Development of 8 floors of Spectrum Health to “breathe more life” into the district of GR

GRAND RAPIDS — The eight-storey office tower Spectrum Health construction plans will bring major new redevelopment and hundreds of employees to the Monroe North neighborhood near downtown Grand Rapids.

Spectrum Health aims to begin construction in late summer on the Transformation and Innovation Center which will rise on a 4.8 acre site along North Monroe Avenue and Ottawa Avenue just east of Grand River. The $60-80 million project will house approximately 1,200 Spectrum Health administrative staff — general management, human resources, legal and finance — currently working in 26 rented offices around the city. Spectrum expects to save about $15 million a year in rent.

Spectrum Health hopes the project will lead to further redevelopment and “breathe more life” into the Monroe North business district which recently saw a former industrial site transformed into a 246-room Embassy Suites hotel, said Matt Cox, chief financial officer. from Spectrum.

“I think it will definitely transform the neighborhood. It’s going to bring even more life to a neighborhood that’s growing now, and I think more development will happen because of our presence than if we weren’t there,” Cox said.

The center will also house a training and learning center in a meeting space on the first floor that can accommodate up to 500 people, including hosting new employee orientations and corporate meetings. A pedestrian bridge will connect the 160,000 square foot project to the adjacent 155,000 square foot Brass Works building that Spectrum Health bought last year for $25 million and plans to renovate.

Last week, the Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved plans for the project, including a special land use permit for Spectrum Health to construct two parking lots with 420 spaces each and a surface parking lot with 100 to 150 spaces on Bond Avenue as part of the Center for Transformation and Innovation (CTI).

The approval of the parking structures represents an “intermediate step” in the project towards full construction that could include future retail and office development on the perimeter of the site, said Grand Rapids Planning Director Kristen Turkelson. City staff met regularly with Spectrum Health about project plans, Turkelson added.

“From a planning perspective, we are very excited about this and appreciate the collaboration and coordination that Spectrum has worked with city staff so far,” she said.

The 1,200 employees moving to CTI will join the approximately 300 Spectrum employees now working at the Brass Works building, bringing the total campus workforce to 1,500.

Spectrum seeks to ensure that the proposed structures and parking lot “do not overload the streets of our community,” said Alan Kranzo, director of strategic real estate services for the health system.

The timing of future development on the perimeter of the site “is not yet known”, Kranzo said last week.

“We certainly want to control the development of this site, so the nature of how this site will develop over time is not known at this time,” he said.

A resolution the Planning Commission unanimously approved for parking plans noted that the project will “encourage further investment” in the Monroe North neighborhood, as well as benefit the downtown business district, as Spectrum employees “will patronize nearby businesses.”

CTI had been in the planning stage for two years when Spectrum Health acquired the neighborhood parcels, including the former Gill Industries Inc. facility on Ottawa Avenue.

The office building will include “hotel space” to accommodate Spectrum Health employees in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic who divide their time between working remotely and coming to the office for team meetings or conferences, Cox said.

“We were able to change some things so that it could be very useful in a post-COVID environment where we have people who maybe work from home three days a week and come in two days a week,” he said. declared. “We’re creating it to be a lot more open so people can come in and find a home space or the workspace they need so they can continue to solve complex problems together and also build a culture together in this environment.”

Spectrum Health is targeting CTI occupancy for summer 2023.

The CTI will give Spectrum Health a headquarters and one-stop location for executives and its administrative employees who are now spread across Grand Rapids, in addition to eliminating staff travel time for team meetings. None of the finance staff who report directly to Cox, for example, work in the same office building where they are based.

“Coming together to solve complex problems is going to be a game-changer for us because we’ve never had something like this before. It’s just going to be a lot more convenient for people to work together,” Cox said. central, it will just be more efficient and more efficient and much easier.”

The CTI will also free up space currently used for offices on the nearby campus of Butterworth Hospital on Michigan Street for future medical uses, he said.

Spectrum Health considered several other downtown and city sites, as well as in the suburbs, to build the CTI, Cox said. The plan for the Monroe North site was the most economical and the fastest return on investment, he said.

“Overall, we know this is the right place for CTI,” Cox said. “Just as downtown Grand Rapids is the business hub for West Michigan, this is where we wanted to have our hub for innovation and transformation.”

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