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Eastown's Kingsley Building makes National Register of Historic Places

January 9, 2013
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Eastown's Kingsley Building makes National Register of Historic Places
The Kingsley Building was built in 1926 and is an Eastown landmark. Image via fb.com

Seven historic Michigan sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, including the Grand Rapids Storage and Van Company Building in Eastown, currently known as the Kingsley Building.

Located at 1415 Lake Drive SE, the 1926 building was designed by Chicago architect George S. Kingsley and was built by Grand Rapids-based John McNabb & Sons. The architecture is considered Gothic inspired and the building is unique, in part, because of the use of terra cotta.

The five-story building contains approximately 87,000 square feet of space. Grand Rapids developer Bazzani Associates and Ada-based Dixon Architecture began a mixed-use restoration of the building in 2011, and farm-to-table restaurant Trillium Haven is among the current tenants.

Kingsley was a well-known architect of warehouse storage facilities during the 20th century. The building is part of a full body of work he created during his extensive and prolific career.

The building is also significant, because of the businesses it has served over its lifetime. First, as home to the Grand Rapids Storage and Van Co., which used it for storage of household goods. The company and the building were a result of a national growth of the warehousing industry.

Zondervan Publishing Co. used the building for many years, as it became a national leader in Christian publishing.

The use of terra cotta building material was popular during the time of the building’s construction. The Northwestern Terra Cotta Co. created the terra cotta design. It was the leading company in terra cotta production during that period, and the company's drawings for the building are included in the National Building Museum's Northwestern Terra Cotta Company Collection.

"Listing in the National Register of Historic Places achieves a level of recognition that is important to property owners and communities," said State Historic Preservation Office Officer Brian Conway. "The designation of these properties and districts provides public recognition of their historic and architectural distinction and also opportunities for property owners to use federal historic preservation tax credits for rehabilitating the income-producing buildings. The preservation of historic buildings preserves community identity. By rehabilitating and re-using these structures, we contribute to economic growth without destroying what makes each community unique."

Michigan has more than 1,600 listings in the National Register of Historic Places, including some 250 districts made up of more than 20,000 properties. The State Historic Preservation Review Board considers nominations to the register three times per year.

Kingsley Building
Developer Bazzani Associates and Dixon Architecture began a mixed-use restoration of the Kingsley Building in 2011. Photo via fb.com

Additionally, the Grand Circus Park Historic District designation in Detroit has been updated to take note of buildings built or renovated after 1930 and down to 50 years ago, 1962, according to the State Historic Preservation Office. The update will make available to property owners in the district the federal rehabilitation tax credits now available to the owners of earlier buildings dating from prior to 1930, thus encouraging the preservation of structures representing significant modern design.

The Michigan locations added to the National Register of Historic Places are below:

  • Grand Rapids Storage and Van Company Building, Kent County
  • Bay City’s Center Avenue Neighborhood Historic District in Bay County
  • Upper Twin Falls Bridge over the Menominee River in Dickinson County
  • Williamston Downtown Historic District in Ingham County
  • Hanover High School Complex in Jackson County
  • Benjamin and Maria (Ogden) Drake Farmstead at 927 N. Drake Road in Oshtemo Township in Kalamazoo County
  • Boyne City Central Historic District in Charlevoix County

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