Leasing Redefined | Turning the Corner for Knapp’s Crossing


The Village at Knapp’s Crossing, a prominent retail corridor in West Michigan, faced a significant challenge. With five long-term vacant suites, the shopping center struggled to secure new leasing opportunities. Mark Ansara and Mike Murray of Advantage Commercial Real Estate implemented a strategic plan to revitalize the retail corridor, marking a key milestone in Knapp’s Crossings development.

Navigating the Retail Landscape

Ariel view of The Village at Knapp’s Crossing

The Village at Knapp’s Crossing, a favored shopping destination for the Northeast suburbs of Grand Rapids, enjoys a prime location near three universities and numerous businesses. However, the corridor had recently been grappling with five vacant retail suites, including a Bravo restaurant that sat empty for three years. These prolonged vacancies began to diminish the retail corridor’s appeal, posing a significant challenge in attracting new tenants.

Long-term vacancies can negatively impact surrounding communities, especially when they persist in a competitive retail market like West Michigan, where prime locations and quality spaces are limited. For Ansara and Murray, identifying and securing retailers who could mesh with the corridor’s vision was crucial.

The East Beltline and Knapp area has a lower retail corridor vacancy rate of 2.41% and a higher asking rate of $22.69/SF. This positioned Knapp’s Crossing as a high-demand space, and businesses would be willing to pay a premium for this area based on its prime location.

To attract businesses that would fit well with the current retailers, Knapp’s Crossing needed advisors with a deep understanding of the local landscape and market trends. This market knowledge was essential to ensure that each new lease enhanced the retail corridor’s appeal and functionality.

Putting the Pieces into Place

Upon securing the opportunity to lease, Ansara and Murray quickly implemented a strategic approach. They began with in-depth market research to identify potential retailers who could align with the corridor’s overall vision. Leveraging their industry expertise, they engaged in targeted outreach to attract prominent and well-known retail brands.

They secured pre-leasing agreements for a new building, ensuring continuous interest in the shopping center. With a focus on strategic placement, they brought in a diverse range of businesses to lease the vacant spaces. Finding the right retailers for each space was a unique challenge, but Ansara and Murray took it in stride. They selected a dynamic range of services for the retail center, including:

  • UPS
  • Detroit Wing Company
  • Stretch Lab
  • ATI Physical Therapy
  • BEEM Light Sauna
The Village at Knapp’s Crossing Retail Corridor

A New Beginning for Knapp’s Crossing

In just 12 months, Ansara and Murray successfully secured leases for all five vacant spaces. By attracting popular retailers to the storefronts, they transformed the corridor into a vibrant retail ecosystem. This transformation filled the empty spaces and brought new energy, benefiting the retailers and local community.

Through careful planning, strategic alliances, and a deep understanding of market dynamics, Mark Ansara and Mike Murray have set a new standard for future retail developments. The mix of tenants creates a dynamic environment where shoppers have diversity in services and products, from shipping and fitness to dining and beauty. This variety positions the retail corridor as a premier local shopping destination.

The renewal of The Village at Knapp’s Crossing highlights the impact of strategic real estate interventions. This transformation marks a significant milestone in the ongoing development of Grand Rapids. Through this partnership, Advantage CRE was able to contribute to the local community by creating innovative real estate solutions.

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