Sale of 82 Ionia on hold again


The building at 82 Ionia Ave. NW in Grand Rapids is in the heart of downtown, at Fountain Street NW. Courtesy Kent County

A logistics problem once again is holding up the sale of a Kent County-owned building.

Jim Saalfeld, chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners, asked the rest of the board to stop the Request for Proposal process for 82 Ionia at last Thursday’s commission meeting.

The decision was a result of a July 18 Finance and Physical Resource Committee vote that approved the 82 Ionia sale, but denied construction of a new building on the county’s Fuller Campus. A subcommittee had recommended both proposals for approval in June.

Saalfeld said the board needs to better understand the Fuller Campus Master Plan and to update the plan, which was last done in 2004.

“While there are several considerations that go into this, my position is based primarily on the belief that a sale of 82 Ionia — without a plan regarding where to house the impacted county employees and services — is not prudent,” Saalfeld said. “I am hopeful this update will add clarity to future discussions about building and space needs.”

The 108,000-square-foot building currently is 65 percent occupied and is home to the county’s prosecutor’s office, Friend of the Court, Circuit Court Probation and Community Development and Housing Commission.

Kent County acquired the building in 2005 and has issued RFPs for the structure in each of the past two years.

In May, the county received a $10 million bid from the West Michigan Housing Alliance, a $7.075 million bid from Rockford Construction and a $3.4 million bid from Naperville, Illinois-based Franklin Partners.

That was not the first time Kent County received a $10 million offer for the building.

In 2006, the county received a $10 million bid from Ferris State University’s Kendall College of Art and Design, before backing out.

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