Office leasing opens in $3M downtown Muskegon development

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An office space available for leasing at NorthTown 794. Courtesy Riversedge Photography

Office leasing opened in a recently completed mixed-use development in downtown Muskegon that houses restaurants, retail and professional suites.

John Essex, managing director of Port City Ventures, which owns Core Realty Partners, said Core Realty Partners began accepting deposits for individual office spaces within the NorthTown 794 development at 794 Pine St. in downtown Muskegon within the past four weeks and has about 35-40% of the top-floor office space still available to lease.

Essex bought the 34,000-square-foot, three-level former Al Perri Furniture building in 2014 through Port City Ventures’ subsidiary Corepark Investments and renovated it over the past few years with the help of contractor Pruitt Construction in Norton Shores and architect Concept Design Studio in Muskegon.

The building was restored to bring it back to its “original 1920s look,” Essex said, with all original brick walls, tin ceilings and expansive windows affording plenty of natural light.

The restaurant and retail components of the project opened throughout last year, including the brewery Rake Beer Project on the garden level; and Aldea Coffee, Capone’s Speakeasy & Pizzeria, 794 Kitchen & Bar, and Polka Dot Paisley apparel and gift shop on the main level.

The office space consists of private offices with doors that open into a common lounge/break area and co-working space, and it also includes a reception area, copy room, conference seating and a shared kitchen. For a flat fee, tenants get Wi-Fi and access to all of the amenities.

“Originally, we were going to build that (office) space as a more open, true co-working space, but we decided to do half of it that way and half of it with individual private offices as the COVID-19 (virus) started to hit,” Essex said.

“We changed direction and said all of it, with the exception of the common areas, is going to all be private offices, just because more people are feeling safer with that concept. They can have their own space; they can lock it down; it’s clean — every night people come through and disinfect everything. Instead of being part of a co-working environment where you’ve got a lot of people in one space — we all know that’s not going to be really popular for a while — we were fortunate that we were in a position to be able to adjust it. And it turned out beautifully.”

The NorthTown 794 development is “about 95% done,” Essex said, with the last unfinished space a build-to-suit suite that could either be retail or additional office space, depending on demand.

Essex said as a lifelong Muskegon resident, he is proud to be part of the collaborative effort to improve the city’s downtown.

“I’m just one piece of a much larger push to invest in and improve Muskegon’s downtown. It’s one of the best waterfronts and ports in the Great Lakes region, and it needed some investors to step up,” he said.

“Many have invested blood, sweat and treasure to see things improved down here. When you drive through downtown Muskegon now, compared to 10 years ago, it’s really not recognizable anymore. It’s come a long way and, hopefully, will continue to head in that direction.”

Those interested in leasing the remaining office space at NorthTown 794 can visit northtown794.com or call (231) 777-8777.

Short- and long-term leases are available, as well as month to month.

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