Healthcare fueling a strong suburban office market

KEY TAKEAWAYS

» The City of Grand Rapids Mobile GR and Parking Services recently rolled out a new monthly parking pass program that allows businesses to request monthly parking passes for city-owned parking lots in neighborhoods. This will be a game-changer for downtown employers looking for additional parking solutions.

» The medical field continues to drive real estate transactions, with Spectrum launching is new Strive concept downtown and First Companies announcing a new medical facility on East Paris Avenue.

» Office consolidations that occurred in downtown Grand Rapids by a number of companies may open up new opportunity for entrance into prime location at the core of the city.

» Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased from 4.4 percent to 4.2 percent in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Michigan, the unemployment rate rose from 4.2 percent in Q2 to 4.3 percent in Q3.

» The Grand Rapids-Wyoming metropolitan statistical area’s unemployment rate increased from 2.8 percent in May to 3.8 percent in August.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

As cranes continue to fill the downtown skyline, a number of exciting changes have taken shape in the downtown office market. However, key buildings in downtown Grand Rapids, including 125 Ottawa Avenue NW and 200 Ottawa Avenue NW, have experienced slightly higher vacancy rates. Building owners are investing dollars in their properties as an effort to capture high-quality tenants. Renovations at 250 Monroe Avenue NW is a recent example of this.

Employment trends continue to be positive. Unemployment reached a resistance point around 3 percent and has bounced back up slightly, however most economists consider 3 percent to be "full employment". Labor participation is in Kent County is over 70 percent, compared to a national average of 62.8 percent. These numbers show that not only does our region have among the lowest unemployment in the nation, but that we have among the highest amount of people trying to find work as well. Both signs of a very healthy economy.

Click here for the full Q3 2017 West Michigan Office Market Report