GRAND RAPIDS — Clear Water Place has its first commercial tenant.
Pinnacle Insurance Partners has agreed to lease 17,000 square feet in the former Monroe Avenue Water Filtration Plant and the growing firm plans to make the move in late summer.
“We’ve expanded our employee base 500 percent in four years, from 11 employees to 56. This move will enable us to accommodate the significant growth we anticipate over the next few years,” said Mike Poggi, Pinnacle Insurance Partners principal.
The move to Clear Water will allow Pinnacle to consolidate its two existing offices and have enough room to add 24 more employees over the next few years. The company will also be able to reap the benefits of being located in the city’s Renaissance Zone, where most city and state taxes are exempted through 2009 and reduced for the following three years.
De Vries Properties owns the building, the former plant’s towers and the six acres that make up the development. The main building, where Pinnacle will locate, offers about 50,000 square feet of space and another 15,000 square feet are available in the towers that flank the building to the north and south.
Ed De Vries, who owns De Vries Properties and who is doing the renovation project with his son, Mike, plans to lease the remainder of the ground floor space for office and retail and convert about 8,000 square feet on the upper two levels into eight apartments.
Mike De Vries told the Business Journal two businesses each were seriously considering leasing 10,000 square feet, and that a retailer was interested in occupying the north tower. The towers have 30-foot-high ceilings, which allows a tenant to add a second floor.
“We’re ready for people to come through and pick their space,” said Mike De Vries, who has been designated to give tours of Clear Water Place.
City voters passed a $395,000 bond issue in 1910 that provided the funds to build the structure in an ornate Mediterranean Revival style. Flemish bonded red brick was used for the exterior and green ceramic tiles covered the roof. The building was enlarged in the 1920s and 1930s, and the work that De Vries Properties is doing has created a buzz in the development community.
“Under the innovative design of Tom Nemitz of Cornerstone Architects and offering splendid views of the river and interior spaces that are nothing short of breathtaking, I cannot wait to see the completion of their vision,” wrote Sam Cummings, president of Second Story Properties, in the January issue of Grand Rapids Magazine.
The building, just north of Leonard at 1430 Monroe Ave. NW, is listed in the National Historic Registry and in the state’s Register of Historic Sites. The city has also made the structure a historic landmark.
“It’s an architectural masterpiece. Our goal is to retain it and amplify it,” said Ed De Vries, who added that the $5 million renovation work will finish when all the tenants are lined up.
Clear Water Place isn’t a first for De Vries Properties. The company, headquartered in the North Monroe Business District, has renovated and redeveloped buildings in the city’s core since the early 1980s.
“Clear Water Place is another example of our commitment to restoring the past and building the future,” said Mike De Vries. “We are delighted to be providing a new business home for Pinnacle Insurance Partners in such a magnificent architectural landmark.”
Pinnacle offers a variety of insurance products and services throughout West Michigan, including life, commercial, personal and employee benefits. The partnership was formed four years ago.
“Recent efforts to develop and rebuild North Monroe Avenue have added tremendously to a revitalized downtown area,” said Poggi. “We’re pleased to be a part of this effort and we’re looking forward to taking up residence in such a unique building.”