Sale of Steelcase pyramid falls through

The Steelcase pyramid on East Paris Avenue SE. (Feb. 26, 2014)

CALEDONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — The group behind a proposed school at the iconic pyramid building once occupied by Steelcase Inc. says the deal is off.

Steelcase and the Pyramid Campus have parted ways as another company has come into the picture to purchase the iconic building.

Known by many as the Steelcase Pyramid, the property in southern Kent County has been on the market since late 2012.

For the past two years, Jerry Zandstra and his Pyramid Campus group have been working to get the building.

Pyramid Campus planned to transform the 663,000-square-foot building and the surrounding 181-acres into a hub for pre-K through university-level science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) learning.

One of the first plans involved Steelcase donating the building. In early 2014 Michigan lawmakers rejected a spending plan that would have given the project more than $5 million in startup money,

In late 2014, an agreement was reached to purchase the property. However, Steelcase Spokesperson Laura VanSlyke tells 24 Hour News 8 that an April deadline passed without the Pyramid Group meeting all its requirements under the deal.

She says Zandstra and his group pulled out, and Steelcase began to look at other options. Zandstra tells 24 Hour News 8 a purchase price was reached two and a half weeks ago, with a plan to close on June.

Zandstra says Steelcase backed out of the deal when another offer came in from a California company that was higher than his group’s price. Zandstra says he doesn’t know much about the new company; only that it is based in California and may have something to do with the real estate business. Both sides agree that the deal, at least right now, is off.

“We really did support their vision,” VanSlyke tells 24 Hour News 8.

“We’re heartbroken,” says Zandstra. “Steelcase has been a phenomenal partner for two years

The Pyramid Campus had tours for schools and other group scheduled for next week, and plans to begin the first classes in July. Those plans are now on hold.

Zandstra is still hopeful that public pressure will bring Steelcase and the Pyramid Campus back together.

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