College renovating downtown building


Courtesy GRCC

A college has received a donation to renovate its gateway building downtown.

Grand Rapids Community College is planning to renovate its Main Building and re-name it Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, after the donor.

The Main Building, at 143 Bostwick Ave. NE, opened in 1923 as Davis Technical High School and became part of Grand Rapids Junior College in 1944.

The configuration of many of its classrooms has not changed, limiting how it can be used, GRCC said.

The building houses classes for more than 5,200 students each week.

The five-story brick building, on Dr. Juan Olivarez Student Plaza, also houses the Collins Art Gallery, Meijer Center for Business Studies, Enrollment Center and administrative offices.

GRCC is taking time to receive input from staff and students about how the building should look.

Expected to start in summer 2021, renovations will re-configure existing spaces to meet program needs, including adding classrooms and study spaces, revitalizing labs and art studios and creating a dedicated space to support technology-based learning.

GRCC said re-designed academic and career development floors will streamline student enrollment and academic counseling areas, and there will be dedicated space for veteran student services.

The project's cost has not yet been determined.

Raleigh Finkelstein

Finkelstein and his brothers, Mort and Ed, led Michigan Clothiers, the family business founded by their parents in 1946. The business evolved into a surplus store after World War II and later became MC Sporting Goods, which operated more than 75 stores in the Midwest at one point.

The brothers sold the company in 1986, and it closed in 2017.

The brothers are now partners in REM Real Estate, which is active in properties throughout West Michigan.

Finkelstein also helped form Arbor Mortgage, served as its chairperson and was a founding leader of Northpointe Bank. Other ventures have included businesses in the automotive and restaurant industries.

GVSU’s $37.5-million health sciences building, which opened last year at 500 Lafayette Ave. NE in Grand Rapids, is also named Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall after the project’s first and lead donor.

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