Robert Grooters puts spin on office development

Industrial real estate firm banks on employees leaving downtown for cost-savings buildings in suburbs.

January 20, 2017

By Pat Evans

Moving employees seems to be the trend, but Robert Grooters Development is preparing for the reversal.

The industrial real estate frim long has dabbled in office space, including the development of Bridgewater Place downtown, but RGB President Robert Grooters recently has renewed focus on office space for the next generation.

Grooters long has offered the ability to build office space into the company’s large-scale industrial buildings at a lower cost than downtown buildings, but the concept now is meant to help companies attract and retain talent, while saving the tenant money.

“Office space is not a new concept, it’s something we’ve done all along,” Grooters said. “The difference is how we’re designing it. Our goal is to keep overhead low and make it work easy. That’s the formula we’ve used for a number of years and leased quite a bit of space.”

A shift for offices to move back to the suburbs isn’t radical or unique to Grooters.

In October, Colliers International Research Analyst Jeff Hainer told the Business Journal that office users and residents will begin to look toward the suburbs down the line.

Grooters said one the of the major benefits of moving to an industrial park is the no-cost parking, as he called parking downtown “a diamond” . NAI Wisinski of West Michigan Broker Mary Anne Wisinski-Rosely told the Business Journal in October that parking cost already is a topic of discussion for clients when looking for space,

“We have to build parking lots anyway for the semi trucks,” Grooters said. “Competing against downtown, we’re free.”

For additional cost savings, RGD’s office spaces don’t include a common area, which often is unusable space for office use, Grooters said.

The concept can be implemented in any of RGD’s industrial buildings, which provides the largest cost savings because of the scale of the buildings, he said. The company can accommodate 10,000-square-foot office users but is better suited for larger office users where the savings are largest, he said.

View full article