99 Monroe sees $4M makeover


The renovated second floor of 99 Monroe in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Owen-Ames-Kimball Co.

A downtown Grand Rapids landmark has completed a major step in its ongoing transformation.

The former Campau Square Building — a 12-story office structure at 99 Monroe Ave. NW — has become better known as 99 Monroe, since Franklin Partners, a Chicago-area firm with prominent holdings in the region, bought the building from its lender in June 2012.

Since that purchase, the firm has renovated over 30,000 square feet of the nearly 30-year-old structure, with roughly 200,000 square feet of space, and has done so in a high-end fashion.

So far, Franklin Partners has invested more than $4 million into the renovation work.

“We’re really trying to change it from a tired 1985 building into a modern, contemporary workplace,” said Don Shoemaker, Franklin Partners managing partner, earlier in the project.

New look

The recently completed renovation work features reclaimed walnut wood panels, the installation of new LED lighting across the structure and the integration of an interactive technology system into the building’s new second-floor business center.

In addition to creating the business center, the renovation work includes a completely converted the first-floor lobby, four renovated Class A office suites, a new fitness center, high-end changes to the lobby’s elevator areas and a new ground-floor space for Panera Bread, which opened along the Campau Square Promenade in June.

“Working with Franklin Partners for the first time was a great experience, and it was very rewarding to see this downtown building come back to life,” said Adam Tweedy, the project manager for Grand Rapids-based Owen-Ames-Kimball Co., which directed the work. “Not only is the building located in a prime area, but the selected materials and level of quality workmanship that went into the renovation is top notch."

Shoemaker added, “This is a project we are very proud of, and O-A-K did a great job of taking our vision and turning it into reality."

Fall work

99 Monroe will undergo more renovations this fall.

Three more office suites are expected to be built out, renovations are planned for the building’s exterior canopy — and improvements will be made to both of the building’s skywalk connections that link 99 Monroe to nearby structures.

“I like being connected to the skywalk and to the hotels,” Shoemaker said. “We’re close enough to the courts and the law firms. We have abundant indoor parking with the city parking ramp, and we have some of our own executive parking.

"The property has good bones, but it needs tender-loving care,” added Shoemaker.

The work is expected to be done by the end of this year.

Franklin Partners has chosen Concept Design to do the architectural work on the fall project.

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