Tribes buying downtown Grand Rapids’ McKay Tower

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two regional Native American tribes are buying the landmark McKay Tower in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (better known as the Gun Lake Tribe) and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians in southwest Michigan announced the $17.5 million purchase Wednesday.

McKay Tower, which stands on Monroe Center at Monroe Avenue, will continue to house apartments, offices, retail and venue space.

McKay Tower
McKay Tower in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 15, 2020)

The tribes’ business arms, Gun Lake Investments and Waseyabek Development Company, are making the purchase.

“When McKay Tower came on the market, we believed it represented an attractive acquisition opportunity and we were excited about the opportunity to continue its historic legacy in downtown Grand Rapids,” Gun lake Investments CEO Kurtis Trevan said in a statement. “As we continued to explore the opportunity, we thought it could be a great opportunity for us to partner with Waseyabek Development Company.”

“We are excited to invest in such an iconic and visible property in downtown Grand Rapids,” Waseyabek CEO Deidra Mitchell added. “It’s a great building with a great legacy. It has many new enhancements, and it serves as a beacon of commerce in the downtown area.”

The tribes say the purchase is a rare example of co-investment in a non-gaming asset. They promised their management of the building would generate jobs and promote the city’s economy.

“As a Native American tribal community with deep ancestral roots in the region, we have a historical bond with the land around Grand Rapids,” Gun Lake Tribal Council Chair Bob Peters stated. “We are proud of Gun Lake Investments to have invested in such an important property on behalf of our citizens.”

The building was originally erected in 1914 by Grand Rapids National Bank. Stories were added in 1926 and 1940. It gained its current name in 1942 after being bought by Frank McKay.

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