32 Market Ave SW - Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

How less is more in law firm's $45M office building


Jim Harger MLive
Published 5 / 20 / 16

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Bigger is not necessarily better for Miller Johnson, the Grand Rapids law firm which showed off its new offices in the Arena Place on Monday, May 16.

The firm, which moved out of its home of 30 years at the Calder Plaza Building last month, is taking up less space at its new offices on the top four floors of Arena Place, a $45 million mixed use office, retail and residential building at 45 Ottawa Ave. SW.

Thanks to a reduced dependency on paper and improved workflows, here's how the firm is doing more with less:

Square footage: The new offices take up 58,916 square feet, a 13.5 percent reduction compared to 68,108 square feet in the Calder Plaza Building.

Client files: The firm's client files now take up 3,226 linear feet compared to the old offices, which held 8,506 linear feet of client files. That's a 62 percent reduction.

Law library: The firm's law library now consists of 25 stacks instead of 100, a 75 percent reduction.

Corner offices: That symbol of prestige and status is has been replaced by conference rooms which encourage and reward collaboration.

Conference room: The old office building has 10 of them, the new quarters have 18. That's more, but that was intentional.

Coffee consumption: More coffee is being provided for the staff. Instead of two caffeinated carafes and one decaffeinated carafes per galley kitchen, the new offices boast seven caffeinated and one decaffeinated carafes per galley.

"Our clients and the practice of law have become more sophisticated so, it was time to reflect that in our offices, said Craig Mutch, the firm's managing member.

"We incorporated fresh, contemporary design and are embracing new technology and efficiencies all while providing the personalized, high-level legal representation our clients have come to expect."

The rest of the commercial and office tenants for Arena Place will be moving over the next several months, according to Corey Bixby, spokesman for Orion Construction Co.

The Wheelhouse restaurant will have its soft opening later in the week and formally open next Monday, May 23, Bixby said. The ground floor spaces, which will include a credit union, coffee shop and physical therapy center, will open in June, he said.

Employees of the major office tenants, Hanon McKendry and Meritage Hospitality Corp., will move in during the summer months as their offices are completed, Bixby said.

On the residential side of the building, about 20 percent of the 100 apartments are pre-leased, said Erica Gomez, property manager for Arena Place Apartments. The first tenants should be moving in after May 31, she said.

RELATED: See what Arena Place apartments will look like when $45M project is done

Arena Place Fly-throughThis animated video creates a virtual flight around and through Arena Place, a new mixed-use development across Ottawa Avenue SW from the Van Andel Arena.