College withdraws offer for downtown building


The building at 82 Ionia Ave. NW in Grand Rapids is in the heart of downtown, at Fountain Street NW. Courtesy Kent County

A college isn’t proceeding with its purchase of a downtown building.

Last year, Ferris State University’s Kendall College of Art and Design was selected as the highest bidder for Kent County’s building at 82 Ionia Ave. NW in Grand Rapids — but following an assessment process, KCAD has decided not to complete the purchase, according to the school and county today.

The building doesn’t meet the needs of the school.

“We are disappointed,” KCAD President Leslie Bellavance said. “The property was well situated for use by the college, so it was my hope that these challenges could be overcome. However, we remain interested in exploring other avenues to develop affordable housing for our students.”

The county may re-issue a request for proposal, or RFP, for the building.

In 2015, Kent County and Progressive AE studied all county owned and leased property for efficiency. Half of the 82 Ionia building is occupied by the county.

KCAD was selected following the bid process and over two other bidders.

“We appreciative of the process and due diligence put forth by the FSU/KCAD team,” Kent County Administrator/Controller Daryl Delabbio said. “We believe the commercial real estate market is very strong in Grand Rapids.

“Two other developers responded to the initial RFP, and in recent months, additional developers have expressed interest in the building. As a result, re-issuing the RFP would be the appropriate next step to take.”

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