Word from the West

By Ann Kammerer / 04.26.21 / 3 min read

Since 2013, Senior Associate Blake Rosekrans has been a key player in the expansion of Martin Commercial Properties into the West Michigan market. Drawing on career experience in real estate and sports marketing, Rosekrans heads up Martin’s Grand Rapids office, studying data, analyzing trends, and finding effective solutions for companies seeking space in West Michigan’s core.

“Grand Rapids has an exciting and dynamic downtown, and the surrounding infrastructure and area has leveled up in the last 10 to 15 years,” said Rosekrans. “The city has a definite culture of local pride and philanthropy that deploys resources for development and quality of life.”

Rosekrans pointed to a number of large corporations headquartered in the area, representing a diversity of sectors. Historically renowned as a furniture-manufacturing center, Grand Rapids also boasts major employers in food service, retail trade, construction, professional/scientific/technical service, manufacturing and social assistance. Healthcare has evolved into an economic powerhouse with major public and private medical facilities rising alongside the Van Andel Institute on the city’s Medical Mile including Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.

By Rosekrans’ calculation, Grand Rapids has just under 20-million square feet of leasable of office space.

A third of that is downtown, another third in the southeast submarket, and the rest dispersed across the 44-square mile city and multi-county MSA that stretches toward Holland and Muskegon. About 200,000 people live in the city, with an estimated population of 1.1 million region-wide.

“There’s a real mix of companies and tenants in this part of the state,” said Rosekrans. “The key is to unlock what part of town makes the most sense for them based on their employees. Talent attraction and retention is a big priority, so you’ll see companies compare downtown locations versus the suburbs, and weigh the differences.”

Rosekrans said parking is a driving factor for downtown tenants, with some suburban companies choosing to stay outside the district. But with companies like Acrisure and Perrigo bringing their headquarters downtown in the near future, analysts foresee increased growth for retail and restaurants to meet the demands of hundreds of employees.

Despite the constraints of COVID-19, Rosekrans anticipates Grand Rapids will retain its vitality and strength throughout and beyond the public health crisis. With vacancy rates being historically low in the past few years, he said some contractions or changes could bring extra wiggle room to the market.

“Everyone is holding their breath for solutions coming from the medical community that can move us all forward,” he said. “Regardless,
we have a very strong bench of talent here in Grand Rapids. It’s a fun environment where you can dive in and make a difference, and have opportunities to grow.” ■

Are you interested in learning more about the West Michigan market served by Martin Commercial Properties? Call or email Senior Associate Blake Rosekrans:

(616) 726-5476