There are more than 250,000 possible ways to order a burger at Five Guys restaurants. Photo via fb.com
Grandville’s economic ball keeps rolling along.
With the recent news that a new Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Chipotle Mexican Grill are going into the under-construction hub at the corner of Ivanrest Avenue and 44th Street, it would appear the city is ripe for attracting new businesses and increasing West Michigan's retail profile nationally.
“Leasing activity at Bucktown has been very solid in terms of tenant interest and new leases getting signed,” said Scott Wierda, managing partner at CWD Real Estate Investment. “’Five Guys will likely open this summer along with Chipotle Mexican Grill. We anticipate Cabela’s opening in March, and, of course, Target, ULTA, Maurice's and Meijer Gas are already open for business. We expect Lane Bryant to open in March as well.”
Bill Bussey, managing member at Retail and Restaurant Site Advisors, said the new development, laden with nationally respected name brands, will attract both customers and competitors to check out the demographics of Grandville and other Grand Rapids suburbs.
The key to restaurant attraction, he said, is Grand Rapids’ abundance of youth.
“Greater Grand Rapids is a very unique area in that we have things that are attractive to a lot of restaurants once they feel it’s stable here,” he said. “We have one of the lowest median ages in the Midwest. If our median age is 33 . . . that’s a huge spread. The older you get, the less likely you are to be in some of these restaurants.”
The Grand Rapids restaurant scene, which struggled in the early years of the recession, could return with a vengeance, Bussey said, bringing with it a reputation of flourishing businesses. The image of the city, which was often wrongly perceived as having similar financial problems to Detroit, he said, is now changing.
In the retail business, image is everything, he said, and the Grandville hub is putting West Michigan’s best face forward, a sign of emerging economic vitality returning with the restaurants.
“What it means is Grand Rapids can take confidence in the fact that we have a desirable financial stability,” he said. “With all the bulk and medical research, it’s not going away. Education is booming in this town, too. . . . These are things that won’t change, and they’re growing.”