Builders Start Own New Home

March 5, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Home & Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids is naming its new $3.5 million building the Housing Center of West Michigan.

The association broke ground Monday on the new site at 1633 East Beltline Ave. NE. The three-story building will be located directly across East Beltline from Applebee’s.

It also will be in front of the Kent Career Technical Center.

The site seems appropriate since, according to the association, the center will have educational functions on its lower level.

The association’s executive vice president, Judy Barnes, said that the association wants the center “to be the first-stop location for potential new home-buyers, as well as for people considering remodeling projects.”

“We plan to have the information and product displays on all aspects of housing in order to make the process of building or remodeling much easier and more user friendly,” Barnes added.

She said the lower level will have a conference room that seats up to 208 people for general membership meetings, seminars and for home-buyers’ schools and remodelers’ schools.

The association advised that, when not committed to association uses, the conference center also would be available for rent to the public for occasions such as wedding receptions.

The structure’s middle level will showcase member products and services and will have a bookstore and lending library. The upper level will be where the association has its offices.

The start of construction of the 16,000-square-foot structure comes after some months of a fund-raising project that has reached $750,000 in donated materials, services and cash.

Roger Krahn, of Monighan and Associates, has been advising the 50-member campaign cabinet, which is working to raise the remaining $2.6 million needed to pay for the building.

John Estabrook, the fund drive chairman, said the association’s board set the sum as a trigger point to break ground “in order to be good stewards of the association’s resources.” Estabrook is with Pella Windows and Doors by Horne.

At the urging of the association’s president, Brian Bosgraaf, of Cottage Home Inc., a good many members of the association brought their own shovels to assist in the groundbreaking.

“This is their organization, and their support has made this building possible,” he said.

The Architectural Group designed the red brick structure with green glass accents. Members say the design’s exterior pillars will give the building a stately appearance.

Those pillars will have internal reflections, pillars that frame the three-story atrium surmounted by a green glass skylight.

Of the 1,250 member companies of the association, 500 are building companies.

The other 750 are associate members that are suppliers to the home-building and light commercial industries.

The project’s construction manager is C. D. Barnes Associates Inc.

Construction is expected to take about a year.

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