Top 5 reasons to relocate downtown


Business is booming in downtown Grand Rapids, and there is no better way to get in on the excitement of Central Business District growth and development than locating your business in the middle of all the action.

Here are some reasons you should consider establishing your business’ presence in the heart of the city:

Attract and retain top-tier talent

The allure of the big city doesn’t have quite the same pull it once did for young people. Millennials are looking to locate in areas where they can be close to work and all the activity a downtown has to offer — nightlife, cultural activities, sporting events and beyond. Downtown Grand Rapids has all of this and more, from a night out at The B.O.B. or seeing a performance of the Grand Rapids Symphony to watching the Griffins fight for the Calder Cup at Van Andel Arena. When you locate your business around the activity, it gives you a greater opportunity to attract the high-level talent you’re looking for.

Competitors might already be here

The secret has gotten out about the excitement of downtown GR, as relayed by a number of national publications naming it in recent years as one of the places to be in the United States. Back in 2013, Forbes Magazine ranked Grand Rapids as one of its 15 emerging downtown areas, citing the large public-private investment in the area and the addition of such amenities as Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. There’s also the area’s reputation for international commerce, as evidenced by Grand Rapids’ ranking as a top 10 emerging center by Global Trade Magazine. You also have the ability to connect with banks and financial institutions that are already a big part of the downtown marketplace that can assist you in your development plans. With several opportunities available throughout the downtown area, you are sure to find the resources you need to expand your business.

Getting around

If driving to and from work every day is starting to wear on you, relocating to downtown will fix this problem for you and your employees by expanding access to alternate forms of travel — utilizing separate cyclist lanes on highly traveled streets, jumping aboard The Rapid or living close enough to enjoy a short stroll to and from work each day (at least during the summer months). Even if you don’t have a car and need to get somewhere quickly, you can connect with The Rapid’s Silver Line or Uber’s ridesharing service. Inexpensive options exist for everyone.

The buzz, the vibe

Why live in the suburbs when you can live right in the heart of it all? It’s hard to believe downtown Grand Rapids was on the sleepy side of excitement just a few years ago. Today, there are so many events throughout the area that you will always find something to do on the weekends or even weekdays. Events such as ArtPrize, which puts Grand Rapids on the national stage, or traditional events such as Festival of the Arts give people a reason to be downtown well after the workday is done.

New development and projects

Have you considered moving your business downtown but worry there are not any available locations? Think again. Private developers, economic development organizations such as The Right Place, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), and the city are all working together to add to the downtown area. Businesses can locate in new buildings like 25 Ottawa or a mixed-use development such as Arena Place, which make it possible to live close to shopping and work. The 12 Weston project, a 12-story tower proposed by Sibsco LLC in the Heartside area, will add even more office space downtown. On the west side, New Holland Brewing Co. will occupy approximately 45,000 square feet on the first and second floors of a new west side building with mixed-use above it. Existing businesses such as Founders Brewing Co. are expanding, and the city is doing its part by improving infrastructure downtown. The GR Forward initiative, which includes bringing in more retail and services to the area as well as creating parks and public spaces, will make downtown even more vibrant.

The list could go beyond a top five, but you get the idea. Downtown Grand Rapids has so much to offer — location, ease of access and movement, a strong pro-business climate — that it is an ideal location for your business to locate or expand. Don’t believe the hype? Make the move and find out for yourself why downtown is the best decision you can make for your business.

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