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Downtown Grand Rapids Financial District?

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I am going to pose these issues to the members of this forum. IS there a well-defined Financial District downtown? Why does it seem that out in the suburbs is were most of the financial firms or other business headquarters are located? Do the high cost downtown or are the big money men/companies in downtown restricting development? How does are location geographically between two metropolitan areas affecting are viability for attracting big business? Have we been too early when judging the transition of Grand Rapids to a more economically vibrant city? :whistling: YOU TELL ME :whistling:

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I am going to pose these issues to the members of this forum. IS there a well-defined Financial District downtown? Why does it seem that out in the suburbs is were most of the financial firms or other business headquarters are located? Do the high cost downtown or are the big money men/companies in downtown restricting development? How does are location geographically between two metropolitan areas affecting are viability for attracting big business? Have we been too early when judging the transition of Grand Rapids to a more economically vibrant city? :whistling: YOU TELL ME :whistling:

The street that seems to tie the financial institutions together is Ottawa. Most of the financial companies are either on Ottawa, or are not far from the corner of Ottawa and whatever street they are on. What really would have cemented Ottawa Ave. as the Financial Street of Choice was the Lyon at Ottawa Building that was proposed 6 years ago.

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I'm having a hard time sifting through the poor grammar, but I think you are wondering where the financial companies are located downtown? I would say 200 Ottawa, 300 Ottawa, the Michigan Trust Building, Fifth Third at Ottawa and Lyon, 99 Monroe (Campau Plaza), 200 Monroe, 250 Monroe. Did I miss any? The companies which have corporate HQ in the burbs, like Wolverine World Wide, Universal Forest Products, Steelcase, Meijer, Spartan Stores, Foremost Insurance, Amway, Gordon Food Service, Smiths, Lacks, etc. have all been out there for a long time, or were never downtown. I think Universal Forest Products used to be in the Federal Square Bldg on Pearl at one time many years ago.

I don't think companies are restricting development downtown, but I think property values downtown have risen to unrealistic heights. The State of Michigan just sold their surface lot on Michigan to the new Med Towers for $3.8 Mil.. :blink: Much of the industry in the area is still manufacturing, which requires a lot of horizontal space, and you don't want them downtown for just that reason. Much needs to be done still to transition to the service sector and draw companies to the area, keeping in mind that every other medium sized city is "giving away the farm" to draw those same companies. Expect to see our city planners putting all of their energy into healthcare related business in the next decade, since other cities like Charlotte are way ahead when it comes to creating a financial services powerhouse to rival NYC (they are now the #2).

And snoogit is right, Lyon and Ottawa would have been a step in the right direction.

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Foremost has 1375 people in 209,000 sf of office space. That would have been a great anchor for downtown.

I think it's even more now with the new call center they built across the street from their corporate HQ. That place has a lot of "bling" goin on, with marble floors and granite window sills all over. Plus the exec suite on the top floor has unbelievable wood trimmed panelling and leather chairs in the conference room. They would have built a top-notch facility downtown ;)

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The following banks all have a "major" presence in DT GR:

Fifth Third

Comerica

La Salle

National City

Bank One

Huntington

Mercantile (Leonard)

Macatawa

Bank of Holland

Most are along the Ottawa or Monroe corridor . Most others have at least a branch downtown. Plus most of the major insurance companies (Marsh, Aon, NW Mutual, etc) are downtown as well as many of the brokerages such as A. G. Edwards, Merrill Lynch, etc. I guess I'd call that a financial district.

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The following banks all have a "major" presence in DT GR:

Fifth Third

Comerica

La Salle

National City

Bank One

Huntington

Mercantile (Leonard)

Macatawa

Bank of Holland

Most are along the Ottawa or Monroe corridor . Most others have at least a branch downtown. Plus most of the major insurance companies (Marsh, Aon, NW Mutual, etc) are downtown as well as many of the brokerages such as A. G. Edwards, Merrill Lynch, etc. I guess I'd call that a financial district.

Not to nitpick in any way, but are you sure on Macatawa and Bank of Holland having a "major" presence downtown? I thought they only had branches downtown.

But I do agree, Ottawa and Monroe would definately qualify as our financial corridors.

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i have always wondered what kind of bldg they would have if it was dt. i've tried to guestimate how tall the bldg would be when you combine apprx 8 floors of suburban office space and convert it into a downtown office tower.

plus, insurance is always a key cog to any financial district. isnt northpointe? ins co moving into grand rapids in the old water plant?

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I had heard there was an insurance co. moving into the old Water Plant, but didn't know the name. I would imagine that if Foremost had built downtown, you would probably be looking at a 10 - 15 story building today, maybe a few more if there were other tenants (altough insurance companies like to own their real estate and not lease). Considering that their current building is all granite and glass, it may have been pretty nice. It probably would be worth more downtown than their location on Kraft Lake, too. I can't imagine what kind of user would take over those buildings out there if Farmers ever decides to split. They're having a hard time just filling that office park with small offices, and their old HQ in Cascade is still empty :huh:

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I had heard there was an insurance co. moving into the old Water Plant, but didn't know the name.

The insurance company in question is Pinnacle Insurance Partners. Their current office is just down the street at 45 Coldbrook across the street from AutoDie. A few years ago they changed their name from Hinds, VanderPoorte, Manz to Pinnacle. They are one of two tenants for the water plant. Mike Devries didn't mention the name of the other tenant.

Nitro

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jdkacz, I think you might be thinking of Northpointe Bank that is building their new HQ at I-96 and the Belt. (by Dubas) ;)

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Not to nitpick in any way, but are you sure on Macatawa and Bank of Holland having a "major" presence downtown? I thought they only had branches downtown.

But I do agree, Ottawa and Monroe would definately qualify as our financial corridors.

"Major" may be overplaying it, but they have more than just a traditional branch. Macatawa Bank is in the old Grand Bank building and Bank of Holland has a beautiful new building across from the Black Rose Irish Pub. Each houses the hub of their Grand Rapids operations.

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