City sells unusually shaped commercial lot


The city of Grand Rapids is conducting a somewhat unusual sale of a small commercial property it picked up from the state in the foreclosure process.

City commissioners recently agreed to sell a vacant commercial site at 53 Coldbrook NE to T-Mac LLC, which owns Grapids Irrigation at 55 Coldbrook NE, for $1 per square foot.

The city’s parcel has an irregular shape and is adjacent to Grapids Irrigation, along the company’s north and east sides. The firm uses it for storage and access to its main office at 1170 Plainfield Ave. NE. The site has a gravel drive and a parking lot.

T-Mac LLC has received a Special Land Use designation from the Planning Commission that releases the firm from having to pave the parcel. In return, the company will landscape the property line, install decorative lighting and fencing, and build a 50-foot-long concrete drive from the sidewalk to its property. T-Mac LLC wants to use the land to expand Grapids Irrigation.

West Michigan Tag and Label, which is owned by R&R Associates, is located on the other side of the property and has developed a plan with T-Mac LLC to split the parcel. They offered the city $4,825 for the site, and commissioners agreed to accept the offer.

Commissioner Walt Gutowski, however, felt the purchase price was too low.

“I’ve never been convinced by the discussion that the value should be so low. We buy these things expensively and we sell things cheaply,” he said.

The city assessor’s department indicated the square-foot price was below the typical value in that commercial area, but added that similar sales are virtually nonexistent so a meaningful comparison wasn’t available. An appraisal isn’t required because the parcel’s value is less than $50,000.

“Given the irregular shape of the lot, the desire of both adjacent neighbors to cooperate in the transaction and the opportunity to resolve property encroachments, staff recommends accepting the offer under the negotiated sale method of disposal,” said Kara Wood, economic development director.

City Deputy Manager Eric DeLong said the city’s choice was to either make use of a vacant site or hold on to it in order to maximize its profit on a transaction. Wood added it was unlikely anyone else would want to buy the property other than the two companies.

The city is selling a vacant residential property at 1005 Logan St. SE it also picked up from the state in the foreclosure process. The parcel is only 30 by 53 feet, making it too small for a residence, according to city regulations.

Lawmar Ltd., a property management firm, owns the rental house next to the parcel at 1011 Logan St. SE and has offered the city $1,050 for the land. The offer meets the city’s minimum requirement for a residential site.

“This is a non-buildable residential property,” said Wood, who added the two lots would be combined into a single address once the sales transaction is completed.

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