GVSU buys Ferris Coffee site for plans of engineering expansion, parking

Ferris Coffee and nut purchase

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Grand Valley State University announced on Wednesday that it has purchased the Ferris Coffee and Nut facility on Winter Avenue for plans of expanding the downtown campus and parking.

According to a news release from the university, the school's Board of Trustees approved the purchase after a special meeting on June 21. There were several real estate deals approved, including a much-needed parking space for commuters. 

The purchase of the Ferris Coffee building, located at 227 Winter Avenue -- which cost the university $6.5 million -- allows the school to build the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing's Design and Innovation Center in the existing structure. This way, the university avoids delays and expense of building an all new facility or taking a short-term approach, they say "it will certainly outgrow."

"Enrollment growth in engineering has been explosive, more than doubling in the last 10 years," Dean Paul Plotkowski said. "This facility is move-in ready and perfectly located near our downtown campus, on a bus line and near where our students live.

We're excited to plan and develop spaces where students from multiple disciplines will work together and develop projects for our industry partners. This is a game changer for us in terms of opening up potential to be innovative while providing an exceptional talent pipeline to employers."

Ferris Coffee is currently remodeling another facility and will eventually move its operations. GVSU plans on moving into the 63,385-square-foot facility in the summer of 2018. 

The board also approved purchase of land in Walker for $1.6 million that will provide 400 more parking spaces right along the current bus route and newly proposed Laker Line -- which will travel between GVSU's Allendale, Pew and health campuses. 

The university sold a condominium near the Allendale campus that was purchased in 1987. It was used for host visiting faculty and international visitors -- but is no longer needed because of a recent hotel built and the Alumni House, which includes overnight accommodations. 

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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