Phoenix Building is LEED Gold

Bazzani Associates and Eastown Phoenix, LLC are proud to announce the property at 1500 Wealthy Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI has achieved LEED-Gold certification!

This Mixed-Use, Urban Infill project replaced a two-story building which was destroyed by a natural gas explosion and fire.  The new building is constructed using insulated concrete forms with steel, bar joist and concrete floor systems – especially appropriate for a site with this history!  Construction operations were challenging as the building covered 95% of the available land in Eastown’s active commercial district.

The first floor commercial tenants are All City Kicks, a hip shoe and clothing store, and PT-360 who are excellent Physical Therapists focused on athletes.   The second floor has three, two-bedroom, two-bath apartments with energy efficient appliances including washer and dryers in each unit.  All tenants will experience 40% lower utility costs than comparable properties.

We are grateful to all who helped us achieve LEED Gold certification and bring this project to fruition during difficult economic times.

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The Eyes Have It

Eyeliner defines the shape of the eye and the same is true for window frames.  Like a woman’s eyeliner (and many rock stars), the dark line defines the space.  The contrast makes it pop.  The excited responses from neighbors regarding the dark window frames at the Kingsley Building are a good example.  Glass will be installed in the first week of November and you will be able to see deep into the building.  Sharp storefronts draw attention and that’s a good thing for our retailers.

If you have been driving by the Kingsley Building you may have noticed that our historical exterior renovation is almost complete.  We are grabbing every good day we can and working against Mother Nature’s good weather deadline.  You may have also noticed the sidewalk torn up.  We are changing the sidewalk height so that each entry area is ADA accessible.  Having a walkable neighborhood means we also need to have an accessible neighborhood.

Our first tenants include Allegro Coaching on Robinson Rd. and Icapsa Books on Lake Drive.  We are also in negotiations with a few other retailers and a restaurant.  Look for the first businesses to open at the first of the year.

It’s About Time for Single-Family Housing Inspections!

As published in the Grand Rapids Press on October 8, 2011.

As landlord, investor, and property developer in Grand Rapids for more than thirty years, I am pleased to see a proposal for single-family rental inspections in Grand Rapids.  This policy will support the work of many residents and organizations that have restored the neighborhoods of our city.  I strongly feel that these are the right policies at the right time.

Certifying single-family rental units is smart idea for the following reasons:

First, quality housing is not only good for tenants, but good for the neighborhood.  The argument that this policy will make housing less affordable, put landlords out of business, and cause more foreclosure is not data-based.  Quality housing lowers vacancy rates and enhances the stability of neighborhoods.  The proposed inspection fee averages to $5.50 a month.  If this fee is unaffordable to any landlord they are in the wrong business.  If a property requires extensive work to bring it into compliance, then this policy is fulfilling its goal.

Second, it is clear to me that certifying single-family rental units will create equity in the market.  Why should my multi-unit properties be subject to inspection and not the single-family rental next door?  Everyone should adhere to the same standards.  Kentwood and Wyoming already have similar ordinances.  We need to end the special exemptions for single-family rental units in Grand Rapids in order to protect our citizens from unscrupulous landlords that take advantage of this loophole.

Lastly, these policies support the preservation and improvement of our neighborhoods.  Quality housing is an essential part of a neighborhood’s success.  This policy has been needed for decades, but due to the dramatic increase in single-family rental units in the last three years, this ordinance will support neighborhoods that have seen foreclosures threaten their stability.  A strong housing stock maintains property values, improves quality of life, and makes our neighborhoods attractive to young professionals – which then support the City of Grand Rapids.

The paradox of the Rental Property Owners Association’s (ROPA) argument opposing the ordinance is that they repeatedly state that there are good landlords maintaining their properties (I would consider myself one), but the main reason not to enact these policies is the inspections are too costly or it will cost them too much to bring it up to code.  That does not make sense.

Some rental property owners have advised me to invest in single-family rentals so that I can stay “under the radar” of the inspections department.  This is counter to those who wish to maintain a quality housing stock in Grand Rapids.  A basic standard for rental housing that protects the health and safety of our citizens is essential for a vibrant and thriving community.

City staff, local agencies and charitable organizations have worked diligently to produce new ordinances that reflect our current reality and they deserve to be commended.  For the RPOA to call these concerned citizens a “special interest group” is laughable!

The City Commission needs to enact this ordinance ASAP in order to keep Grand Rapids on its path to sustainability.

Time Well Spent

Many people have been asking regarding the Kingsley Building “when will it be done?” Not to be coy but as the title suggests, it takes time. We have been grinding, repairing, molding, replacing, pouring concrete, moving utilities and so much more.
Since we are doing an historical exterior restoration, we are following higher standards and that means more time. Our crews have been working steadily on both the exterior restoration and when the weather is not cooperating on interior work. In the end it will be time well spent.

Around mid-October the new glazing and doorways will begin to be installed. This will bring us much closer to our finished look. We have come a long way in just five short months. Once the building is buttoned up we will finish completion of our first tenant suites.

Get It While It’s Hot

Bazzani Associates is proud to announce we have signed our second tenant for the Kingsley Building project. Our first tenant is a great new bookstore and they will be located on the Lake Drive side of the building. Our newest addition is a fabulous personal trainer who will be working out in a Robinson Rd. suite. We are very excited to add these businesses to the Eastown mix in this mixed-use building.

We are bringing more and more interested businesses through every week to see this fabulous space. Our first tenants will be open for business around the first of the year. We can’t wait.

Recycling for Dollars

Today, Local First and the City of Grand Rapids launched MyGRCityPoints.com.  This is the first public/private partnership created solely to promote single-stream recycling in our City.  Reward points are issued to residents as an incentive to recycle.  These points can be redeemed at over 60 local businesses that have signed up to redeem the points.

What is of particular interest to me is the entire points program was created in Grand Rapids.  Local First worked with the City to assure the program was created by local businesses.  The software was designed at Atomic Object on Wealthy Street.  The Image Shoppe on Diamond along with Clark Communications handled the promotion of the program.  Local First community businesses will redeem the points at convenient locations all over town.

To begin earning your points, log on to mygrcitypoints.com and create your account.  Take the number off of your single-stream recycling cart and include your address.  You will begin earning points every time you take your bin to the curb on your designated recycling pickup day.

Now you can make a positive impact on the environment through increased recycling, earn points to exchange for goods and services and enhance your community businesses.  A triple bottom line win – win – win!

Treasure Hunting in Eastown

Opening a historical building can sometimes make you feel like Indiana Jones on an archeological treasure hunt.  Historical restoration work is lot like exploring distant lands.  You have a general direction you are going, you have a plan and you aren’t sure what you will find until you get there.

After months of careful preliminary exploration, site surveys, planning and more planning we have begun our expedition of the Kingsley Building.  Our journey will begin on the Southeast corner of the building at Lake Drive and Genessee.

Our plan calls for us to follow a Westerly route along Lake Drive, and we will complete our journey on the North side/Robinson Rd. elevation.

From our initial project announcement it seems that most people are now aware that a five-story building exists in Eastown at the corner of Lake Dr. and Robinson Rd.  The mists of time that have obscured this Eastown treasure should clear out in the next few months as the original building facade is once again exposed.

We have decided to shoot both video and stills as we go along with our exploration. We will post them from time to time to give our friends a view of what happens behind the scenes.  It should make for an interesting show.