About Me

Jonathan Rooks has spent his entire real estate career as the founder of Parkland Properties. The company's mission "is to excel at marketing urban and waterfront real estate as they transform into dynamic properties distinguishable by their unique function, value, and style – stimulating an improved quality of life and economic vitality in the surrounding community."

Parkland Properties' goals for its first five years included marketing and selling about 100 acres of condos, home sites, and boat slips in the city of Montague. He completed that goal, and the marina/boat slip he developed became a catalyst for the city's redevelopment.

He was named the U.S. Small Business Administration's Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 1993.

He bought his first Renaissance Zone property in 2002, which became his personal residence. The Renaissance Zone program is a collaboration between Michigan, the city of Detroit, and Wayne County to encourage development in certain zones. The program provides tax exemptions from city income and utility taxes, most city property taxes, county property taxes, and state income or business taxes.

Rooks later became a significant force behind the creation of more than 800 condos in downtown Grand Rapids, including Boardwalk Condos, Grand Rapids at Cityview Condos, Monroe Terrace, and Union Square Condos. The condos were created from a former factory, high school, and office building and sold out quickly.

Marketing efforts for both the Boardwalk Condos and Union Square Condos netted him an Addy Award. The Union Square project also received the Gerald R. Helmholdt Grand Award in 2007. The Helmholdt Grand Award is the city's Grand Prize for Real Estate Development and is presented by the Neighborhood Business Alliance. The Boardwalk project won the Governor's Historic Preservation Award and the Neighborhood Business Award. In 2007, Parkland Properties was also nominated for Business of the Year.

In 2012, the Grand Rapids Business Journal gave Rooks the 2012 Redevelopment of the Year Award for his redevelopment work in the city. The mayor nominated Rooks for that award after the development of the Boardwalk. He says Parkland Properties' renovations helped to grow a stable platform from which business could thrive.

Rooks also won the Real Estate Excellence Award presented by the University of Michigan and the Urban Land Institute Real Estate Forum in 2012. He won the award based on his lifetime achievements, his record of redevelopment projects, and his innovations in redevelopment.

Redevelopment in Muskegon

Jonathan Rooks has also begun redevelopment work in Muskegon, about 40 minutes from Grand Rapids. He started his redevelopment work there because it fulfilled Parkland Properties' mission of redevelopment along Lake Michigan and was within an hour of Grand Rapids.

The Muskegon Chamber of Commerce named Rooks Muskegon's Outstanding Entrepreneur in 2015 for his redevelopment work in Muskegon.

Rooks is currently leading another condo redevelopment project in downtown Muskegon, known as HighPoint Flats. Rooks is developing the condos from a historic bank building. He is also developing home sites on Terrace Point Peninsula on Muskegon Lake and two hotels in downtown Muskegon.

Personal Life

Jonathan Rooks, a Grand Rapids native, enjoys living on West Michigan's Gold Coast. His hobbies include boating and finding old buildings and new architecture to stimulate creative real estate ideas. He also likes to travel overseas.

Community Giving

He is also a philanthropist with a particular interest in encouraging business innovation. He bought and donated the former Masonic Temple in downtown Muskegon to Muskegon Community College in 2015. The college offers an Entrepreneurial Associate in Applied Science degree. Rooks also encouraged his friend, Nick Sarnicola, to donate to create a program to give an annual $10,000 cash award for the best business idea generated by a graduate of the MCC entrepreneurial program. The temple, appraised at $350,000 before redevelopment, will house the Rooks Sarnicola Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. The 23,790-square-foot structure was built in 1948 and is located adjacent to MCC's new Downtown Center.


Jonathan Rooks Portfolio