight and Rebecca smith

• Family Law, Divorce and Child Custody • Federal and State Court Appeals • Financial Dispute Resolution • Financial Services Industry

Rhoades McKee wyce hat trick concert series

• Health Care Industry Services • Insurance Coverage Disputes • Insurance Defense • Litigation in all Federal and State Courts, including Personal Injury, Wrongful Death and Products Liability • Mergers and Acquisitions • Municipal and Administrative Law • Probate Litigation • Real Estate, Land Development, Zoning and Condemnation • Shareholder and Partnership Litigation • Sustainability, Climate Change and Alternative Energy

Bottom photo: MichAel Koole

• Tax Planning and Consulting

For example, Rhoades McKee attorneys have completed the legal work on projects including Gallery on Fulton (an apartment tower and home for the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts), and The Fitzgerald and Hillmount condominiums. Rhoades McKee also is helping to foster new business downtown. The firm recently became part of Start Garden, a business startup ecosystem created by ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos. Rhoades McKee attorneys provide set-up services and discounted legal counsel for Start Garden companies. The firm gives back to the city it calls home in a number of other ways. Its Good Works program has supported local nonprofits such as Kids’ Food Basket, DA Blodgett/St. John’s Home, Access of West Michigan and the WYCE Hat Trick Concert Series. “Our clients’ continued confidence enables us to be active participants and support our commitment to

community, and, right now, we’re focusing efforts on helping under-privileged kids in the Grand Rapids area,” added Buschle. Rhoades McKee is striving to make Grand Rapids more appealing to a diverse range of talent from around the country. The firm has collaborated with other local law firms to form the Grand Rapids Bar Association Managing Partners Collaborative. Participants in this five-year plan are committed to attracting minorities and women to practice law here in Grand Rapids rather than other major metropolitan areas. Having relocated to Grand Rapids from Philadelphia in the 1980s, Buschle understands the importance of bringing people to West Michigan so they can see what it has to offer. “If you get candidates to visit, Grand Rapids will sell itself. Having a strong, diverse downtown environment is vital for attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent,” Buschle said. distinctively downtown 2012 49503 17

dr. david Rosen

Kendall College of Art and Design All things new

The visionaries at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University have always asked the question, “What’s next?” In 1928, when the college was established by Helen M. Kendall in memory of her husband, renowned furniture designer David Wolcott Kendall, she was thinking, what’s next for art and design? When the college moved its facilities from College Avenue back to the heart of downtown Grand Rapids in 1981, they were thinking, what’s next for the city? When the college merged with Ferris State University in 2000 to offer its students new programs like the MBA Certificate in Design and Innovation Management and the Collaborative Design BFA, they were thinking, what’s next in education? And when the college took on the renovation of the Federal Building in downtown Grand Rapids to create a new space for the school, they were thinking, what’s next for our students? “Kendall has grown from 520 students to 1,400 since its merger with Ferris State University, and we needed more space to accommodate their needs,” said Sandra Davison-Wilson, vice president of administration and finance at Kendall. “The Federal Building was the perfect place for the college’s expansion because of its location in relation to our existing facilities. And we are proud that Kendall, as part of Ferris State University, will now occupy three contiguous blocks in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.” Through a public-private partnership with the city of Grand Rapids and the Christman Company, the college and its architect, TowerPinkster, were able to begin work on the national landmark. The repurposed building, which will open this fall, increases Kendall’s classroom space, public exhibition space, lecture halls and faculty and administrative offices. What’s next for the college now? Just ask its new president, Dr. David Rosen. “My goal is to make Kendall the greatest art school in America,” Rosen said. “And with the help of the community here, which has already helped us a great deal, we can think big, create big plans and make the college a place that every art student in the country wants to be a part of.”

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17 Fountain St. NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616-451-2787 Office

About The Federal Building: • since 1911, the Federal Building has served as a courthouse, a post office and the grand Rapids Art Museum. to maintain its historic integrity, Kendall needed to reuse the building’s existing materials, including marble, wood and moldings. • the building’s renovation has allowed the college to create large ceramics and metalworking studios, a floor dedicated to fashion studies and the wege center for sustainable design. • A sculpture park, designed by alumna val schmieder of via design, is located alongside the building on division Avenue. this park will allow the college to display sculpture work to the community. • this fall, the building will serve as one of five exhibition centers for the 2012 ArtPrize.

distinctively downtown 2012 49503 19

urban growth

The Gallery on Fulton

relationship “Our with Triangle has been exceptional. We continue to be impressed by their experienced and knowledgeable team and expert management of all subcontractors.

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts






Triangle has been helping create exciting communities that foster growth for over 94 years. We are proud to be a part of this dynamic city!

Sam Cummings CWD Real Estate Investment

Triangle Associates is a client centered construction company focused on building great people, exceptional facilities and strong communities.

Construction Management General Contracting Design/Build Development Services LEED Consulting

3769 3 Mile Road NW Grand Rapids Michigan 49534 | 616.453.3950 |

i like all the redevelopment that’s going downtown grand Rapids. i think it’s bringing a younger culture to grand Rapids. there’s a vibrancy that you didn’t see five to 10 years ago. Ryan ayres


i like to walk up by the river and have a nice long walk. whenever i’m stressed and i need relaxation i take a walk by the river. daniel holland MUSICIAN

distinctively downtown 2012 49503 21

Photos By KAthy denton

300 Ionia NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 P: 616.456.1521

22 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

O-A-K has built some of downtown’s highest- profile buildings 1904 Ryerson Public Library (Also renovated the library in the 1960s and in 2003) 1912 Waters Building 1914 McKay Tower 1925 Butterworth Hospital 1932 Civic (Welsh) Auditorium 1948 Herpolsheimer’s Department Store 1969 Kent County Adminstration Building & Grand Rapids City Hall 1981 Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum 1994 Van Andel Museum 2001 Kent County Courthouse 2009 Van Andel Institute Phase II 2012 John Ball Zoo’s BISSELL Tree House

Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. 49503 Since 1891 History matters to Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. You see it in a huge (4’ x 14’) blackand-white panoramic picture of an O-AK construction crew in 1927 adorning a wall of the company’s recently renovated LEED-certified headquarters building. It’s there again in the reclaimed wood used on the walls of the bright modern “family room”, where O-A-K’s team of 130 employees collaborate on a new generation of history-making projects. You see it on the O-A-K Logo: Building Since 1891. But appreciation of history isn’t always about simply celebrating what this construction company already has done. It’s about continuing to make a mark on the city the employee-owned company has called home for 121 years. It’s about looking ahead.

“It’s amazing,” said Bill Schoonveld, O-A-K’s seventh president in its long history. “After 121 years we’re still the people that are coming to work and building the city.” One look out the windows at O-A-K and it is clear the company is still helping to write the history of downtown. At the Van Andel Research Institute’s Phase II, where O-A-K’s team served as construction managers, dozens of scientists are developing history-making treatments for disease. A few blocks south O-A-K crews are building University Prep academy, an innovative new public school for the next generations of history makers. On the banks of the Grand River at the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Van Andel Museum Center, an O-A-K project nearing its 20th anniversary, history is

preserved for future generations. Schoonveld has his own history that’s a perfect fit for O-A-K’s culture of looking forward with an experienced eye. He’s a big man with a warm smile, as comfortable talking about concrete (he started at O-A-K as a concrete carpenter 34 years ago) as he is about the art in the company lobby, created by children with disabilities who are part of Grand Rapids’ Artists Creating Together. Schoonveld is clearly proud of O-AK’s new digs, where natural light pours through energy-efficient windows and executives are moved out of corner offices and closer to the action. “Yes, we’ve been here for more than a century,” he said. “And, we continue to build the way our founders did 121 years ago -- with the future in mind.” distinctively Downtown 2012 49503 23

300 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 400 Grand Rapids, Mi 49503 +1 616 774 3500

Colliers International MaTch MaKeRs in youR downTown MaRKeT

24 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

Downtown Grand Rapids is a mixture of modern, new buildings and weathered, historic structures. Tall, short, big or small, the associates at Colliers International have been in just about all of them. Exploration is the key to understanding how a space fits a client. David Wiener, associate at Colliers International, has seen historic buildings that looked on the verge of collapse restored into bustling hives of new activity. He has watched new buildings rise and fill with hundreds of employees. But there’s no “build it and they will come” attitude about what he and the other members of Colliers’ team do.

chip Bowling

david wiener

They are match makers. Wiener works with commercial real estate veterans Ray Kisor and Bill and Chip Bowling at Colliers to get to know clients and introduce them to the space that best meets their needs. “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping a client find a home where they’re going to love coming to work every day,” Wiener said. “Part of being downtown is understanding you’re not just renting an office, you’re becoming part of this vibrant community filled with art, shops, museums, restaurants and other professionals right outside your door.” Colliers has helped fill commercial spaces in every corner of downtown, while their Property Management department manages buildings for clients, taking care of

the day-to-day operations for those who have invested in downtown real estate. The Colliers downtown team is currently working closely with Franklin Partners, the new owner of the Campau Plaza (Comerica) Building, 99 Monroe Ave. NW, to renovate and re-brand the prime downtown location. They are also working with the owners of 250 Monroe on updates that will modernize and enhance newly vacant space in the building. “We provide a holistic approach to addressing the downtown market,” said Ray Kisor, chairman and principal at Colliers. “We know the downtown market unlike anyone else and we love being part of it.” distinctively downtown 2012 49503 25

141 Ionia Avenue, N.W. Grand Rapids 616.242.6500

Left to right: Ray Kisor & dan Bitzer 26 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

First National Bank of Michigan has made a commitment to Grand Rapids by involving local businesses to help it find, design and build its downtown office.

Its partners in the project included: Colliers International Concept Design Group Ellis Parking Pioneer Construction SKP Design Trendway West Michigan Office Interiors

First National Bank of Michigan: The new bank built on local experience When Ray Kisor needed to refinance a loan on the historic building at 32 Market Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids, he turned to the experienced team at the city’s newest bank. First National Bank of Michigan stepped in where big banks had stepped out of the marketplace, using the team’s knowledge of the local market and the people behind the project to get a deal done. “Their ability to be a little more nimble and recognize the value of the asset to the community was very meaningful,” said Kisor, a commercial real estate principal with Colliers International. “They could do things that big banks simply could not.” Dan Bitzer, Market President of West

Michigan for First National, said the deal with Kisor made sense for a bank being built on relationships and an in-depth understanding of the Grand Rapids market. “While First National may be new to the market in terms of opening an office, most of the team we’ve assembled here has been doing business in this market for 20 to 30 years,” Bitzer said. “Our model of hiring experienced bankers has resulted in the bank’s superior asset quality.” First National opened its first fullservice Grand Rapids bank office in July at 141 Ionia Ave. NW, adding to successful offices in Kalamazoo and Portage. The bank invested nearly $1 million to upgrade the historic building, which had a history as a banking office, but stood

vacant for much of the past decade. “I felt strongly that we needed to be downtown to be close to the commercial client base,” Bitzer said. “This location allowed us to offer free parking to our customers, a 24-hour ATM and easy freeway access for our customers, bankers and couriers.” Clients have responded to the First National way of doing business, depositing more than $1 million and securing more than $5 million in loans before the permanent bank office even opened its doors. “We’re just getting started,” Bitzer said. “We feel honored to be part of the community and we value the trust of our customers as they build their businesses.” distinctively Downtown 2012 49503 27


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i hang out at Rosa Parks circle a lot. i play four square every tuesday there. i like the openness of downtown. Rick Reichert


i love the atmosphere and how everyone has their own personalities and the little shops. it’s like you can come here and experience a little piece of everything. shelby Bradley


distinctively downtown 2012 49503 29

4045 Barden St SE Grand Rapids, MI 49512 (616) 949-3360

Wolverine Building Group noRTh, souTh, easT and wesT

30 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

Wolverine Building Group is no stranger to downtown Grand Rapids, in fact the company’s work can be seen in most any direction you look at city’s changing skyline. Look north to Icon on Bond, a bustling apartment building that brought hundreds of new residents downtown. To the south there is the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center at St. Mary’s Health Care, providing a beacon of healing for hundreds of people facing life-altering illness. To the west there’s the towering River House Condominiums, the city’s tallest building and Michigan’s tallest all-residential structure. To the east there is the gleaming new Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, a world-class facility where children and their families find an environment filled with hope and care.

photos - Left page: hedRich Blessing; Right page, top Left: eRic de witt; Right: vAdA coloR; middLe Left: lAcAsse PhotogRAPhy; Bottom: Rex lARsen

Wolverine’s construction management work on Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital even helped the building earn several awards, including Engineering News-Record’s Best of the Best award. “The children’s hospital is the most expensive and arguably most complex project ever built in Grand Rapids,” said Dick VanderZyden, co-president of Wolverine Building Group. But new construction is only a piece of the $350 million worth of projects that Wolverine has worked on over the past five years. They are also instrumental in restoring some of the cities oldest buildings. One major renovation, Serrano Lofts, on Williams Street SW transformed a 94-year-old building into LEED certified, energy-efficient, affordable housing. Arguably one of the most unique renovations was the

Grand Rapids Community Foundation headquarters. This project used design elements to restore unique features of the old Anheuser Busch Icehouse and transformed them into an energy efficient eco-friendly office building. “The most difficult part of restoring old buildings is planning for what you cannot plan for. Each project is its own journey, presenting its own unique challenges and concerns – but often, you don’t discover the special surprises that a particular project has in store for you until well into it,” said Aaron Jonker, project manager with Wolverine Building Group.  Wolverine Building Group has become one of West Michigan’s cutting-edge construction management partners and has played a significant role in the revitalization of Grand Rapids. distinctively downtown 2012 49503 31

111 Lyon Street NW, Suite 1025 Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616-456-8623

Grand Rapids’ Premier Private Club Since 1923 wheRe wesT Michigan eaTs, MeeTs and enTeRTains! On the eve of its 90th anniversary, the University Club of Grand Rapids is enjoying impressive growth built on providing membership services that includes unparalleled access to some of the most impressive clubs in the country. Established on Feb. 6, 1923 through the vision of Harvard grad and Grand Rapids native Charles E. Stearn, the University Club, overlooking downtown Grand Rapids, is one of the premier private clubs in West Michigan. The club, which recently completed remodeling, boasts a solid bottom line, with more than 620 dining and athletic members combined. “We’re a thriving club with a rich history and a strong financial position,” said Cynthia Poll, University Club’s general manager. “Further, we have built a robust 30 percent membership rate 32 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

among women – compared to the national average of just 5 percent.” Among the many benefits to members are: — the club’s seven separate dining facilities. — access to its banquet facilities for up to 300 people. — monthly club events, including wine tastings, themed brunches and networking opportunities. — a state-of-the-art athletic facility with more than 10,000 square feet of exercise and recreation space that is open 24 hours a day, seven days of the week. In the spirit of giving back to the West Michigan community, the club has also established a scholarship program aimed at building local leadership talent, said

Shelley Irwin, President of the University Club’s Board of Directors. “We are extremely proud that we offer a scholarship to students who express a strong desire to remain in or return to West Michigan,” Irwin said. In addition to the many club benefits, members also have reciprocal privileges at more than 100 prestigious private clubs across the country, including the University Club of Chicago and the New York Athletic Club. “What better way to share the benefits of membership than by taking advantage of a visit to a ‘sister’ club. This is a sure win-win for our members,” Irwin said. For more information on University Club membership, visit universityclubgr. com or call 616.456.8623.

Membership in the University Club provides access to more than 100 reciprocal clubs around the country. Here are a few: •The Tampa Club, Tampa Bay, FL •Cincinnati Athletic Club, Cincinnati, OH • The Harbor Club, Seattle, WA •University Club of Washington DC •Los Angeles Athletic Club, Los Angeles, CA •Denver Athletic Club, Denver, CO •Governor’s Club, Tallahassee, FL •University Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL •Birmingham Athletic Club, Bloomfield Hills, MI •Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit, MI •New York Athletic Club, New York, NY •Park City Club, Dallas, TX For more information on University Club membership, go to university or call 616.456.8623. distinctively Downtown 2012 49503 33

Erhardt Construction Building Our Community As Erhardt Construction continues its year-long 50th year anniversary celebration, it’s not hard to view the company’s legacy – it’s etched in the skyline of Grand Rapids. Beginning with the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel (AGPH) project, a first-of-its-kind project in Grand Rapids and what became the cornerstone of the city’s resurgence, Erhardt has spent most of its lifetime constructing Grand Rapids’ skyline. Since AGPH, Erhardt projects have included the Plaza Towers redevelopment, Van Andel Arena, the Van Andel Institute Phase I, DeVos Place and DeVos Performance Hall. Established in 1962 by Larry Erhardt, Sr., Erhardt Construction has earned the privilege of being a general contractor for the area’s major projects by virtue of its reputation said Taggart Town, Erhardt’s vice president of operations. “It all started with our founders building really strong community relationships,” Town said. “To be selected for those projects, the community has to trust you and you have to have a proven track record of high performance and great service.” Erhardt’s willingness to take on creative and challenging projects has helped it to build an impressive resume of signature buildings reaping more than just financial rewards, added Ben Wickstrom, Erhardt’s president. “We enjoy going back to projects we built and experiencing the purpose of that project and its role in the community,” Wickstrom said. “Many of these projects were catalysts for further growth, and the aspect of seeing these projects as contributing assets to our community and being proud of the role we played in that is very rewarding.” Town agreed. “It’s great to see a family at DeVos Place hear the mom or dad say, ‘hey, I helped put those beams up there.’ It’s a legacy that the parents can share with their kids, and generations to come.” Erhardt is continuing its legacy in West Michigan with diverse projects like Amway Nutrition Facility, Grand Valley State University Lubbers Stadium field renovation, American Seating expansion and renovations, The Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Center, Aquinas College’s library and the AMTRAK Passenger Station now under construction. Photos; Top: Ben Wickstrom, President; Lower Left: Larry Erhardt, Sr., Founder, and Joe Erhardt, Chairman and CEO; Lower Right: Taggart Town, Vice President of Operations 34 49503 distinctively Downtown 2012

6060 Fulton Street, East Ada, Michigan 49301 (616) 676-1222 distinctively downtown 2012 49503 35

i love that you can come downtown and go shopping, go to a show, a restaurant all within walking distance and you can walk along the river after you’re done. susan Bradley


what i love most about downtown is the scenery; it’s such a laid back, nice scene. aaron Brown


36 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

i love downtown grand Rapids because i grew up in a rural area, and the architecture and city vibe makes me feel sophisticated. Levi Bauer


My favorite restaurant is here downtown, san chez, and i love the nightlife. it seems like there is always something going on. Brittainy Kottmer


we’re a huge art community, everyone loves art and everyone is willing to take part in it, whether it’s as artists, as viewers or as volunteers. stephanie Campbell KENDALL COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN OF FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY GRADUATE

distinctively downtown 2012 49503 37

Downtown location 200 Ionia Ave SW Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (616) 771-4100

Beltline location 2333 E. Beltline Ave SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546 (616) 771-9470

tucked into a renovated historic building in the Arena district, wMU’s downtown regional location features one of the central city’s leading venues for events and meetings. the exposed brick-and-beam facility features 20 plus meeting rooms, including a 4,000 square-foot grand hall which can seat up to 300 guests for dinner. Adjacent is the commons, a distinctive setting for social engagements such as wedding receptions, fundraisers, and other gala events. 38 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

Western Michigan University Academic and Conference services in downtown Grand Rapids Housed at the WMU-Grand Rapids downtown location, The Center for Counseling and Psychological Services has provided psychological care to the residents of southwest Michigan – and training opportunities for graduate counseling students – for more than 10 years. In that time, students have provided more than 20,000 hours of clinical services to more than 2,300 clients. In addition to serving hundreds of low-income clients each year, the scope of clinical practice was expanded to meet the ongoing needs of the community by developing attention deficit disorder and learning disability subspecialty clinics as well as couples counseling, career coun-

seling, individual/family counseling, psychological evaluations, and career/vocational assessments. “We work hard to partner with community agencies and the health care movement in Grand Rapids to compliment existing programs and continue to add more programs and services that will benefit the community as a whole,” said Dr. Dawn M. Gaymer, WMU’s associate provost for Extended University Programs, who oversees eight WMU regional locations. “Through our programs we expose students to practical situations and support the good work being done by the nonprofits, bringing our resources together for positive outcomes.”

In 1909 WMU became the first public university to establish a presence in downtown Grand Rapids. More than a century later, it offers over 20 graduate programs in business, engineering, teaching, counseling, or health and human services. Its occupational therapy master’s program ranks second in Michigan (behind WMU’s Kalamazoo campus) and 21st in the nation. The key to the success of WMU’s downtown location is offering programs designed for working adults who desire to continue their education and professional development on a part-time basis.

distinctively Downtown 2012 49503 39

Jennifer Boezwinkle, AIA, LEED AP - Principal (616) 456-9944

TowerPinkster designing The FuTuRe oF 49503 since 1953

40 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

The downtown renaissance wouldn’t look the same without TowerPinkster. The company’s team of architects and engineers has a long history with some of the central city’s most complex and high-profile projects starting with the Kent County Courthouse, and more recent projects like the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. The challenge at the Civic was the sort TowerPinkster’s team relishes: Modernize a beloved century-old landmark while preserving its unique character while working with Owen Ames Kimball. The resulting space has received accolades from audiences and performers. “To see the marquee lit up as patrons fill the lobby before a performance and the children who are constantly in and out of the theater for camps and classes is incredibly rewarding,” said Jennifer Boezwinkle, AIA, LEED

JenniFeR BoezwinKle Photo By KAthy denton

Jennifer Boezwinkle

AP and TowerPinkster principal. TowerPinkster’s experience with historic restoration and high-tech educational environments came into play when it partnered with Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University and The Christman Co. on a major expansion of Kendall’s downtown campus. The Old Federal Building, which most recently housed the Grand Rapids Art Museum, required extensive design and engineering work that did not damage the building’s historical character. The requirements included extensive technology upgrades, energy efficiency, and world-class classrooms, galleries and studio spaces. With most work on the Kendall project complete, Tower is forging ahead with work on the restoration of another high-profile downtown building. Boezwinkle is leading the design and engineering

effort for Locus Development’s restoration of the building of 2 East Fulton, located at the southeastern corner of Fulton and Division. The two-story structure once served as home for Junior Achievement and Davenport College but has been vacant for more than a decade. The renovation will help re-establish the building’s original look while major infrastructure upgrades will pave the way for a mixture of office, restaurant and retail users. “This is one of those projects that we think will have a transformative affect on that corner,” Boezwinkle said. “Working with Locus and Pioneer Construction, we will turn what had been a problematic site into an active and attractive home for a host of new businesses while enhancing the downtown environment.”

distinctively downtown 2012 49503 41

25 Michigan St. Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (616) 643-1138

ferris pharmacy facts Fall 2011 Enrollment: 529 Approximately one-half of practicing Michigan pharmacists are Ferris alumni FSU has 6,438 active alumni 42 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

Ferris State University College of pharmacy Ferris State University College of Pharmacy Dean Stephen Durst calls it “a continuation of the West Michigan story.” Some might say it is serendipity. Whatever the terms, Durst said there is no question the college’s new Center for Innovational Learning and Research found a perfect home in downtown Grand Rapids. Over the past decade, advancing clinical standards brought a need for pharmacy students to be closer to patients when they reached the third year of the four year Pharmacy Doctorate program. The college, since 2000, had co-located education centers in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo with the Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners and the Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies, respectively. With the recent move of MSU’s col-

lege into the Secchia Center, the College of Pharmacy saw the opportunity to consolidate its third year studies into an entire floor at 25 Michigan St. NE, next door to MSU. “We find pharmacy is an excellent complement to the programs of our neighbors such as MSU, Van Andel Institute and Grand Valley State University,” says Durst. The center provides more clinicallyfocused studies for third year students as they prepare for a fourth year of clinical work in health care settings across the state. Perhaps most importantly, Durst sees the location as the perfect setting for developing inter-professional educational opportunities with its neighbors up and down Michigan Street.

To best serve patients, pharmacy students early on need meaningful interaction with nursing and medical students and others in health education. Interprofessional education is also required in pharmacy accreditation standards. The College of Pharmacy is developing a strategic plan for the next three to five years to help deal with health care changes in areas such as finance, education and the need for increasing research and scholarship. The downtown Grand Rapids center is an important part of that plan. “We are very pleased to be in Grand Rapids as part of the growth of the health care community,” Durst said. “We see this both as a benefit for us and an opportunity for us to contribute to this group of top-notch organizations.” distinctively Downtown 2012 49503 43

Comerica Bank PRoudLy seRving gRand RaPids businesses & ResidenTs

44 49503 distinctively downtown 2012

Supporting Michigan business is something Comerica Bank prides itself on, especially in downtown Grand Rapids. “There is, and has been, a lot of growth here in West Michigan,” said Grand Rapids Regional President John Porterfield. “We take a lot of pride in consistently helping our clients through the economic cycles.” Bob Clay, CEO of Grand Rapids-based global manufacturing supplier Pridgeon & Clay, attributes the company’s success through the 2008-2009 economic downturn largely to its partnership with Comerica Bank. “Comerica really appreciates our business,” said Clay. “We ran into a rough patch in 2008 when our second bank deserted us. Comerica saw our potential and, if they hadn’t stepped in, Pridgeon & Clay wouldn’t be

Left to right: Mike vandiepenbos, tom stritzinger, steve wells, John Porterfield, and Jim schoettley

here today.” Ron Nelson, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, also shared how Comerica has helped make a lasting impression on the community through their partnership. “Comerica is our lead bank when it comes to our finances,” said Nelson. “We’ve been doing business with them since 2001 and they have provided financial support for both our capital and term-based programs, including financing our LEED certified David D. Hunting YMCA downtown where we serve roughly 16,000 citizens through our programs.” But providing financial support to their clients isn’t the only thing Comerica prides itself on. Behind the scenes, Comerica Bank employees spend

countless hours supporting nonprofit organizations throughout West Michigan by volunteering. YMCA, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women and the Baxter Community Center are just a few of the many Grand Rapids’ nonprofit organizations that have benefited from Comerica’s culture of giving back to the community. “Every year for the past 15 years, our employees have given over 200 Christmas gifts to the children at Baxter Community Center,” said Porterfield. “We have also supplied Campau Park Elementary with school supplies to make it through the year.” “All Michigan businesses are a part of a community,” said Porterfield. “Here at Comerica, we don’t just value the businesses, we value the community.” distinctively downtown 2012 49503 45

15 Michigan St. NE Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (616) 233-1678

The 180,000-square-foot Secchia Center has many ground-breaking features including a virtual microscopy lab, problem-based learning labs and a number of advanced media technologies that allow students in Grand Rapids to digitally connect with MSU students around the state. The building was designed to be as energy efficient as possible with a heat recovery system, a revolutionary building-wide lighting management system and features that minimize the use of water. It received Gold LEED速 certification in 2011.

Marsha D. Rappley, M.D. 46 49503 DISTINCTIVELY DOWNTOWN 2012

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine From the banks of the Red Cedar to the shores of the Grand River, the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine has long played an important role in Grand Rapids’ medical community. But following the September 2010 opening of the Secchia Center in downtown Grand Rapids as the college’s new headquarters, MSU’s commitment to West Michigan deepened. “The Grand Rapids’ health science corridor is at the forefront of medical education and research so when the opportunity arose to take a bigger role here, we knew our students and faculty would see the benefit,” said Marsha D. Rappley, M.D., the college’s dean. Founded in 1964, the college is nationally recognized for its community-based approach to medical education. Its cen-

ters of excellence in Parkinson’s disease research and women’s health and reproduction are blazing new trails in treatment and care. The college’s expansion in Grand Rapids is part of the largest medical school expansion in the nation. Enrollment is expected to double to 800 students by 2014. “For years, there was discussion among the administration of the college and within the city of Grand Rapids about building a medical school in West Michigan,” Rappley said. “Michigan State wanted to expand our college and Grand Rapids wanted a four-year medical school to expand its medical research and recruit more physicians.” This dream became a reality when the college’s partners – Spectrum

Health, Van Andel Institute, Saint Mary’s Health Care, Grand Valley State University, Grand Action and The Right Place – joined the university in a campaign to raise the $90 million needed to build the medical school. Peter F. and Joan Secchia became the lead donors and gifts poured in from around the community as the impact of having MSU in Grand Rapids was clear. “Having the college headquartered here adds an integral component to Grand Rapids’ health science corridor,” said Spectrum Health CEO Rick Breon. “With some of medicine’s best and brightest minds here, it solidifies our city as a premier destination for patient care and medical research and education.”

distinctively Downtown 2012 49503 47

Jeff Hill



Just look around. While most regions are at a standstill, Grand Rapids remains on the move with cranes in the skyline and caterpillars on the ground. At The Right Place, we’ve been working hard to provide new and existing businesses the resources and direction they need to grow and thrive in any climate. Our team of experts can assist with: • Building business and regional collaborations • Identifying local supply chain opportunities • Providing guidance of tax incentive programs • Improving federal, state and local government relations • Providing custom business research services • Improving manufacturing processes • Improving innovation processes • Hosting business networking and educational events and private meetings To request a meeting with our team, visit or call 616.771.0325 to learn more.


49503 | Distinctively Downtown

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