616 Lofts on Ionia
Grand Rapids MI

616 Lofts on Ionia– also in downtown Grand Rapids – was unique in that it “connected” two buildings, both in the historic registry. This total renovation provided highly desirable retail space at street level (now home to the Grand Rapids Brewing Company), two partial floors of office users, and 23 apartments on the upper floors, including two-story loft-style apartments and executive suites. A few of the biggest challenges of this project was linking the two buildings together and working around existing tenants to minimize disturbances and accommodate their needs during construction. All work was completed on time and on budget.

“A big part of our vision has been renewing downtown Grand Rapids and the reuse of historic buildings. We learned a lot with First Companies, and in the process we were able to create a construction spec and successful model that we can easily replicate. The team at First Companies is highly innovative, offering great suggestions based on their knowledge and best practices. They’re always looking for better ways to build.”  Monica Steimle, Director of Development

Action Packaging
Caledonia MI

Dating back to the 1940s, Action Packaging continues to provide innovative packing solutions, including corrugated box production. New owner, Butch Stoner, purchased the company in 2001 and doubled sales since the acquisition. The company hired First Companies to complete their new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Caledonia, MI, with 109,000 SF of space for their office staff and production needs. This gave them the ability to implement Lean Sigma principles in manufacturing and support continued growth and efficiency.

Arcadia Bluffs
Arcadia MI

First Companies began it’s relationship with the management team at Arcadia Bluffs in 2009 when the company was hired to remove the roof from the existing clubhouse and add a second story lodge on top.  Also included in the initial project was a full renovation of their dining room and pro shop, and the addition of a bar.  The aggressive scheduled called for completion of the main floor by Mother’s Day and the lodge by Father’s Day – with construction taking place during the harsh winters of Northern Michigan along the lake.  First Companies met the deadline, and with this first project so successful, the company was hired again in 2013 to add a new, casual dining restaurant and bar to the property for guests preferring a lite meal or sandwich versus the fine dining in the main restaurant.  In 2014, the resort decided to add four high-end cottages overlooking the golf course with four bedrooms, a living room and an eating area.  The following year, First Companies was hired to add a new banquet facility to accommodate special events and weddings with up to 100 guests.  The room can be divided in two with 50 guests in each, as needed.  The beautiful banquet hall was so popular, it booked up immediately.  In 2017, First Companies completed a second, separate lodge next to the original to accommodate the growing number of guests to this beautiful location.

Grand Rapids MI

Anticipating the end of their lease, the partners at BRAINS asked First Companies to help them find a new, more suitable facility for their growing practice. Initially, they looked to purchase and remodel an existing building; however, BRAINS’ practice utilizes a wide range of testing and counseling methods to effectively care for their broad client base. The ideal location required controlled lighting and sound-proofed rooms, as well as office areas appropriately furnished for testing, and a gym for physical activities. Each member of the practice needed something different to create the ideal treatment environment for their clients – presenting a unique challenge for the First Companies real estate team.

After an exhaustive search, the team came to the conclusion that constructing a new facility on North Evergreen in Grand Rapids would best meet their current and future needs. In addition to managing the construction, First Companies also assisted BRAINS with financing the project. BRAINS Ventures was established whereby the partners were able to join First Companies and other investors to purchase the land and construct their perfect building.

“Our practice is multi-disciplinary. We are not a typical office and we wanted to create an environment as conducive to the needs of our clients as possible. With First Companies we were able to work right alongside the team so that it felt like our building from the start. They really cared about making it right. First Companies helped us meet our goals in two ways: First, was the financial part. They helped us find a creative way to fund the project through BRAINS Ventures. Second, is that they listened to our every need and every request. If it was in the budget, it happened – even down to the smallest details like positioning the pattern in the carpet, and finding toilets that were water efficient, but not loud.” – Rochelle Manor, Ph.D. – BRAINS Co-Owner