Historic City of Muskegon central fire station home to Matthew T. Miller and Associates LLC



by Diana L. Coleman

Legal News
The City of Muskegon’s old central fire station on Walton is taking on a new purpose as developer John Rooks converts this historic architectural gem into usable space.  Attorney Matthew T. Miller became the first official tenant when his offices opened Oct. 1.
Now that renovation is completed on his space, attorney Miller indicates the offices have exceeded his expectations. The walls still have the original wood paneling (refinished) and the original terrazzo floors.  The suite consists of two offices, a conference room, reception area, and storage. “The contractors were excellent,” said Miller. “They were so helpful and managed to use the space to provide extra
storage.  They even assembled desks, hung pictures, put up shelves and generally helped wherever.”

Actually getting into his offices was a lengthy process.  He had toured the C&C Carpet building on Apple with another local business and thought it was an ideal location close to the county building, but the other party kept dragging it out and did not respond — so out of frustration he called Rooks.  “Rooks said he was interested and met with me to look at this building,” said Miller.  “It was a big, open, nasty space.  It looked really bad.  I couldn’t figure out how it would work.”

“We just kept meeting all the time and the contractors were awesome,” said Miller. “Every time there was something to do, the contractors just did it.  Rooks and his contractors were awesome and helped with all the plans.”

Miller’s practice is in criminal defense, driver’s license restoration and family law. He is working on building up his family law practice. He is a Muskegon native—a “Big Red”—and a Grand Valley State University graduate. Miller received his Juris Doctorate from Cooley Law School in Lansing, graduating in 2005. He was on the Dean’s list multiple times in both undergrad studies at GVSU and at Cooley.
 His practice began in Holland where he worked for Holly Verde for six months before returning to Muskegon to work at Tolle & Walsh.  After that, Miller worked at Jeff West & Associates from 2009 to 2011, and then began his solo practice in an office-share arrangement at Potuznik’s office. His assistant, April, who has been with him nearly since the beginning of his practice, moved with him to the new offices.

“I really like the solo practice and the independent identity,” said Miller.  “I am starting to get bigger criminal cases including a murder case and several other significant cases. There is also enough space here that I could add an attorney if the practice grows enough to bring on more staff.”

Also a talented musician, Miller plays keyboard in a local band named Yard Sale Underwear.  The band has five members plus Miller.  “I am now in my cousin’s band. He kept throwing the keyboard at me. We play about four times a month in the Muskegon area,” said Miller. “We have played Grand Haven and Ludington, and we play at Dockers in the summer.  During law school I joined a band with a couple of professors.  It was the old guys and me.  We play a wide range of music, but my first love is jazz.”

Little League baseball is close to Miller’s heart as he played while growing up in Muskegon.  He is an ardent sponsor of East Muskegon Little League. “Man, when I was young, baseball was my life, and there were probably about 14 Little League teams,” said Miller.  “Now there are only about six.”

Miller and his brother Mark grew up being active in sports.  He played baseball and golf for the Big Reds and was a member of the Big Red Marching band. “Being a member of the marching band kept me busy between practice and performances,” said Miller.

The new office also has a wall with race car photos and a racing trophy.  Miller sponsors Derek Poland in modified stock car racing.  “Not a big racing fan, but my assistant’s friend had a car and I just sort of got involved,” Miller explained.

Miller’s great escape is hunting with family.  “I love to hunt deer, turkey, and rabbits,” said Miller. “We have an annual deer camp. It’s great.  Hunting with family is my favorite thing to do.”  

As to his new offices, “It was a little scary when I first came here,” said Miller. “The building had a lot of asbestos in it and it had to be removed.  That is all completed now and I am really happy with the way the offices turned out.  I even have a little courtyard where we can hang out on Friday night with a beer and maybe even grill a steak. The location is perfect. I am just a short walk from the county building.”
Given Miller’s enthusiasm for his new location, it is bound to be a good move.