Office space tightening up across West Michigan as employers expand
For over a decade, Michigan has been battling “brain drain” – where many college graduates leave the state after graduation. In recent years, however, it appears this trend has shown signs of reversal. While talent continues to leave Michigan, some counties are attracting more college graduates than losing them, including Kent County. According to reports by MLive, Kent County has had the largest net gain of people age 25 and older with bachelor’s degrees in Michigan. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates between 2013 and 2017 the number of people moving to Kent County exceeded the number of those moving out annually by an average of 1,717 people. Ottawa County also saw a net increase in people moving in. According to Cindy Brown, vice president of talent initiatives of The Right Place, West Michigan’s signs of a healthy economy, efforts to make Grand Rapids a vibrant city and groups like Hello West Michigan are helping attract talent to the area.
Despite the increase of college graduates entering Kent County, employers are still looking for skilled workers, including those in the construction, engineering and technology sectors. As West Michigan’s workforce evolves, demand for skilled talent remains high. Employers are expanding, creating jobs and looking to fill new roles quickly. In the coming years, it will be essential for employers to attract and retain skilled workers so West Michigan can continue to grow and thrive.
West Michigan’s amazing growth has resulted in a competitive office market where space is growing tighter every quarter. Office space is being leased quickly throughout the City of Grand Rapids, and demand for high-quality office space is increasing. Buyers also desire long-term, low-risk investments rather than short-term solutions. While some office users continue to move out of downtown, an influx of high-profile tenants are entering the downtown market, such as Van Wyk Risk Solutions. The firm recently joined the new 15-story Warner Building which is now fully leased.
Many state and local authorities are helping West Michigan companies grow, expand and invest in the community. For example, Bissell has played a vital role in the Grand Rapids market for more than 140 years. Bissell recently announced plans for its $10 million, 25,000-square-foot headquarters expansion in the City of Walker, creating 150 new jobs in addition to its current team of 490 employees. Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place, noted having a global company like Bissell expand in West Michigan shows the region is a world-class destination for business.
Click here for the full 2019 Q1 West Michigan Industrial Market Report