Getting its start as a two-person commercial real estate boutique shop in downtown Grand Rapids nearly nine years ago, the former Paramount Properties now has offices in four cities and has managed to become one of the largest brokers in West Michigan.
“It’s providing a continuum of service from the west to the east,” said Bill Bowling, the firm’s co-founder and CEO of Grubb & Ellis/Paramount, of expanding into the Lansing market.
Despite the government cutbacks and a soft economy that plagues Lansing, like other cities in Michigan, Bowling said he saw a potential for growth in the state capital. He plans to use the same approach to business there that he has used throughout his lengthy career in commercial real estate.
“Do your homework, know your plans for growth and identify the best setting for bringing it all together,” he said.
The Lansing office, at 3001 Coolidge Road in East Lansing, joins those already in Kalamazoo, Holland and downtown Grand Rapids. Vice President and Managing Partner Greg Hundersmarck is heading the Lansing office.
Grubb & Ellis/Paramount began as Paramount Properties when Bowling and Jack Buchanan set up shop in a tiny Frey Building office in 1995. Their goal back then was to specialize in the downtown office market.
But by 1997, international broker Grubb & Ellis asked Paramount to become an affiliate. Not long after that the firm was part of a worldwide real estate network working in all facets of the office, retail, industrial and investment sectors.
Buchanan left the company in 2000 to start Everest Holdings, which later became Blue Bridge Ventures. Later that year, however, Paramount opened an office in Kalamazoo and one in Holland through its affiliation with Focus Properties.
Then in 2001 Duke Suwyn was made a partner and became Paramount’s CEO, while Bowling took on the role of company chairman.
Grubb & Ellis/Paramount has 40 brokers and advisers making up the company today, along with Paramount Property Management, which offers real estate management and consulting services.