Commercial Property Spotlight: The Watermark Center

The unique and historic Watermark Center, one of downtown Muskegon’s early mixed-use commercial developments, is on the market and ready for an ambitious buyer.

Located in an emerging area of Muskegon, the Watermark Center combines historic character, unique architectural elements, and urban amenities just a block from Muskegon Lake’s waterfront. Visit the property listing here:

The $12 million commercial property, at 930 W. Washington Ave., features 650,000 square feet and has been revitalized into a multi-use urban destination that includes condominiums, an event center, and coffee shop and café.

This premier, mixed-use development has loads of potential for the right investor. Plus, it is a great time to capitalize on Muskegon’s ongoing downtown redevelopment, diverse lakeshore attractions, and own a piece of Muskegon’s manufacturing history.

The sprawling complex includes 15 acres and is the site of the former Shaw Walker Furniture Factory. It sits on the western end of Western Avenue, across the street from Fricano Place Event Center and the planned Hartshorn Village & Marina condominium development.

Residents and guests of Watermark Center experience the lakeshore life in urban style. The property is within walking distance to downtown shops, restaurants, breweries, festivals, a fitness center, public dog park, the multi-use Lakeshore Trail, and the city-owned municipal marina. The area offers beautiful views and easy access to the deep-water port of Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan.

Mixed-use development ready for expansion

A symbol of Muskegon’s manufacturing heyday, the Watermark property encompasses an entire city block and sits within an Opportunity Zone. The property includes several existing developments and original architectural features from the century-old furniture factory.

Today, the Watermark includes:

  • Watermark Lofts, a 33-unit condo development with waterfront views, grand interior columns, wall-to-wall windows, high ceilings, and on-site parking
  • Watermark 920, a 9,500-square-foot event and conference center offering innovative space for receptions, concerts, meetings and more
  • Watermark Live, the event and promotions arm of the Watermark Center that includes a full-service production company and event planning services
  • The Coffee Factory, a neighborhood coffeehouse, and café that pays homage to the building’s history, proudly serves MadCap coffee and specialty drinks and welcomes the community
  • 5,000 square feet of commercial-oriented space in the Watermark Lofts building
  • 104,105 square feet of industrial space currently leased to Knoll, Inc.
  • 492,025 square feet of remaining shell space intended for future development

Repurposing a historical gem in Muskegon

The Muskegon-based Shaw Walker Co. was a furniture company that opened in 1899, employed thousands of local residents, and grew into an internationally recognized office equipment manufacturer.

Early products helped transform office work and record-keeping systems and included small wooden cabinets with drawers to hold 3×5 index cards. Shaw Walker invented the first “Built Like a Skyscraper” vertical steel filing cabinet in 1913. The company debuted a “Low Desk for Comfort” in 1937, which had a working height of 29 inches versus the old industry standard of 30 ½ inches.

Shaw Walker made office furniture, equipment, and supplies for 90 years. In 1989, the family business was sold to Westinghouse Furniture Systems in Grand Rapids.

In the realm of Muskegon history, company co-founder Louis Carlisle Walker, an internationally known industrialist, philanthropist, and patron of the arts, was second to only Charles Hackley in his economic and civic impact on the city.

In 2001, P&G Holdings of New York purchased the vacant and blighted factory on Western Avenue. Extensive renovations began in 2004 and to date have totaled $12 million.

The company targeted portions of the building on less visible Washington Avenue and Hudson Street for redevelopment first. The completed section features modern architecture and fresh clean lines while honoring the factory’s original design.

In 2017 and 2018, crews demolished sections of the plant that faced Division Street and Western Avenue due to safety issues and to make way for further redevelopment.

Close to downtown, lakeshore amenities

 In recent years, Muskegon has attracted the attention of developers, new residents, and entrepreneurs. The city’s downtown core continues to transform with several major residential and mixed-use developments planned or in the works: Highpoint Flats, Lake View Lofts, The Leonard, Foundry Square, Heritage Square Commons and Townhomes, NorthTown 794, Muskegon Convention Center, and Hartshorn Village & Marina.

Muskegon’s downtown is a great place to live, work, play – and invest. The city has a diverse mix of dining, shopping, and entertainment, world-class arts and culture, and a growing nightlife scene. In addition, the downtown district is home to Muskegon Museum of Art, Lakeshore Museum Center, Muskegon Heritage Museum, West Michigan Symphony, and Frauenthal Center.

Nearby Heritage Landing offers waterfront recreational amenities, along with serving as a cruise ship port and festival venue. The Muskegon Farmers Market and the Western Market chalets are popular draws for residents and visitors, and a variety of new businesses and restaurants continue to expand or open in adjacent blocks.

One of the Watermark’s neighbors, the popular Fatty Lumpkins Sandwich Shack, recently painted a mural to beautify a green space area across the street. Other neighboring attractions include the LST-393 Veterans Museum, Fricano’s Pizza, and Pigeon Hill Brewing Company.

Due to its size and location, the Watermark Center is well-positioned to continue the transformation across Shoreline Drive and take advantage of its proximity to Muskegon Lake, the Lakeside neighborhood, and Lake Michigan.

The city invested millions to reconstruct nearly a mile of Lakeshore Drive, which serves as a main corridor from downtown to Pere Marquette Beach and connects to West Western Avenue. The work will be completed this summer and includes streetscaping in the Lakeside Business District.

Don’t miss out on the chance to own this flourishing development in the heart of the Nims neighborhood, continue the next phase of revitalization, and leave your own mark on Muskegon! Contact Core Realty’s Troy Wasserman at (231) 750-9627 or Bryan Bench at (231) 578-2508 for your private showing.

Property in the press:

Huge partially-renovated Shaw-Walker factory for sale for $12M

Historic section of Shaw Walker Muskegon coming down

With demo complete, Watermark eyes residential, rec options

Watermark Center plans at old Shaw Walker topic of public hearing

Nearly $600 million in new development highlights Muskegon’s renaissance

Muskegon in the press:

Watch them go: Once nearly vacant and abandoned, downtown Muskegon finds new life

City approves plans for Muskegon Lake condos with marina access

10 developments leading downtown Muskegon’s renaissance

Downtown Muskegon develops in leaps and bounds in 2018

Downtown Muskegon Convention Center design plans unveiled

Prolific developer delayed investment in Muskegon for 20 years

Hometown developers plan for the future of downtown Muskegon

Smaller spaces, niche products move Muskegon’s retail sector forward

Incubating activity: Convention center, FARM incubator and projects add to Muskegon