Crystal Springs Country Club Expanding

July 6, 2007
| By Pete Daly |
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GAINESTOWNSHIP — A new development will soon spring up at Crystal Springs County Club. Three West Michigan companies have announced plans to break ground next year on a $27 million development project at the golf club.

The development, which has received approval from the Gaines Township Board, will feature a mix of residential, retail and office buildings on the 760-acre golf community, plus a new clubhouse that will include an upscale restaurant, banquet facilities and athletic club. While some of the amenities will be restricted to golf club members, most of the development will be open to the public.

Rivertown Companies Inc., Dan Vos Construction Co. and Kwekel Companies will provide design, development, construction and marketing services for the CrystalSprings project.

"We are extremely pleased to announce this exciting new project, which will be the first major addition to CrystalSprings since we opened our doors in 1991," said Glenn Ver Murlen, president of Crystal Springs Country Club. "Our vision is to enhance our private country club facility while adding a mix of fine dining, community-friendly retail and other conveniences. We feel the project will benefit our members, the 750 homes that neighbor our club and the growing community of GainesTownship."

The new clubhouse will be a three-story, 63,000-square-foot structure that includes a restaurant and banquet facilities, indoor pool, health and fitness club and pro shop. It will also have a private lounge for club members only. The new facility will be located on the east side of

Kalamazoo Avenue SE
near
Crystal Springs Boulevard
, and the restaurant, banquet facilities and health club will be open to the public.

On the west side of

Kalamazoo Avenue
, on land currently owned by the golf course, there will be:

        A 6,000-square-foot, two-story retail and office building.

        A 3,000-square-foot, one-story retail and office building where there is currently an apartment house.

        A 26,000-square-foot, two-story retail and office building.

The renovated barn that now houses the restaurant, golf course offices and fitness center will be converted into 16 three-story "loft style" condos, according to project designer Jim DeVries of Rivertown Companies. The ground floor under each condo will be the garage, with living quarters on the three floors above.

Plans also call for development of 12 free-standing, ranch-style condos, featuring golf-course exposures and up to 3,200 square feet of living space, as well as two- and three-stall garages.

The club's existing pro shop on the west side of Kalamazoo Avenue will be renovated into a 3,500-square-foot, single-story office building, and a new maintenance facility will be built on the east side of Kalamazoo.

Ver Murlen said none of the new development will be on the actual golf course. Most of the new buildings will be on largely vacant property owned by the course — land that was originally planned for development when the Crystal Springs Country Club was established in 1989.

The course has 290 members, according to Ver Murlen; of those, 141 are charter members who own shares in the course.

Rated as one of the top 10 new courses the year it opened, CrystalSprings is a par 72, championship course that has been played by noteworthy golfers such as Arnold Palmer. The course boasts 18 championship holes with three sets of tees, so that golfers of all levels can play the course.

"Dan Vos Construction is gratified to be part of the development team for this tremendous project," said John DeBlaay, vice president and project executive.  "We feel that the new facilities will be complementary additions to Crystal Springs Country Club, which has been nationally recognized as one of Michigan's premier golf courses."

Rivertown Companies is the developer responsible for designing and building the residential condos as well as the three office buildings. DeVries, Rivertown's project designer at Crystal Springs Golf Course, said interest has already been seen in what he called the first West Michigan application of the loft concept in a country-club setting.

CrystalSprings is a unique location that will resonate with young professionals and empty nesters," DeVries said.  "The addition of upscale condos, in combination with the existing housing in the area, will make this an attractive destination for retailers, as well as office space. We plan to create a village effect, similar to what you would see in Vail or Aspen, that will offer a gracious mix of services."

Tim Kwekel, president and owner of Kwekel Companies, a commercial real estate firm, said his company has canvassed a four-state area and contacted some of the top privately held restaurants, banquet facilities and health clubs to determine their interest in locating at CrystalSprings  He said the area is attractive to these companies because of the strong demographics.  Household income averages more than $120,000 in a one-mile radius surrounding the country club, which already has more than 750 homes.

"Currently, there are few health club facilities in the Gaines Township area and certainly no banquet facilities that can accommodate 300 to 500 people," Kwekel said. "The pace of development at the Kalamazoo and M-6 interchange has attracted substantial attention. When we mention the location to prospects, there is immediate recognition and interest. It is very exciting."     

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