Michigan State University and JLL partner on innovation hub

Development will capitalize on the city’s “Medical Mile” innovation district and bolster both economic and community development in Grand Rapids

July 09, 2019

CHICAGO, July 09, 2019 – When Michigan State University (MSU) set out to develop an innovation hub on land adjacent to the university’s new Grand Rapids Research Center (GRRC) along the city’s “Medical Mile” innovation district, they needed a partner that could advise them through every step of the real estate development process. MSU engaged JLL to advise on the project from start to finish,  including developer procurement, transaction structuring and ground lease negotiations through financial close.

MSU’s vision is to create an innovation hub that will spur collaboration with biomedical, bioengineering and healthcare technology fields to commercialize, patent and license research and innovations. This project will also enhance activities at the new research center, capitalize on the momentum of the Medical Mile, contribute to the vibrancy of the surrounding neighborhood and bolster both economic and community development in Grand Rapids. Together with the GRRC, the new development will form the Grand Rapids Innovation Park (GRIP).

“JLL’s successful track record and expertise with higher education institutions was essential in leading us through the financial structuring, RFP, and ground lease negotiations,” said Norman J. Beauchamp Jr., MD, MHS, Michigan State University associate provost and assistant vice president for health affairs and College of Human Medicine dean. “With JLL’s guidance, we were able to identify a partner that would not only bring our vision to life but do so in a way that minimized our financial risk, maximized our revenue potential and allowed us to retain control over important aspects of the development.”

JLL worked closely with MSU to establish rigorous criteria to support an agile partnership with the private developer, Health Innovation Partners, a real estate development joint venture between MB Real Estate, Walsh Construction/Walsh Investors and Rockford Construction. Following the receipt of RFP responses, JLL worked with MSU to assess each response to ensure the right firm was selected to positively impact MSU’s risk outlook and the project’s revenue potential.

“Bringing private sector capital and expertise to this development site will provide MSU with fantastic new corporate partnership opportunities. Coupling the private sector risk tolerance with the rights and approvals that MSU achieved through this process was a hard-fought team effort with a great result,” said Brian Carroll, Senior Vice President, JLL's Higher Education group. “When complete, Grand Rapids Innovation Park will integrate faculty, students and the business community in a multi-tenanted space specifically designed to foster collaboration and innovation, and in turn, drive economic development in Grand Rapids.” 

JLL worked with the preferred developer to negotiate a term sheet that was approved by MSU’s Board of Trustees in December 2018. JLL also assisted in the negotiations process for the development agreement and ground lease. This concluded with the execution of the development agreement in March 2019 and the execution of the ground lease in May 2019, which included MSU retaining approval rights over tenants in the building and naming rights, among many other favorable terms.

JLL's Higher Education practice partners with public and private universities, as well as university health systems, to help fulfill their missions through the stewardship of real estate. The group taps the unrealized potential of real estate to produce cost savings, improve financial strength, manage risk and improve the overall student experience. A leading provider of higher education services, JLL has worked for more than 200 colleges and universities throughout the world and provides a broad range of services that encompasses: brokerage, project and development management, sustainability solutions, public private partnerships, facilities management and master planning. JLL's expertise includes student housing, athletic stadiums, gateway and innovation projects, science and research facilities, parking garages, continuing education, hospitals and international campuses. For more information, visit www.jll.com/highereducation.

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. Our vision is to reimagine the world of real estate, creating rewarding opportunities and amazing spaces where people can achieve their ambitions. In doing so, we will build a better tomorrow for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.3 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of over 91,000 as of March 31, 2019. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com.