Report Highlights Trends, Insights on West Michigan’s Development Sector

Randy Thelen, president and CEO of The Right Place, talks with participants in the organization’s second Developer Day event.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Following the success of its recent annual Developer Day event, Grand Rapids area economic development agency The Right Place, Inc., has published its first Development Report which provides an analysis of West Michigan’s industrial, commercial, office, retail and housing development sectors.

“The intent of the report is to provide those in the development sector with the latest trends and insights regarding development corridors, market demand, and potential future growth areas,” said Tim Mroz, Senior Vice President of Community Development, The Right Place, Inc.

Much of the information in the 20-page report provides four-year trends in development in each of the development focus areas. The Right Place was able to aggregate both third party reports from area real estate experts as well as firsthand information gathered by the organization to provide a more comprehensive view of the development ecosystem in the region.

“We built this report not just to provide research and education to the development community, but also to be used to spur new development in the future,” Mroz added.

Notable takeaways from the report include:

  • The industrial market is primed with demand for build ready sites throughout the region, with several large-scale projects consuming much of the available inventory. Industrial projects under construction are also climbing after having much of the pipeline drained from project completions through 2022.
  • The commercial office inventory has remained relatively flat historically. However, over the past year, inventory has grown nearly 5% largely due to large developments and consolidation downtown. And despite an increase in overall vacancy within the office space, asking rents for premier office space continue to increase reaching $21.57 per square foot in Q1 2023.
  • The retail sector saw significant net absorption in available vacancy in the past year. The pipeline of retail construction reached 14,250 square feet in the current quarter compared to roughly 172,000 square feet in the same quarter of the previous year possibly indicating a slight cooling in the market. However, at the same time asking rents have increased nearly 14% over the past year.
  • An analysis of residential building permits shows the pace of new residential construction increasing post pandemic, particularly among single family, 2-unit and 3- and 4-unit housing. Additionally, in the first quarter of 2023, numbers show a significant increase in building permit pulled for 5+ unit developments over 2022.

The full report was recently distributed to Developer Day participants. A PDF version can be found on the Right Place website:

Additional Developer Day events are planned across West Michigan throughout the summer and fall, including:

Ottawa & Allegan Counties

Thursday, August 3rd – Full-Day Event
Register at:

Osceola County

Wednesday, August 9th – Half-Day Event
For more info: Kati at [email protected]

Barry County

Thursday, September 7th – Half-Day Event
Register at:

Mason County

Thursday, September 28th – Half-Day Event
For more info: Kristi at [email protected]

Oceana County

TBD, Week of October 2nd – Half-Day Event
For more info: Curtis at [email protected]

Montcalm County

Wednesday, October 4th – Half-Day Event
For more info: Jakob at [email protected]

Muskegon County

Wednesday, October 11th – Half-Day Event
For info: Morgan at [email protected]

Lake County

TBD, Late November/Early December – Half-Day Event
For more info: Jodi at [email protected]