Waséyabek Development Company, LLC Adds Two Commercial Property Assets

29 October 2018

Waséyabek Development Company, LLC (WDC) acquired two additional commercial income properties in October; increasing the firm’s real estate portfolio value to $28.5MM representing four properties and a quarter million square feet of leasable space.

“WDC’s investment in real estate strategically provides the company with a base of low risk, long-term, income-producing assets which enhances WDC’s ability to expand its reach into other industries and disciplines,” explained Clay Vanderpool, WDC Board Member. “Because the properties are leased to profitable, large corporate tenants who have agreed to long-term leases, the WDC real estate portfolio has become a point of great strength and stability as we look to invest for the next seven generations.”

The first property, located at 16 Monroe Center Street NE in Grand Rapids, known as the “Kendall Building,” is a five-story, mixed-use property containing retail on the first floor, the WDC corporate offices on the second floor, and twelve apartment units on the remaining floors. The property has a total of 13,163 square feet of gross leasable area on 0.069 acres.

The Kendall Building lies at the corner of Fulton Street and Division Avenue. The namesake was built in the early 1880s by William G. Robison for George Kendall. Kendall was one of the city’s earliest real estate developers who, for $4,500 in 1849, purchased a 75-acre plot of land northeast of the corner of Fulton and Division, later renamed “Kendall’s Addition.” Kendall’s primary reason for coming to Grand Rapids in 1846 appears to have been to establish himself in the grocery and dry goods trade. He chose the best lot at the edge of the 75-acre piece of property, then the center of Grand Rapids, to construct the building that WDC would purchase over 135 years later.

In 1983, the historic structure was vacated and sat empty until 2012 when a local real estate developer purchased it and began to make renovations including gutting the interior, constructing an elevator shaft, mounting new windows and installing new flooring, electrical, and plumbing. Today, the Kendall Building stands as a beautiful representation of late 1800’s architecture, exhibiting a facade of unpainted red brick, two oriel windows, a pair of recessed storefronts, and arched windows on the top two floors. The original terrazzo floor and glass tile in the main entrance were preserved, as was the unique stairway throughout the building, to allow the historic feel of the building to remain.

“This acquisition made sense for all the right fiscal reasons, and we are grateful that our NHBP Tribal Council supported the purchase,” expressed Jeri Pamp, WDC Board Member. “It is a testament to our Tribe’s fortitude that today in 2018, we can acquire this historic structure built in the late 1880’s during a period in history when our people were suffering under a system that sought to eliminate us. Now, some 138 years later, we are beginning to prosper, and together WDC and the Kendall Building can support one another into the future.”

WDC’s second property acquisition is a 37,440 square foot food processing and distribution warehouse facility that was constructed in 2005 and occupies 8.09 acres at 17605 Commerce Drive in New Boston, Michigan (near Detroit).

Jimmy TenBrink, Director of Business Development for WDC stated, “It is important for WDC that we have not only a diverse portfolio of investments but also our geographic footprint is somewhat diversified. With the rejuvenation of Greater Detroit area businesses, the rise of online groceries, and the proximity to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, this location begins to build a foundation for future WDC investments on the east side of the state.”

Located less than two miles south of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the structure was built for and has been continuously occupied by the world’s largest pizza franchisor. The distribution facility includes office space, an employee locker room, general warehouse, cold storage, food production areas, a large freezer area, and twelve loading doors. The tenant is committed to a 15-year lease and possesses an option for expansion at this location should the business need dictate.

WDC wishes to thank the WDC Board of Directors, Tribal Council and Tribal Membership for their continued support of economic development. Membership can be assured that the asset base being built with real estate will be of continuing value to WDC’s economic development efforts, both in the commercial and Federal operating sectors.

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