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Downtown Grand Rapids eyesore getting makeover

7:53 AM, Jan 17, 2013   |    comments
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Renovations are planned for the former Junior Achievement building at Division and Fulton.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - It's a building in the heart of the city, located at the southeast corner of Fulton and Division, but it's been an empty shell since 1998. Now there's new life in store for the former Junior Achievement buildng, across the street from the UICA and Grand Rapids Police Headquarters.

"It's a historic building, so we kind of had to have the vision on how to rehab it," said Vice President of Locus Development Chuck Hoyte. It's been two years since his company bought the building. They say they've finally found architects with the right vision.

Tower Pinkster will renovate the space, and when it's done, rent the entire second floor to use as their own office space. "We love the location," said President and CEO of Tower Pinkster, Arnold Mikon. "It's in the center of Grand Rapids. We think that's important for recruiting our next generation of leaders to the company."

Mikon's vision for the building goes further than his plan to use the new office to create jobs: "We're going to be moving in with about 25 employees, and we have room to grow to about 35 to 40."

He sees a lot of potential in the old bones of the building. It will need a lot of work, but he expects that when the first floor, in particular, is finished, it will be a hot commodity. There are already possible tenants.

"There's a lot of different concepts for restaurants that want come downtown. There's always restaurant concepts from people, and this would be a prime location for it. Retail's a little more difficult, but there's concepts for that too."

The goal now is to have all tenants moved in by September, this year. The project will cost at least $2 million.

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