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GR’s West-Side Welcomes New Animals to The John Ball Zoo

By mike / April 1, 2019 / 0 Comments

Since 1890, the John Ball Zoo has served as the foremost center for animal conservation and exploration in Grand Rapids. With the awakening of Spring comes the seasonal re-opening, and kids and parents of all ages are eagerly awaiting the chance to see some recent animal additions to the exhibits. According to a WOODTV-8 article, a Six-banded armadillo is one of the newest animals to call John Ball Zoo ‘home’ . This mammal is native to South America and is iconic for its ability to curl itself into a ball when sensing a threat or predator. Another highly anticipated animal to make its debut to The John Ball Zoo is a Giant Pacific Octopus. In the wild Giant Pacific Octopi can measure up to 16 feet across and can weigh up to 110 lbs (about 30 lbs on average). This ocean predator will mystify you with its beauty and sheer intelligence, displaying detailed memory and acute vision. Wyatt the Red Panda has been a crowd favorite since his unveiling in August of 2017. Dazzling viewers with his bright red tail and stripes he wows visitors with his speed and playfulness.  This year, zookeepers will be tasked with playing ‘matchmaker’ as they…

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Top Eats of Grand Rapids’ West-Side

By mike / March 14, 2019 / 0 Comments

Grand Rapidians have experienced an explosion of culinary gems over recent years. By mixing culinary cultures and creative tastes have breathed new life to the creation of many mouth-watering plates across our city. A recent Thrillist article named Grand Rapids the “Finest Place to Dine” in all of Michigan, and here are a few of our personal top picks! (in no particular order) 1. Butcher’s Union Opened in late 2016 and standing as an instant staple to the Grand Rapids’ West Side, Butcher’s Union offers a unique blend of food and cocktails with a focus on quality meat pairings. With available curbside, in-house, and courtyard seating, Butcher’s Union will leave you with an appreciation for Grand Rapids all within a comfortable up-scaled atmosphere. Stop by on Whiskey Vault Wednesday to enjoy a pairing of top-notch whiskey paired with an amazing meal. Must Try: The Smoked Salmon Banh Mi: cold pecan smoked Faroe Island salmon, pickled red onion, crunchy slaw, cilantro, jalapeno, aioli, sweet & spicy sauce, grilled Field & Fire sourdough   2. Jolly Pumpkin Right down the street from Butchers Union you will find the Jolly Pumpkin. This new-age pizzeria has gained popularity across the State of Michigan only…

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Exploring the Meyer May House

By mike / March 11, 2019 / 0 Comments

One of the best times of year to get out of your house and explore Grand Rapids is in the Spring. As leaves begin to sprout and flowers bloom, we are reminded of the historic and significant architecture that our wonderful city has to offer. Touring the Meyer May House in the historic Heritage Hill Neighborhood is just one of the activities that should be on your to-do list this Spring. Originally designed by Frank Loyd Wright in 1908 and commissioned by Meyer S. May, this home stands in stark contrast to the Victorian design popularized during the same time period. Making use of prairie style aesthetics and broad design lines, the home played an integral role in revolutionizing modern home design standards for today. House Restoration In 1985, the Meyer May House was purchased by Steelcase furniture company with the aim of restoring the house to its original glory. Opening to the public in 1987, the home underwent a significant amount of detailed upgrades including the repairing of over 100 windows, the reconstruction of the original style roof, and the reopening of the previously closed off veranda. Walking the grounds, be sure to note Wright’s use of the broad…

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10 Spring Updates Under $100

By mike / February 20, 2019 / 0 Comments

As the snow starts to melt and we see the sidewalks again, we are reminded that Spring is fast upon us. Whether you are fixing up your home to sell, or just looking to refresh your home for this upcoming Spring, now is the best time to tackle some easy and inexpensive DIY projects on your to-do list. Here are our top ten easy home improvements that can both “up” your curb appeal and refresh your interior design for under $100! 1.) Build a Fire Pit : Do you have some extra bricks from a previous home update? Maybe you’re looking to make your back yard the perfect place for friends and family to hang out? Then consider creating an easy brick fire pit. No mortar or concrete needed, but with a simple arrangement of bricks, your fire pit will be up and running in no time at all. 2.) Update or Replace your Mailbox: You pass by your mailbox every day, but probably don’t pay much attention to its appearance or age. A lot of homes have similar looking “cookie-cutter” mailboxes, but by spending a little money and TLC you can purchase a brand new mailbox to set your…

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First-Time Homebuyers Choose Grand Rapids!

By mike / February 11, 2019 / 0 Comments

Grand Rapids was recently named the second hottest market for Millennials in 2019; according to a meta-analysis conducted by realtor.com. Market conditions and various other regional factors have developed Grand Rapids into one of the most desirable areas in the United States for first-time homebuyers, and young adults are taking note. To local West Michiganders, the spoils of Grand Rapids often go overlooked when faced with the unpredictable weather of winter and the fast pace of everyday life. However, when realtor.com reviewed the top US metro cities for 2019 a number of positive factors about Grand Rapids shone on a national scale including, school districts, median home sale, and home sales growth. Projections for 2019 place the median price of Grand Rapids home at $187,319, which is significantly lower than the national median home price of $260,290. Keeping Millenials in mind, the opportunity to save over $72,000 on a given house’s sale combined with a projected 4% increase in home sales through 2019, has made ideal conditions for buyers looking to invest in their first home. Choosing a school district to live within seems to be a consideration that often takes a bit of time and deliberation. Luckily, Grand Rapids…

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Ferris Coffee Moves to the West Side

By mike / January 14, 2019 / 0 Comments

Grand Rapids’ West Side has witnessed a significant spike in both development and population. One of the newest habitants of this growing neighborhood is Ferris Coffee & Nut Co., who recently relocated their headquarters to the American Seating Park. Since 1924, Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. has been a treat for Grand Rapids natives and coffee enthusiasts around the world; With bold brews, sustainable sourcing methods, and a mere endless variety of exotic blends, Ferris has gained notoriety as a true West Michigan staple. Their newly renovated location is nestled comfortably at 839 Seward Ave. NW, and is less than one mile north of their previous headquarters of 227 Winter Ave NW. Currently employing about 125 people, and sitting at 150,000 square feet, their Seward Ave. facility is fully operational and double the size of their Winter Ave. location. In an interview with The Grand Rapids Business Journal, David Van Tongeren, Vice President of Talent and Resources Strategy for Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. explained the positive impact the move has had on the company and employees, “We wanted to bring our entire team under one roof and find a spot that was more conducive to manufacturing.” The move marks…

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Monday Market Update for December 10th-16th 2018

By SteveVolkers / December 13, 2018 / 0 Comments

  In this update find out if contingent offers are making a come-back. If you can really buy a brand new home for less than $200k (Thanks Trevor Duffy at Allen Edwin Homes). Be sure to stay tuned to the end for a special thanks to Ryan Gardner and Katie Gardner at Northpointe Bank.

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2019 Economic Forecast – Associated Builders and Contrators

By SteveVolkers / December 13, 2018 / 0 Comments

  Steve attended the ABC of Western Michigan 2019 Economic Forecast where Mr. Anirban Basu, Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group, Inc., an economic and policy consulting firm headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, spoke about the economic outlook for contractors and builders in the coming year. Steve reviews some key points of the forecast and gives his take on the Grand Rapids real estate market in 2019.

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Why now is a great time to buy

By SteveVolkers / November 30, 2018 / 0 Comments

  Every year I tell my buyers that the holiday months and June are great times to buy for those looking in competitive price points, and every year my buyers (most of them) wait until March 1st to start looking. Every year, those Spring buyers put in multiple offers, usually above ask, and sometimes waiving inspections and/or appraisal contingencies. They often spend more than homes are appraised for and put a lot of energy and heartache into the home search. While I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and ends up the way it should, I do wish my buyers would consider looking in the Winter and middle Summer months. During these months there are typically fewer buyers out looking, meaning less competition. Also, Sellers tend to be motivated if they are selling during the holidays. Right now there are 265 homes listed in Kent County in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range. 234 of them have been listed for 10 days or more. I’ve found that when a home has been listed for more than 10 days it can give you room to negotiate and possibly get the seller to pay your closing costs. If you find…

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Expanding and Improving the Belknap Neighborhood

By mike / November 28, 2018 / 0 Comments

The Belknap neighborhood sits high atop the northeast side of the city and provides one of the more picturesque views of Grand Rapids. This area is home to a vibrant community filled with history and the growth of modern architectural appeal. With plenty of green space including Belknap Park, Lookout Park, and Coit Park, this part of town offers space to both relax and play. Recent years have witnessed a spike in Belknap condo and home developments, offering high-end and spacious living arrangements for couples and families alike. Despite having immediate access to Grand Rapids’ downtown, your experience in the Belknap neighborhood will give you the unique calmness that other parts of town could be missing. New Development Announced for Belknap In the Summer of 2018 plans for the further improvement of the Belknap neighborhood was announced in the form of a new affordable housing development headed by Third Coast Development and PK Housing & Management. This endeavor is a part of a continuing effort to advocate reasonably priced housing for a growing downtown population. South of Trowbridge Road, and between Prospect and Lafayette, this project will include a total of 50 units and sit just a stone’s throw away…

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