Green Is Going Up

October 6, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — John Green recently decided to leave Second Story Properties after six years of helping to create some of the city’s most noteworthy commercial and residential projects with the company’s president, Sam Cummings.

Green, who was an executive vice president at the firm, got the urge to go it alone and started his own development company late last month called Elevation Group.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity. I really enjoyed working with Sam and wouldn’t have this opportunity if it wasn’t for him. But I reached a point where it was time to move on and do my own thing,” he told the Business Journal.

Elevation Group is anchored on the third floor of the Ledyard Building at 125 Ottawa Ave. NW and is now in full operation. And even though Green has moved his business office from the Second Story Ionia Avenue site to the new location, Green said his professional concentration remains the same: to develop projects downtown and in the neighborhoods near the urban core.

“I do that with a specific focus on the renovation of historic buildings for the purposes of residential rental, as well as condominium, retail and offices,” he said.

“I believe in investing in what you know and the downtown market is something that I’m very comfortable with, and there continues to be numerous opportunities out there that I want to be involved in.”

Green has been involved in close to a dozen key projects in the past six years. A few of these include the transformation of the former downtown YMCA into the 45-unit residential structure known as The Fitzgerald, the office address called the Goodspeed Building at 190 Monroe Ave. NW and the Corl & Knott office building at 25 Commerce Ave. SW. He also was part of the group that bought the Brass Works office building at 648 Monroe Ave. NW. The Hillmount, Fairmount Square and Gallery buildings are on his resume.

Green said he is working on a few projects now, but added it is too early in the process to identify them. And despite all the new construction and renovation work that has gone on — and still is going on — in the urban core, Green thought there was more to be done, because key philanthropic individuals in the city want more to get done, so they will invest more in the coming years. He also felt a new breed of developers will soon be making their marks here.

“There is a new group of younger developers that are starting to come into the city and are seeing the potential. I want to be part of that progress and keep it going. It’s not my tagline, but my goal is to continue working to take the city to the next elevation.”

Green said the word “elevation” carries with it a big-picture connotation, and it affirms that he sees the city from a macro, rather than micro, level while he tries to decide in which direction the city will be going over the next few decades. And it’s a lofty view that Green feels very comfortable with.

“I think one of the areas that I truly enjoy is playing the visionary and looking out ahead to see what is next for Grand Rapids,” he said.

“There have been a lot of loft-style developments throughout the city. I believe it’s time for a change and want to bring other options to the market.”

Green said he can see Elevation Group becoming a leader in creative planning and innovative design. At the same time, he said he would stick with a business model that promotes the past through preservation but also keeps a keen eye on what the future may bring.

“The industry has allowed me to be creative. With every project, I have the chance to be a problem solver and design unique solutions,” said Green. “Through Elevation Group, I want to continue that creative approach.”    

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