"Ashley was chosen for its financial capability, redevelopment expertise and receptivity toward the community's plans."
Acquisition: Grand Rapids Commerce Center
In 2005, Steelcase, the global leader in the office furniture industry, announced that it intended to sell 18 buildings on over 200 acres at its campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Modernization of Steelcase’s manufacturing operations and reconfiguration of its supply chain and warehouse facilities prompted the sale of this 4.3 million square foot complex. Steelcase was particularly concerned about the outcome of this transaction given its 95 year history as a corporate leader in the community and the continued presence of its global headquarters on an adjacent parcel.
Ashley bid on the project and was chosen for its financial capability, experience in major redevelopments and the compatibility of its plans with those of the community. Ashley’s master plan included renovating certain buildings, demolishing others to make way for new construction and attracting new users to the center. Within the first 18 months, over half of the space was sold to users including a plastics company and a wholesaler of office and stationery supplies.
Despite the intervening economic downturn, Ashley continued its successful revitalization of the property with sales of additional facilities to well-established, Michigan-based businesses that included a case goods manufacturer, a specialized steel processor and a transportation company that brought jobs back to the campus. At the same time, Ashley invested significantly in the renovation of the largest facility totaling 1.7 million square feet which has attracted a diverse group of office and industrial tenants, including Lacks Exterior Trim, Sprinter Services and Soundtech.