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Grand Rapids MI Office Space Guide

[Updated Oct 2020] A guide to executive suites and office space to rent in Grand Rapids MI as well as general information that may be useful if you are considering renting office space in Grand Rapids MI.

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History & Geography

Grand Rapids is located in the southwest of the state of Michigan on the Grand River. The city is approximately 25 miles east of the famous Lake Michigan. Grand Rapids acquired its name for the extensive section of rapids that used to occur on the Grand River, but which now have dissipated. Originally the area was inhabited by the Ottawa tribe who had a network of villages along the river. Europeans first came to the area at the beginning of the 19th century in the form of fur traders and missionaries. In 1826 Louis Campau, a settler from Detroit built a trading post and blacksmith shop on the banks of the river. Today Campau is regarded as the founder of Grand Rapids. In 1831 Campau purchased over 70 acres of what is now downtown Grand Rapids and began to sell it off in parcels to new settlers. By 1845 Grand Rapids had a population of 1,510 and by 1850 was an officially incorporated city. In 1880 Grand Rapids built its first hydro-electric generator to provide power to the west side of the city. In the subsequent years, Grand Rapids continued its steady growth and became known for its thriving furniture industry. By the early 20th century Grand Rapids was recognized as the worldwide leader in furniture production. During the 20th century the city continued to modernize and in 1926 was one of the first in the US to be home to a regular passenger airline which ran service from Grand Rapids to Detroit. Today the city is one of the most diverse and culturally rich in the area, a legacy of the broad cross-section of immigrants which has made up its past. As the second-largest city in the state of Michigan, Grand Rapids is also an economic powerhouse and home to some of the region’s largest and most successful companies.


Grand Rapids has a large and very diversified economy. The city is still known as ‘Furniture City’ and Haworth, Herman Miller, American Seating and Steelcase, America’s largest manufacturers of office furniture, are all based in Grand Rapids. Aviation manufacturing is also a large industry in the city, with GE Aviation Systems having a large presence in Grand Rapids. Other companies based in Grand Rapids include Alticor/Amway, Bissell, Highlight Industries, Spartan Stores, Smiths Industries and outdoor goods manufacturer Wolverine World Wide. Healthcare services are another bulwark industry for the city and Spectrum Health is currently the largest employer in West Michigan. The so-called Medical Mile in the city is home to level 1 trauma center Butterworth Hospital, Van Andel Research Institute and Grand Valle State University Center for Health Sciences. Recently Grand Rapids was named as ‘the most sustainable midsize city in the US’. The median income for a household in the city is USD 37,224 and per capita income is USD 17,661. Cost of living is relatively low in Grand Rapids, considering the size of the city, and it has a large supply of talent due to the number of universities in the area.

Tourism & Culture

Grand Rapids does not have a huge tourism industry, however, it does have a range of attractions and sites to interest visitors. Among these is the Gerald R. Ford Museum, on the left bank of the Grand River, and the Van Andel Museum Center, which is one of the oldest museums in the US. Recently the museum displayed the Dead Sea Scrolls and a host of ancient Egyptian treasures. Grand Rapids has a thriving theater scene as well and possesses the first megaplex in the US with a seating capacity of 6,000. The city also possesses one of the oldest and most respected symphonies in the area, the Grand Rapids Symphony, which has more than 400 performances every year. History buffs often visit the neighborhood of Heritage Hill in Grand Rapids, which one of the most important urban historic districts in the US, featuring many homes from as early as 1848. The most important festival in Grand Rapids is the Celebration on the Grand, coming on the weekend after Labor Day and involving free concerts, firework displays, food stands and arts and crafts.


Grand Rapids is served by the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, previously named Kent County International Airport, which operates over 150 flights daily with seven airlines. The airport is located 13 miles to the south of the city but is easily reachable by public transportation. Grand Rapids itself has a fairly extensive public transportation system, the main part of which is the Interurban Transit Partnership bus network, which calls itself The Rapid. Another bus service, Megabus, runs routes to Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis and Columbus. Grand Rapids also lies on Amtrak’s Pere Marquette line, which features regular service to Chicago.

Office space for rent in Grand Rapids MI

Currently, the vacancy rate in Grand Rapids is hovering around 21 percent, and only slightly lower in the CBD itself. This has resulted in lower rental rates, which incumbent tenants are taking advantage of. Grand Rapids was hit hard by the recession and job growth has been slow in its wake. Many companies in the area drastically downsized and recovery has been slower than expected by many. Analysts have predicted that vacancy rates may drop gradually, however a corresponding rise in rental rates will perhaps be a long time coming. For the moment Grand Rapids remains very much a renter’s market.

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