Firm redevelops seven-story building downtown


A rendering of the vacant seven-story Keeler Building in downtown Grand Rapids redeveloped into an office building with first-floor retail. Courtesy Franklin Partners

Following the sale of two properties last week, a real estate developer is embarking on a new downtown office project with ground-floor retail.

Chicago-based Franklin Partners announced today its plans for its seven-story building in Grand Rapids, at 56 Division Ave. N, also known as the Keeler Building.

The company signed an option to buy the 170,000-square-foot building in late January.

The building could potentially house 1,200 employees.

Plans for the renovated building include a complete overhaul, with new heating, plumbing, elevators, electrical and mechanical systems.

A two-story lobby on the corner of Division Avenue and Fountain Street with 18-foot ceilings is also planned.

Franklin Partners is working with Grand Rapids architecture firm Concept Design on the project.

“This will basically be a brand new building once we are done,” said Don Shoemaker, managing partner, Franklin Partners. “We have always been a value-add group, so we love big and empty.”

Also included in the plans will be new flooring, an extensive streetscape plan with sidewalks and planters, high-efficient windows and a refurbished decorative stone façade.

“True to our brand, our third downtown redevelopment will house similar amenities as 99 Monroe and 25 Ottawa,” said Julie Maue, director of marketing, Franklin Partners. “You can expect a state-of-the-art tenant fitness center, well-designed common areas and opportunity for ground-floor retail.”

Franklin Partners will use Colliers International | West Michigan Chairman and CEO Duke Suwyn to market the renovated property.

The firm first entered the downtown Grand Rapids market with the purchase of 99 Monroe and has now renovated and leased more than 300,000 square feet of commercial space in Grand Rapids.

Last week, Franklin Partners announced the sale of two of its downtown buildings, 99 Monroe and 25 Ottawa.

“The sale of those properties means we have dollars to re-invest back in Grand Rapids, with new goals in place,” Shoemaker said. “We pay attention to office trends and what’s happening in cities like Chicago, Boston and New York. We push our team to educate themselves, so we are providing the very best working environments, in the hopes of attracting new talent to downtown Grand Rapids.”

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