Kent County negotiates rent-free terms for DeVos Place vaccine clinic

DeVos Place Courtesy ASM Global

Kent County, the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) and SMG/ASM Global have reached an agreement on new contract terms for use of the DeVos Place Convention Center as a large-scale vaccination clinic.

Under the revised agreement, CAA, which owns the building, and SMG/ASM Global, the company contracted to provide venue management services, will make the convention center, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, available rent-free and will charge the vaccine consortium only for actual costs to operate the facility.

Those operational costs include utilities, janitorial and maintenance services, security and EMS services. The charges will only be incurred to the extent services are requested or used in the clinic’s operations.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of our latest discussions with the CAA and SMG regarding the vaccination clinic at DeVos Place,” Kent County Administrator Wayman Britt said. “All parties involved share the goal of operating the most efficient, safe and effective large-scale vaccination clinic in our region. We also share a commitment to be responsible stewards of public dollars and to strengthen the community’s trust.”

Britt added when the parties entered into the initial one-month agreement in January, it was impossible to forecast the exact costs of the new operation.

“Our objective at that time was to get a temporary agreement in place so we could open the clinic and get shots in arms,” he said. “After our first 15 days of operation, we are better able to assess actual space and operational needs, as well as hard costs associated with using the convention center for this unprecedented purpose.”

Kent County partnered with Spectrum Health and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s to open this regional vaccination hub — called the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic — on Jan. 25. As larger quantities of vaccine become available and the clinic is operating at full capacity, the partners anticipate that they will be able to vaccinate 140,000 Kent County residents per week.

Terms of the amended contract will be retroactive to Jan. 18 and will continue until March 31. Afterward, the parties will have the option to renew the agreement on a month-to-month basis.

While the new contract will include a fixed rate sheet for janitorial and other services, thereby providing some cost predictability to Kent County and its consortium partners, availability of the vaccine will drive hours of operation and will be a major factor in determining the actual cost of operating the clinic. The consortium partners will have the right to audit the cost analysis and charges rendered by SMG/ASM.

Kent County, Spectrum Health, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and Vaccinate West Michigan partners remain confident DeVos Place is best suited for a regional clinic. Some deciding factors in selecting the facility included:

  • It is directly on The Rapid public transit line.
  • It has a state-of-the-art air purification and ventilation system.
  • It has the infrastructure to support ultra-cold, secure vaccine storage.
  • It is close to Spectrum Health, should any visitors require medical attention.
  • It has the necessary connectivity and IT infrastructure put in place during previous alternate care site planning.
  • It offers ample space to allow for socially distanced registration, vaccination and post-vaccination observation areas when the clinic is operating at full capacity.

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