It's not too much of a stretch, since Signature is also themanager of the Bridgewater Place office building next door. BothSignature and Robert Grooters Development (RGD), the developer ofboth River House and Bridgewater, are tenants in the 17-storyoffice tower.

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The 207 units in the new condo tower, with an address set as 335Bridge Street, are already 70% sold, says Dan Wert with RGD. Hesays while the condos started out four years ago with a low pricein the high-$100,000s, going up to $1.5 million, the average pricewas about $400,000. The remaining inventory average would be about$321,000, he says. The condo tower will be attached to the400,000-sf office building, and will share a 1,392-space parkingdeck. "There's going to be two spaces for every resident that areeither covered or enclosed," Wert says. Though RGD builtBridgewater in 1993, the company no longer owns the facility.

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With the state of the economy, especially in Michigan, it'sdifficult to see why RGD decided to build River House. Plus, thehousing market has been terrible in Michigan, in a state wherecondos never really took off in the first place. "It's a questionwe mulled over for a few years," Wert tells GlobeSt.com.

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There's a few reasons the company ultimately decided to pull thetrigger, he says. First of all, the West Michigan economy is not astied to the struggling automotive industry as is Detroit. Also, oneindustry that has grown in the area is the medical field. "There'sa billion dollars of new development going on within a mile or soof our project, and much of it is in the medical industry," Wertsays. "Michigan State University has recently relocated its medicalschool here, and we have a few cancer centers opening up nearby, aswell as a children's hospital. We're seeing over the next fiveyears an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 new jobs within a quarter mile ofour project."

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Another reason, he says, is that Grand Rapids has greatbenefactors, with four billionaires, including Amway's DeVosfamily, who regularly contribute to the community and the Downtowninfrastructure. "Grand Rapids is not just a flash-in-the-pan city,"Wert says. "I wouldn't be surprised to see this growth trendcontinue for the next 15 to 20 years."

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