Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses plans HQ

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Rendering courtesy GRABB

An African American-focused economic development organization is building its first-ever headquarters in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses, or GRABB, is planning a 4,500-square-foot headquarters called The District 2012, at 2012 Eastern Ave. SE in Grand Rapids, according to the social enterprise organization on Facebook.

Jamiel Robinson, founder of GRABB, told the Business Journal the project is expected to cost $750,000, and GRABB aims to move into the facility by fall 2020.

He said the building will combine GRABB staff offices with space for “business incubation, affordable co-working, convening and meeting space,” as well as “a robust offering of educational, mentoring, networking and capital resources.”

The space will be dedicated to “inspiring ideas, creating jobs, scaling companies and increasing wealth in the community,” Robinson said.

“The District 2012 looks to unite residents, small businesses, community organizations and other local economy stakeholders around economic equity and a vision for business corridors in Southtown,” Robinson said. “District 2012 builds a new infrastructure that helps historically excluded entrepreneurs and residents to benefit economically from community development and be a part of the future of their city.”

GRABB currently is operating out of a co-working space at Start Garden.

Robinson said the goal all along was to purchase a property “to create a space for disadvantaged businesses and entrepreneurs as defined by the SBA, where they will be able to build, grow, scale, collaborate, try, fail and fly.”

“(GRABB) believes that creating vibrant business districts anchored by Black businesses is vital in raising the quality of life for families in economically depressed predominantly Black neighborhoods in Grand Rapids and beyond,” he said.

The project’s architect is Grand Rapids-based Isaac V. Norris & Associates, and its interior designer is local firm Tiffany Eden Design. A contractor has not yet been selected.

After the headquarters opens, Robinson said GRABB will be hiring for three positions.

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