Smith Haughey will expand downtown



Photo 1

Smith Haughey Rice and Roegge’s rosy-wine colored entrance will stay where it is; amusing near-life-size sculptures will remain conversation starters.

Photo 2

The ground floor of the interestingly architected Ledyard Building features retail and restaurants, which fall between that and Smith Haughey’s current building.

Photo 3

Arched top windows in the new portion of the space will reflect those in the older, Flatiron Building part of the office.

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Soon, construction workers will punch through this third-floor wall to create a  passageway between the two buildings.

by Cynthia Price
Legal News

In a further demonstration of its commitment to downtown Grand Rapids, the law firm of Smith Haughey Rice and Roegge (SHRR)  is in the process of breaking through the third floor of its Flatiron Building offices into leased space in the Ledyard Building.

“We’re committed to this downtown area and seeing it grow,” said Jill Quillen, Human Resources Director. “We want to be a part of that.”

While SHRR has no fixed plans or quotas for staff expansion, Chief Executive Officer William Hondorp observes, “We’ve made some lateral hires, gotten some new attorneys right out of law school — we like to bring in fresh young people. When we thought about where we look to be over the next couple years, we foresee that that’s going to continue, so we need the space. And when the opportunity arose with the Ledyard Building, it was perfect.”

The firm has been expanding, including its Ann Arbor and Traverse City offices, over the past few years. Most recently hired, in June, were Elizabeth Roberts VerHey, who will be of counsel in the litigation practice group with experience in civil, criminal and family law appellate matters; and Sheila E. Eddy, who specializes in trademark, copyright, trade secret, defamation, internet and transactional and dispute resolution business law.

In the fall of 2011, SHRR moved into the historic Flatiron Building. (See Grand Rapids Legal News 9/8/2010.) That building is actually part of the original Ledyard Block, built in in 1869-1870, with the most recent configuration of buildings on that block originating in the 1980s.

The Ledyard Building is the second oldest commercial building in Grand Rapids, and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983. It was the first home of the Grand Rapids Public Library (1874), and has since housed retail stores, restaurants, housing, offices, and even currently the U.S. Post Office, despite the fact that for many years the upper floors were not functional. The building’s north atrium retains the original skylight.

Approximately 4000 square feet of the currently available Ledyard Building third floor will serve as the expanded space for SHRR. Quillen says that the third floors of the two buildings have a height difference of several feet, so after the punch-through there will be stairs and a ramp added between the two.

The main entrance on Monroe Center, with its quirky sculptures in the window, will remain the same. A separate staff entrance accessible from the Ledyard Building will not be open to the public.

Renovations indicate that  it will be possible to have the same  exposed brick as in SHRR’s current office. Every attempt will be made to maintain consistency in architectural detail.

“We were just about at capacity,” Quillen says. “It’s great to be able to gain space just next door.”