Local Watering Spot Is Razed

October 14, 2004
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WYOMING — Wolverine Building Inc. and Hulk LLC have formed a construction and development team that soon will begin replacing an old bowling alley at 54th Street and Division Avenue with a retail center.

Now reduced to rubble is the 54th Street Lounge and Chez Ami Bowling Center, a property Hulk bought in August after enlisting Wolverine to work on a re-development plan.

Scott Weir, project manager for Wolverine, said, “We’ve discussed our intentions with the city of Wyoming’s planning department and they have indicated that this plan would be a welcome change to this area of the city.”

He explained that the proposed 48,000-square-foot retail center — planned for construction in spring 2005 — would have the capacity for eight to 10 retail outlets and one or two larger anchor tenants.

He said Commerce Realty and Management is currently representing the developer as leasing agent for the retail space and broker for the potential sale of the out-lots.

The site had been home to a variety of nightclub establishments over the years.

This is not the first re-development project on which the two firms have teamed up.

In August, Wolverine and Hulk completed construction and re-development of a 9,000-square-foot retail center at the site of what had been a branch bank at 5300 Eastern Ave. SE in Kentwood.

This site now houses a 5,000-square-foot Video Master store and three smaller retailers.

On its own, Wolverine also recently completed the addition of a BP Gas Station and Convenience Store to a stand-alone, tunnel carwash on Lloyd’s Bayou Street in Spring Lake.

Doing its own design work, Wolverine added the 1,000-square-foot convenience store to the car wash and reworked the entire site to accommodate a canopy and gas pumping equipment. Wolverine completed the construction in six weeks.

Weir, also the manager of that project, said, “A critical element to this project was coordinating with the petroleum contractor to compress the schedule so that the existing car wash was shut down for the shortest amount of time possible.”

The project, fittingly, came as Wolverine observed its 65th year of operations, a history that began with gas station construction.

Wolverine Building Inc. was born as Wolverine Tile Company in 1939. It specialized in the installation of porcelain panels for auto service centers. The company grew quickly and began constructing complete gas stations before becoming a full-service general contractor.

Since then it has evolved to become part of Wolverine Building Group, a construction company consisting of three divisions: Wolverine Building Inc., Wolverine Construction Management, and Fryling Construction Co.

Fryling was a separate firm founded in 1945 by Nicholas Fryling.

Its focus was commercial construction and it built shopping malls within a five-state area, later moving to multi-unit housing. The Wolverine companies acquired Fryling after its founder’s death in 1993.

Two years later, Mike Kelly and Richard VanderZyden took over Wolverine Building Group.

Kelly manages while VanderZyden oversees the Wolverine Construction Management and Fryling divisions.

Kelly and VanderZyden have been associated with the companies since the 1980s.

Each division has its own construction focus.

According to Kelly, the arrangement allows the group to work in nearly any segment of the construction industry from design-build work and general contracting to construction management, and from renovations to new construction. 

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