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GRAND RAPIDS, MI-Mortgage and investment sales group iCap Realty Advisors, based in the Woodlands, TX, believes that the Western Michigan commercial real estate market is on the way up, and has opened an office here. The company has hired industry veteran David Brockmyre as director of the new office.

In December, the company closed three transactions totaling $51.66 million for three properties in the Grand Rapids area on behalf of two different borrowers. The firm secured financing for the 360,000-sf Waters Building in Downtown Grand Rapids; for a 12-acre, 120,000-sf medical office complex in neighboring Holland; and for the 150,000-sf International Paper industrial/office facility in Grand Rapids.

“Grand Rapids is really getting to be the size and the scope of larger markets,” says Robert Leonard, senior director of iCap Realty Advisors-Michigan. “There’s a lot of national real estate firms moving in and affiliating with local companies. We’re looking at this as an opportunity to do some good in the market, there’s not many companies like us in the area.” Grand Rapids is the second largest populated city in Michigan, with almost 200,000 people, according to the 2000 US Census. Detroit has about 950,000 people, according to that year’s census.

He tells GlobeSt.com that though the western market doesn’t have the trappings of the Southeast Michigan/Detroit market, which is heavily invested in the automotive industry for survival–and which has seen unemployment rise and occupancies drop in a regressing economy. “The western area is more diversified, more healthy,” Leonard says. “There’s a lot of cranes in the air.”

Brockmyre says that the amount of deals might be small now compared to mid-level markets, the area will soon be a competitor, with new residential, medical and other commercial activity. “The money is here, there’s no doubt the wealth is here to bear out large-scale development of this area,” he tells GlobeSt.com. Brockmyre began his career as a manager of multifamily properties in Michigan and Chicago, and formerly served as a lender for National City Bank.

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