MSU medical innovation building to house Spectrum


Groundbreaking for the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building is set for Nov. 18 with completing scheduled for late 2021. Rendering courtesy MSU

Plans for the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building downtown are solidifying.

Besides housing space for MSU health sciences, the 211,000-square-foot building planned for the northeast corner of Michigan Street NW and Monroe Avenue NW will house operations for Spectrum Health and BAMF Health, according to Dr. Norman Beauchamp Jr., EVP of health sciences for MSU.

Spectrum has been officially confirmed, and Bamf still is in the works, MSU said.

In June, Health Innovation Partners — a real estate development joint venture between MB Real Estate, Walsh Construction/Walsh Investors and Rockford Construction — and MSU signed a long-term lease for the development of a medical innovation building and parking structure at the MSU Grand Rapids Innovation Park. The first building at the site, the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center, opened in September 2017.

The building is set to break ground Nov. 18, Beauchamp said. The facility is anticipated to open in late 2021.

The new building is meant to focus on driving innovation through relationships between tenants, hopefully resulting in bringing new discoveries to market, MSU said.

The space designated for Spectrum will be used for training resident doctors, said Tina Freese Decker, Spectrum president and CEO.

Relocating the base of resident training to this area gives them better access to learn through a hands-on perspective, she said.

Part of the education can include how companies are using innovation in health care, Beauchamp said.

“What's ideal about this is it's so closely connected with the medical school and with the medical center campus,” Freese Decker said. “So, this is really a wonderful opportunity to co-locate people and talk through how we can collaborate and partner to find new opportunities for both education and for research.”

This building is just south of where Spectrum will be placing its administration building, at 706 and 725 Bond Ave. NW, according to Kent County documents. This building will house training for workers across the entire health system, Freese Decker said.

BAMF declined an interview request at this time but plans to release information prior to the building’s groundbreaking.

BAMF’s website says the company “is working to achieve intelligence-based, personalized medicine through AI-enabled molecular imaging and theranostics.”

The company also says it’s “designing and building the world's most advanced cyclotron radiopharmacy in Grand Rapids.”

Doug Meijer and the Meijer Foundation recently donated $19.5 million to fund the design, construction and equipment for a theranostics clinic that includes a cyclotron-equipped radiopharmacy and PET/MR scanner.

The clinic will be “one of the world’s most advanced” cyclotron-equipped radiopharmacies focusing on manufacturing a wide variety of diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals for clinical and research use, MSU said.

Radiopharmacy uses emerging nuclear medicine technology to diagnose and treat cancer precisely, rather than using treatments such as chemotherapy that affect the whole body, Beauchamp said.

In honor of the largest gift the College of Human Medicine has ever received, the building will be named the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building, according to Beauchamp.

Meijer is the former co-chairman of Meijer and a former cancer patient. Beauchamp said Meijer donated the gift because he wanted to give others the chance to have a high level of care similar to what he experienced.

MSU and the developers are in discussion with potential tenants focused on disciplines like cancer research, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, artificial intelligence and medical device development, MSU said in June. 

Freese Decker said she and the other leaders are embracing the notion that they are “better together” in achieving their collective missions.

“MSU has been a good partner with us as we advance health care academics and research, especially along the Medical Mile,” Freese Decker said. “So, this is another commitment to research and education and health care in West Michigan.”

The increased density of health care operations extends the reach of Medical Mile west along Michigan Street, taking another step toward local health care leaders’ common goal of becoming a hub for medical research, innovation and care.

“It fills in our aspiration to be the center of innovation of health care for the state and nation,” Beauchamp said.

Among continued collaborations between the systems, Freese Decker referenced a paper written earlier this year by a Spectrum medical geneticist physician and an MSU researcher, which names a syndrome and will help identify potential treatments.

“So that's the impact we're bringing not only to West Michigan but to the rest of the world,” she said.

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