New life for old Steelcase plant

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- Here's proof west Michigan's industrial economy is regaining steam: Steelcase has sold its huge chair plant on the East Beltline to a developer, Franklin Partners.

Franklin says it has a new tenant for the 885,781 square foot site that covers 20 acres. After renovations, Franklin says the as yet unidentified tenant will fill the space by August.

"This isn't the closing of a factory; this is an opportunity for a massive building to have new life. There's no downtime from Steelcase vacating the property to us re-filling it with a strong employer. This is a great win for West Michigan," says Don Shoemaker, managing partner of Franklin Partners.

Duke Suwyn of Colliers International also attributes the region for being a main driver of these two transactions. The West Michigan area is known for its diverse manufacturing base and its highly-skilled labor force; the re-use of a major manufacturing facility confirms this.

"The market is strong and Mayor Kepley continues in the tradition of making sure Kentwood is, as former Mayor Root would say, 'open for business,'" says Suwyn.

Steelcase no longer needed the space when it shifted its chair production to Mexico.


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