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Zondervan moving their Corporate HQ

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Zondervan announced that, as part of their plan to close their warehouse, they will be relocating their corporate HQ.

Here is the link to the article in the GR Press:

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2011/05/zondervan_will_move_headquarte.html

While it is not Amway or Meijer or Spartan Stores, having Zondervan relocate to DT Grand Rapids would be a significant win IMHO.

Edited by Yankee Fan

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I just read this myself and was thinking the same thing. What do you think the chances are that they'd actually locate 250 people downtown? It would be awsome for sure.

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How many sf do you need to house 250 people? Seems like a good time to revive the Lyon/Ottawa tower. There should be a full court press to get them downtown. Publishing is a perfect business to locate in the CBD.

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I believe there are some rather large vacancies at Bridgewater that they might be able to fit into.

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Well, it's not as if Zondervan is averse to an urban environment, after all, they were there in Eastown for years at the Kent Records Building. The present site is their second site in the burbs -- they used to be at 54/E Beltline, by Steelcase, a real rabbit-warren of a place as I recall. When they sold off their printing, that made the move to the current site possible. The present site made a fair amount of sense, particularly when Zondervan and Family Bookstores were linked; now as separate entities, Z is free to roam.

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Maybe they'll move into the GR Press building. :D

Or maybe they'll go into that building sitting off of I-96 near Cascade that has been empty since it was built a few years ago. Same with the one at E. Beltline/Lake Drive.

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Bridgewater would be a good move. Maybe they could put their name at the top of Riverhouse, since Varnum already has a sign on the actual office tower.

What about the building on Ionia between Fulton and Louis? That's got a lot of space available, doesn't it?

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Bridgewater would be a good move. Maybe they could put their name at the top of Riverhouse, since Varnum already has a sign on the actual office tower.

What about the building on Ionia between Fulton and Louis? That's got a lot of space available, doesn't it?

While moving into Bridgewater sounds like a good idea I doubt the condo owners in River House would approve of a sign on the top of their building.

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While moving into Bridgewater sounds like a good idea I doubt the condo owners in River House would approve of a sign on the top of their building.

You're probably right. Can't mess with the view from a million dollar condo.

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While it is not Amway or Meijer or Spartan Stores, having Zondervan relocate to DT Grand Rapids would be a significant win IMHO.

... A win for the city's coffers, but not for Zondervan. Businesses that move downtown take on massive extra expenses (e,g, the parking which many other have noted), and give all of their employees a de facto pay cut due to the city income tax. The only way any sane business would move downtown would be a tax abatement deal, Ren Zone, or insanely cheap rental space. While we often act as cheerleaders for the city, the unfortunate reality is that it is not a terribly attractive place to do business. I wish downtown were such a great place that it could attract Zondervan, but I think we need a sea change in the attitude of the "powers that be" before that happens.

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... A win for the city's coffers, but not for Zondervan. Businesses that move downtown take on massive extra expenses (e,g, the parking which many other have noted), and give all of their employees a de facto pay cut due to the city income tax. The only way any sane business would move downtown would be a tax abatement deal, Ren Zone, or insanely cheap rental space. While we often act as cheerleaders for the city, the unfortunate reality is that it is not a terribly attractive place to do business. I wish downtown were such a great place that it could attract Zondervan, but I think we need a sea change in the attitude of the "powers that be" before that happens.

something that always confused me was the fact that cities need to have higher taxes than the burbs... I understand that cities offer more services but the available taxable land is so much higher and populations so much more dense... can someone explain this for me?

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... A win for the city's coffers, but not for Zondervan. Businesses that move downtown take on massive extra expenses (e,g, the parking which many other have noted), and give all of their employees a de facto pay cut due to the city income tax. The only way any sane business would move downtown would be a tax abatement deal, Ren Zone, or insanely cheap rental space. While we often act as cheerleaders for the city, the unfortunate reality is that it is not a terribly attractive place to do business. I wish downtown were such a great place that it could attract Zondervan, but I think we need a sea change in the attitude of the "powers that be" before that happens.

Not necessarily true. Adtegrity has increased its downtown space exponentially. GRid70 opened space for five employers downtown, and now apparently those people say they couldn't be paid to leave downtown. It really depends. A call center or administrative group move to downtown? Not sure. Novo 1 in Holland is looking at opening a new call center in West Michigan, but I don't think they'd choose downtown GR or Holland. Design and tech professionals? For sure.

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Not necessarily true. Adtegrity has increased its downtown space exponentially. GRid70 opened space for five employers downtown, and now apparently those people say they couldn't be paid to leave downtown. It really depends. A call center or administrative group move to downtown? Not sure. Novo 1 in Holland is looking at opening a new call center in West Michigan, but I don't think they'd choose downtown GR or Holland. Design and tech professionals? For sure.

Without the warehouse, Zondervan is essentially in the marketing business. In that case, it makes sense to hang out where other marketers hang out, at the very least it makes the firm more attractive to the professionals it needs. When I worked at Z it was miles from the downtown campus where I was finishing my MBA, plus for lunch? better bring your own. When downtown, the vibe was simply so much better. As it is Kregel Publishing (a rising star on the serious/academic publishing front) has a nice office in the old Elston-Richards building on Wealthy. Off hand, the Keller building looks like a nice site for an operation like Z, especially with the library next door. That said, I would think they may be more inclined to space along the E Beltline, being closer to both Cornerstone and Calvin.

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That said, I would think they may be more inclined to space along the E Beltline, being closer to both Cornerstone and Calvin.

Not sure why they'd need/want that proximity, at least with Calvin - I didn't see a lot of interaction between the two during my time as a student there (2002-07).

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... A win for the city's coffers, but not for Zondervan. Businesses that move downtown take on massive extra expenses (e,g, the parking which many other have noted), and give all of their employees a de facto pay cut due to the city income tax. The only way any sane business would move downtown would be a tax abatement deal, Ren Zone, or insanely cheap rental space. While we often act as cheerleaders for the city, the unfortunate reality is that it is not a terribly attractive place to do business. I wish downtown were such a great place that it could attract Zondervan, but I think we need a sea change in the attitude of the "powers that be" before that happens.

I'd take a 1 percent pay cut to work in a downtown instead of next to a damn airport. I think a lot of people would. And the difference in parking isn't that much if you consider that they currently have to maintain their own parking lot.

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I'd take a 1 percent pay cut to work in a downtown instead of next to a damn airport. I think a lot of people would. And the difference in parking isn't that much if you consider that they currently have to maintain their own parking lot.

That's exactly it. An office in a desirable area is one way to help retain employees. Hiring good people is hard and expensive, so it's best to keep turnover low in the first place.

FWIW, I just took a job in Midtown Manhattan and will be leaving Grand Rapids soon. I wouldn't have taken the job if it was out in BFE Long Island or New Jersey. Just sayin'. Of course, New York's a bit of a special case in that it's not assumed that you own a car, and for everyone in such a huge metropolitan area to have access to work they need offices near transit hubs. (Related: Anyone want to by a 2009 Subaru WRX by chance? :) )

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Without the warehouse, Zondervan is essentially in the marketing business. In that case, it makes sense to hang out where other marketers hang out, at the very least it makes the firm more attractive to the professionals it needs. When I worked at Z it was miles from the downtown campus where I was finishing my MBA, plus for lunch? better bring your own. When downtown, the vibe was simply so much better. As it is Kregel Publishing (a rising star on the serious/academic publishing front) has a nice office in the old Elston-Richards building on Wealthy. Off hand, the Keller building looks like a nice site for an operation like Z, especially with the library next door. That said, I would think they may be more inclined to space along the E Beltline, being closer to both Cornerstone and Calvin.

That makes sense then. Was Zondervan ever located downtown before? I don't really know the history of the company.

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Harper Collins is moving Zondervan's HQ in to Grand Rapids city limits, but unfortunately it's not downtown.  http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/08/zondervan_will_relocate_its_of.html

 

Was any kind of effort made to get them downtown.  Either by the city or those developing projects downtown?  Seems like a missed opportunity to me.

Edited by mpchicago

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Good news for Grand Rapids, and the State of Michigan. Looks like they'll be looking for skilled workers. Should be interesting to watch companies compete to attract / retain talent.

 

Joe

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