The multifaceted Studio Park project has begun pouring four of the six building foundations, and unique to other large-scale developments in downtown Grand Rapids, the project promises surplus parking for employees in 2019.
Jeff Olsen, partner with Olsen Loeks Development and Jackson Entertainment, said the 55,000-square-foot, 933-space parking ramp is going to facilitate all mixed-use facets of the project, and depending on final market conditions, the garage would have upward of 200 remaining spaces available for lease directly from the property owners.
“We are trying to capture a few additional tenants for Franklin Partners,” he said. “Part of that is assuring there will be available parking in Grand Rapids.”
Previous Business Journal reporting noted Franklin Partners, a real estate developer with properties throughout West Michigan and Chicago, is working to deliver 30,000 square feet of Class A office space as part of Studio Park.
The calculated parking surplus does not include an additional 300 spaces the city will master lease through Jackson Entertainment for monthly permit parking. Upon completion, the spots will go on the city’s website as available inventory for the public.
“At the end of the day, we will have inventory and the city will have inventory,” Olsen said.
Construction for Studio Park is broken into two phases, as the Business Journal previously reported. Phase 1 includes the parking deck, office space, a 106-unit apartment complex, a 154-room Canopy by Hilton hotel, a nine-screen Studio C! movie theater, public piazza and ground floor retail.
Another residential structure is scheduled for phase 2.
Olsen added most of phase 1 will be finished toward the end of next summer. The 154-room Canopy by Hilton hotel will take a little longer to complete, he said, because of the “high-end” interior finishes. It is scheduled for completion by late 2019 or early 2020.
Queens of the Nile
The Kent County Health Department found a high number of mosquitoes this year that tested positive for West Nile virus.
Adam London, head of the department, said during the first 11 weeks of sampling this year, workers collected about 16,000 of the type of mosquitoes that typically carry the virus, nearly six times the number from last year.
London said 26 percent of mosquitoes recently sent to labs tested positive for West Nile virus.
“I thought the urgency of this really demanded that we came forward to our community,” London said.
With the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus, London said it doesn’t look good.
“I think there’s a strong likelihood … we’re probably going to see cases this year.”
London said anyone is susceptible to the virus, though those over age 60 are at higher risk.
London said no cases have been reported yet, though late summer is typically when cases come up because of an increased mosquito population.
This type of mosquito likes the city, London said, because of the sewer and places to breed, though it can thrive anywhere.
The best course of action, he said, is for people to protect themselves from contact with mosquitoes by using repellent containing DEET, not wearing dark clothes in areas with lots of mosquitoes and avoiding outside activity during dawn and dusk.
London encourages residents to get rid of any outside standing water in small containers — such as pop cans, birdbaths and toys — which act as breeding grounds for this type of mosquito.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of people affected do not show symptoms.
Symptoms may include fever, along with headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.
Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
The Grand Rapids chapter of national staffing firm Express Employment Professionals will host a training event focusing on talent retention next month.
The session, “West Michigan Talent Retention Strategies,” will be hosted by Express Pros’ training and development team, led by Lorraine Medici, from 7:45-10 a.m. Sept. 11, at Express Pros Grand Rapids, 1760 44th St. SW, Suite 10, in Wyoming.
The firm described the event as a “dynamic morning of networking and training” that will help companies “identify local best practices” for talent retention.
“With a 3 percent unemployment rate in West Michigan, it is more important than ever before to retain the employees you have,” the firm said.
The training will focus on the state of the workforce, employee onboarding and employee engagement.
It will include details such as cost of turnover, the impact onboarding and engagement have on retention and how to create action plans for improving outcomes.
Tickets, available at bit.ly/expressprostalenttraining, are $50.
Euro-Locks, a Holland-based designer, manufacturer and supplier of custom locking systems, on Aug. 14 announced it has changed its name to Lowe & Fletcher Inc.
The name change is part of a rebranding effort to better align the company with its parent, Lowe & Fletcher Group.
Founded in 2000, Lowe & Fletcher Inc. is the North American segment of U.K.-based Lowe & Fletcher Group, a 129-year-old manufacturer of locking systems.
“Our new name reflects the heritage and history of the family-owned business we’ve always been a part of,” said John DeYoung, general manager of Lowe & Fletcher Inc. “And it allows for a more integrated marketing strategy as we go forward with growth plans for the U.S. market.”
Lowe & Fletcher Inc.’s locking systems range from simple mechanical locks to the latest high-tech electronic locks, engineered and designed for customers in the automotive, office furniture, health care, recreation, education, postal and fitness sectors.
The company will continue to operate under its current structure and will remain at its current facility in Holland.
Some Grand Rapids students can watch their peers perform music for free.
Starting this fall, all Grand Rapids Community College music department ensemble concerts and recitals will be free for GRCC and Grand Rapids Public Schools students.
GRCC students also will have free admission to all Kent Philharmonic concerts.
Kevin Dobreff, GRCC music program director, said faculty understands most students are on a budget.
"We want to make certain that all GRCC students are able to take advantage of attending all music department-sponsored performances without having to make a financial sacrifice,” Dobreff said.
GRCC and GRPS students must present their student IDs for free admission.
Students from other schools can pay a discounted rate for the concerts.
While admission fees will be charged to the public for some music events, many are free to the community.
All GRCC International Guitar Series concerts will have a $5 admission fee for GRCC and GRPS students.
"We are excited to share concerts by so many talented musicians with the entire GRCC student body," Dobreff said. "The free admission will be especially helpful for students enrolled in our music general education and appreciation classes."
The department's 2018-19 season kicks off Sept. 6 with a faculty recital. The first Kent Philharmonic concert — featuring the Michigan Ballet Academy and Concerto Competition winners — is Oct. 16.