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.
I have been out and about with several groups over the past few weeks telling them about a new Bazzani Associates project and I get these blank stares when I mention the project location. Apparently it’s much easier to hide a 5-story building than I thought. How can the only 5-story building located for 84 years in a neighborhood not be seen? Well an Illusionist will tell you the best place to hide something is in plain sight. Apparently so!
Bazzani Associates have been hired by the owner group to re-develop and lease the retail units on the first floor of 1415 Lake Dr., at the corner of Robinson Rd.
Erected in 1927, the Kingsley Building is the former headquarters of Zondervan Corp. and has been used for paper and document storage for the past 15 plus years.
Zondervan Corp. enclosed the first floor elevation in 1954 when they purchased the property from the original owners, Grand Rapids Storage Co. So, for the better part of two generations the general public has not seen the first floor exterior of this art deco gem. For almost 60 years the Kingsley Building has just been a 5-story blond colored wall that thousands of cars would pass daily. It blended into the background. Seen but not seen. In a few short months, this building will be rediscovered.
Over the next months Bazzani Associates will carefully open and restore the first floor. More than 14,000 SF of new retail space will be available in Eastown. People will be able to see original features like the plate glaze terra cotta tile, large display windows, the original transom windows over the doors, 16-foot ceilings and many more unique features. We are very excited about bringing this building back to its original, historical look. Stay posted for more updates as we proceed forward.