Much of the news in Grand Rapids, Michigan recently has focused on what's leaving the State. The list has be quite extensive...people (Michigan had more people leave than come to the State last year), factories and jobs, and this past week, a sad new entry...Heartwell Mortgage Company, a longtime Grand Rapids mortgage lender announced that it is closing its doors mid July.
You can imagine my surprise to experience a totally different side of this transition process this week. I was involved in assisting a client to find temporary housing during a relocation move...TO GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN! As we toured apartment complexes which had furnished rental units, we visited the Woodland Creek Apartment complex. As I drove up to the leasing office, I could tell they were busy...they were loading clients to go out on tour. But I didn't know how busy.
When we finally met with the leasing agent who handled the short term rentals, she indicated that out of 60 units, only 1 was available. I was shocked. I asked her who was renting all these units. She indicated that individuals who were relocating TO WEST MICHIGAN were largely responsible for the upsurge. This was quite contrary to what I expected to hear.
Later that afternoon, over an early dinner with our clients, we had a fascinating discussion. My client used a term that I had not heard before. He indicated that Michigan, particularly West Michigan, is poised for the 2nd Wave. Understandably curious, I probed further. What unfolded was educational...very, very educational.
It was a mini history/ economics lesson. He began by explaining the rational by which companies make decisions regarding location and the viability of long term profits.
Real estate is an important component in this mix. In areas which have had record breaking appreciation rates, it becomes increasingly cost prohibitive for companies to bring in new hires and still remain competitive. Consequently, the search begins to find locations which will support the necessary framework for expansion.
West Michigan is now considered a viable prospect for these reasons. The cost of living in West Michigan is very reasonable and real estate is plentiful and relatively cheap! We have a hardworking job core, many of whom are skilled laborers. The jobs they used to do are no longer available, hence the painful transition which has forced hundred of thousands to leave the state to seek their fortunes elsewhere. But many workers are also taking advantage of lay-off packages to get re-trained in new fields and technologies. A quick drive through the downtown area of Grand Rapids, Michigan reveals that something is percolating under the surface. There are several major projects going on and the development of the bio tech industry is rapidly expanding.
Grand Rapids, Michigan is slated to be the site of the first Green Built Hospital (Metropolitan Hospital's New Campus) and the first Green Built Museum (the New Grand Rapids Arts Museum) in the state. In fact, it is estimated that Grand Rapids, Michigan has more more square footage per capita under LEED certification than any other city in the United States. What's even more extraordinary is that the leadership in donations and vision has been through the efforts of private donors and corporations in conjunction with the state government. The people of Grand Rapids have decided to invest in their future rather than let events chart an uncertain course. These are pretty heady accomplishments and are pre-views for the progressive attitude which is emerging in spite of the challenges we are undergoing.
I found a very interesting press release from UC Berkley about the concept of the 2nd Wave. The author Kathleen Maclay discusses the traditional meaning associated with the 2nd Wave which usually refers to job outsourcing...which we have experienced in record numbers through the loss of manufacturing jobs. However, Maclay ends the article with a quote that may well be describing what is poised to occur in Michigan. Here is is: (keep in mind this article was written in 2003)
- But all is not necessarily gloomy for the United States' economy, the researchers say.
- For example, outsourcing of service jobs may prove more costly to the economy than the earlier wave of manufacturing outsourcing, conclude Kroll and Bardhan. This, they say, would be the case if the economy does not generate enough technological growth to replace the jobs lost with new ones and workers eventually find new work in lower-wage occupations.
- "On the other hand," says Bardhan, "continuing innovation and technological advances could allow the U.S. and California economies to keep the 'cream' of new development and higher-value-added jobs at home, while more routine activities are outsourced."
- This was the pattern for high-tech manufacturing outsourcing of California's low-wage assembly jobs during a downturn that brought productivity increases in its wake and a wide range of opportunities in new service jobs, he said
I'm excited about the prospects and opportunities that will emerge from the 2nd Wave...I think it's coming. Are you prepared to ride it for all it's worth? Governor Granholm recently named Grand Rapids, Michigan as a recipient for a $100,000 Grant to fund urban redevelopment as a Cool City. The revitalization of urban communities is transforming the nature of life in the downtown area. This 2nd Wave in Grand Rapids, Michigan is poised to take Cool to a Whole New Level!
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Lola Audu, is the Designated Broker & Owner of Audu Real Estate. Our company specializes in helping people buy and sell homes in the greater Grand Rapids, West Michigan area. You can contact us via e-mail @ firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 616-791-0511. Thanks for visiting our blog. Here are links to some of our most popular posts for you to enjoy!