ICCF Getting New Home

October 22, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — The project will bring an unprecedented number of new houses to the Fairmount Square Historic District for the first time in decades, possibly a half-century, and will provide one of the city’s most revered organizations with a new home.

Second Story Properties and Guy Bazzani & Associates are teaming up to build 53 new urban townhouses in a traditional neighborhood style on four acres of property just off Cherry Street on the city’s southeast side.

At the same time, the Inner City Christian Federation and Rockford Construction will renovate the former D.A. Blodgett Children’s Home at 920 Cherry St. SE and turn the 45,000-square-foot, four-story neo-classic structure into the new ICCF headquarters.

Second Story, Bazzani and ICCF bought the Blodgett building and property from Vision Corp., like ICCF a nonprofit organization, and closed on the transaction about two weeks ago.

ICCF, which provides low-income residents with homeownership opportunities, and Rockford Construction, a division of Rockford Companies, will raze the 1950 additions that were made to the structure and restore the original building that opened in 1908.

Second Story and Bazzani & Associates will construct the townhouses on the land adjacent to the Blodgett house. Each will have about 1,500 square feet of living space and carry a price tag that will range from $125,000 to $195,000.

“Up until now, in order to live in one of these cool traditional neighborhoods within an easy walk to a great number of services, you had to be an old-house person because this was the only option you had,” said Sam Cummings, president of Second Story Properties.

“We have estimated there are a host of people in this demographic who want to live in a traditional neighborhood and be close to all those things that may not be old-house people,” he added.

Many of the homes in Fairmount Square are a century old and older, and may be bigger, at roughly an average of 2,500 square feet, than some people would like.

“As for myself, I love the opportunity to care for historic real estate. It’s written all over me,” said Cummings. “But we recognize that not everybody is that way. So what we intend to do is offer them an alternative in a traditional neighborhood with a market rate that will be reasonably affordable.”

Construction on the townhouses is expected to get underway within six months. Retail space is also part of the development plan.    

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