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American Seating announces move to GR’s southside

Posted By: on July 19, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

American Seating is one of those iconic names in Grand Rapids’ West Side manufacturing history. From concert halls to church pews to theaters, they did it all back in the day.

“We’ve been there in that very location 137 years. So there’s a lot of history, a lot of legacy there,” said American Seating Marketing boss Doug Oswald.

But the West Side is losing a little piece of history, as American Seating has announced they’re moving. The good news is the 137-year-old company is staying in Grand Rapids and will move into a renovated facility for its next generation of seat making.

Work is already underway on renovating the 210,000-square-foot headquarters and factory site on 40th near Eastern and 44th Street. Seven miles north and west sits the current headquarters and factory on Broadway between 7th and 11th Streets. But with the office on one block and the factory a long walk across the parking lot, there’s not a lot of opportunity for collaboration.

That will change with the company’s move to $8.6 million facility on the south side of town.

“The offices will be two stories. But it will be in close proximity to the factory production so that we can be efficient and accomplish what we need to,” said Oswald.

While the decision to move was an easy one, finding a place to move to wasn’t, especially with the company determined to stay in the city limits.

“That was a real challenge, especially with our goal to stay in Grand Rapids,” said Oswald.

“There’s very little green spaces available to create a new manufacturing location, and this kind of came up. We had other ideas but when this came up, we really went after it.”

While the company’s seating can be found all over, including many popular sports venues, these days, if you ride a train, trolley or city bus, there’s a good chance American Seating has built the place to park your seat. Transportation seating products have become the company’s stock and trade in the last few years. And business is good — the company is projecting big additions to its workforce in the near future.

“Having a new facility and new environment and so on will also add to our attraction for labor in general,” said Oswald.

As for the West Side site, American Seating will still own it. A local IT company is already set to take over part of the office building. The factory will remain up and running until American Seating has transferred everything to the new site, a process set to start at the end of the year.

“That West Side location has become more retail, residential. And really just not conducive to manufacturing,” said Oswald.

“We’re going to maintain that property and continue to work with the city and other influencers to make sure the right buyer ultimately goes in there. “

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