Creekside Commons III

Green office park with extensive natural features and sustainable systems.

Creekside Commons is a 31-acre natural office park situated alongside the Portage Creek and Wetlands. 8175 Creekside features state of the art efficiency in its materials and systems and is set amongst wetlands, a retention pond, integrated greenbelts and numerous decks and benches from which office workers and visitors may enjoy the park's natural beauty.


8175 Creekside Drive, Portage, Michigan


Midwest Realty Group


Download Creekside Commons Profile PDF

SERF stands for a Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities. At SERF, we promote Practical Environmental StewardshipTM. We are a coalition of property owners, businesses and professionals certifying and promoting environmentally responsible homes and buildings. Creekside Commons Business Park, located in Portage, Mich., is a textbook example of Practical Environmental Stewardship.

We secured SERF certification for our office park in order to tell prospective tenants about all the sustainable features of our park and its buildings. What surprised, and thrilled, me was how popular our SERF Profile was with our employees and existing tenants.

Everyone wants to work in a green environment, and our people were very gratified to learn that they do!

Rick DeKam
President and Founder
Midwest Realty Group

SERF learned about this office campus when the developer requested a copy of our property scoring application for SERF certification. After some additional conversation with developer Rick DeKam, owner of Midwest Realty Group, we scheduled a property tour.

We observed the care that had been taken with the landscaping, the property’s unique setbacks, an unusual amount of green space and other non-traditional improvements to the park. What we learned from our visit was so compelling that we wanted to showcase the developer’s story and promote these practices for consideration by other developers.

The 32-acre subject property, acquired in 1998, was a densely wooded land tract on West Centre Avenue in the city of Portage, Mich., with approximately 1,200 feet of frontage along Portage Creek. This property was one of the last large commercially zoned tracts remaining on West Centre, but it posed a significant development challenge: Adrian muck at a depth of 12 feet across, equaling approximately two-thirds of the site.


Adrian muck is an unstable soil that needs to be removed and backfilled with sand or gravel before a property can be developed. Further investigation revealed that the property was used as a celery farm 100 years ago and still contained an extensive amount of subsurface drain tiles.

Due to the complexity of the existing soil conditions, the proximity to the recently restored Portage Creek and intense public interest in the reuse of the property, the developer assembled a diverse team to study and devise a plan that would be both economically feasible and environmentally sensitive. In addition to a civil engineer, the developer engaged an eco-minded independent landscape planner, a well-respected wetlands consultant and members of neighboring Western Michigan University’s biology and hydrology departments.

The resulting development plan included several remarkable solutions including:

  • Roughly 300,000 cubic yards of muck displaced on-site in barrow pits dug strategically along the property boundaries also used to mine sand for suitable foundation backfill
  • A large central sand pit developed as a common storm water basin for the entire park
  • Seven acres of wetlands were restored as a buffer and designed to protect the existing Portage Creek
  •  A condominium land division process used to further limit the size, setback and conceptual development lan of all future buildings within the development

The developer’s “Storm Water Reclamation System” diagram (below) illustrates how Creekside Commons’ storm water is collected, cleaned, stored, reused for park irrigation and managed to limit erosion and contamination of the adjacent Portage Creek.

While the grounds and common elements within Creekside Commons are the real story of Practical Environmental Stewardship™, the existing multiple-tenant buildings were also developed with a similar concern toward environmental sensitivity. They easily scored passing grades for SERF certification.

But the story didn’t end there. Rick DeKam and his team at Midwest Realty Group realized that, through the SERF scoring process, there were still a number of environmentally conscious improvements that could be made to his buildings.

These improvements are being implemented throughout the year at a reasonable cost and will further reduce the development’s impact on the surrounding environment.

Creekside Commons Business Park is a magnificent example of an environmentally sensitive corporate office campus:

  • Situated in nature, it sits adjacent to a restored wetland and cold water stream that supports a diverse range of wildlife.
  • The surrounding land features have been restored and enhanced, and are now utilized to better highlight the natural setting of the park.
  •  Creekside Commons’ tenants regularly comment on the natural surrounding as one of the development’s greatest selling points.

Creekside Commons exhibits environmental responsibility through efficient and sophisticated designs and a low impact development scheme, displaying thoughtful development standards for future business parks to emulate.

For more information about Creekside Commons Business Park, please contact Rick DeKam, CCIM, at Midwest Realty Group: 269-323-0717 or