terra firma

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About terra firma

  • Rank
    Whistle-Stop
  • Birthday 03/28/1967

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  • Website URL
    http://www.terrafirmaprop.com
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Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Grand Rapids, MI USA
  • Interests
    Real Estate development and investment, industrial -- office --- retail

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  1. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Article about Wealthy Street in MiBiz: https://mibiz.com/item/26160-wealthy-street-corridor-emerges-as-‘jewel’-of-gr-real-estate-market
  2. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    GRDad--- I consult with industry pro's on every project and generally stay out of the way on overall design--- I'm no designer or architect -- and perhaps x99 is God's gift to urban revitalization but his know-it-all style sucks and I dont care for the insulting nature of his words. OK--- enough on that. I'll move along now. Thanks for your interest.
  3. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    I had a long, lengthy, and overly academic explanation typed up That seems to be your style... As a developer, I don't expect you to know any of this, Yes, developers don't know what basic architectural fundamentals are. Obviously. When we go to developer school, they teach us to ignore these principles. unless you're also a historic preservation aficionado. Yes, I have a few historic preservation projects in my past. . You want traditional you call Dixon Architects in Ada, Finally we agree on something. I've done numerous historic renovation projects with Ken Dixon. For various reasons, I used Metz on this one and I could not be more impressed by their ability to help me "get away with" this design, per your earlier comment. They really are great to work with--- I'd say the same about Dixon of course. Both firms are awesome, for different reasons. Have you ever worked with either on any of your projects ? Next time around, don't be afraid to try something like that. Next time around, it sounds like I should just call you for permission on whatever I'm thinking about, since developers aren't "expected to know any of this" and such. Some of us are busy doing projects, others are busy 'instructing' from keyboards on the internet. The styling of this building reflects what we wanted, what the community said they wanted, what our architects designed, and what the HPC could / would approve. I'm pretty surprised the HPC didn't call you to ask what you thought !
  4. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    there’s always the argument that ‘enough money’ can fix it— but not here. this building was bad even before the fire. and since that time, much of the upper floor found its way downstairs, it is dangerous to walk through and cannot and should not be saved— one guy’s opinion here but with a bit of experience. a new 2-story retail down / office up or residential upstairs is the obvious answer.. I am nominating X99 and GRdadof3 !
  5. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Hi Joe---thanks for your kind words... you've been around here many years so your opinion matters a lot, same for GRdad and many others here. We will continue our mission of trying to secure street-level retail, local business Tenants. We said no to a bunch with our previous buildings in that area--- chains, big cell phone shops with all their neon lights and stuff. We really want the same thing that (what I perceive as) everyone here wants to see. We are having conversations with boutique style clothing shops, local food operators some quasi-retail-office users, a residential design studio.... we have nobody secured it's purely a 'take the risk' scenario and we hope it'll be leased before we're done building it. I'm pretty busy with some industrial projects (easier, less drama, better returns, etc) so Andy will again be running this job along with architect Greg Metz and with McGraw Construction, it really is a dream team and as much as I like my industrial buildings its super fun to see these neighborhood projects and what they do as well. Very exciting. Who's got a vision for the Wild Bunch project ? Who's gonna buy that and do something cool ? What about 710 Wealthy ? These seem to be the glaring issues in the 'hood at the moment, at least to me... love to see the progress, and anxious to see what Paul Lee has up his sleeve here fairly soon as well -- as the pioneer of this neighborhood 10+ years ago, we need to support him too, we hear he's got some really cool ideas coming up ! thanks for your interest. eric wynsma, terra firma development llc
  6. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Pretty tough crowd around here---- for the record, the buildings we've done in that neighborhood recently had been for sale a long time...... some of you guys shoulda bought them and done it *your way*. Lots of armchair developers around here. The design brief called for maximizing square footage, without need for any variances under the zoning code, with some off-street parking as outlined by the City in this zone. Architecturally, I personally like to respect the past with proper restoration (650 wealthy, 619 wealthy) while blending in some new and fun -clean-modern looks. The new project at 620 is intentionally not trying to pretend to be an old building. It is new. Our architects did a great job meeting my requirements while building what made sense economically, with plenty of input from SEVEN different neighborhood associations. It takes several months to get through all that process--- it's hardly efficient -- the building you see rendered is the result of all of these inputs. And it's gonna look a whole lot better than the unused surface lot next to a derelict house that's been vacant for years ! Not everyone is going to like what we do--- maybe you'll come around after it's a completed project, contributing vibrancy to the street and helping clean up what is currently a mess. eric
  7. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Pardon my absence here---- YES we received approval from the HPC on wednesday evening to construct the retail building you see above (thanks for posting those, grdad) and will be moving forward without delay. Greg Metz will have to wrap up final drawings now that we are approved, Andy Molesta from Terra Firma will oversee the project, which will be built by McGraw Construction as we have a lengthy and favorable relationship there. Site work and demo of the existing structure hopefully in September, then we'll get right into it. Building overall is around 3,100 Sq. Ft, and is divisible for 1-3 Tenants but our experience in this market area suggests we'll likely end up with two Tenants @ 1,550 each. It's nice to have some flexibility though. We have no Tenants secured for this, but several inquiries from various retail users both in and out of our existing market area. As we've learned about the Wealthy St corridor, 'if we build it, they will come.' It's been fun--- looking forward to getting this one started this fall ! Many thanks to this online community and the neighbors and neighborhood associations for the overwhelming letters of support for this important corner.
  8. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Friends of Wealthy Street--- This afternoon, we are hosting a small party to introduce our concept and drawings for a proposed new project at 620 Wealthy St. SE (existing surface lot at the corner of Wealthy and James). Our gathering is very informal, and is being hosted by Wealthy St. Studios, in our newly-renovated project at 619 Wealthy St. Light appetizers, beer and wine while supplies last ! We'd love your input on our proposed development, and a chance to show you some of our other work in the neighborhood. Today (tuesday, June 26) from 4:00 - 6:00 pm Hope to see some of you there ! eric wynsma / terra firma development llc
  9. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Anxious to see what happens with this one, awesome spot with a garage and parking area behind it: http://signatureassociates.catylist.com/listing/30216151/710-Wealthy-St-SE-Grand-Rapids-MI-49503
  10. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Dixon has done many projects for us over many years. 180 Monroe (now owned by CWD) was built to a concept originally drawn by VIA design- the rest of the planning and architectural work was indeed done by Dixon.-- I still use VIA and Dixon both quite a lot. OK--- back to Wealthy Street...
  11. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Thanks for your kind words and--- it actually goes back to the mid 90-s, , a few small projects and then the Brass Works project in 1998 We do hope to have an announcement here soon about more retail on Wealthy, on land we already own but will need some community support and municipal approvals; should have some renderings soon for you guys to look at / vote on. A local / home-brew juice bar / smoothie place indicating some interest in the last suite at 619 Wealthy- fingers crossed ! -eric
  12. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    We have secured a couple Tenants for 619 Wealthy. Fox Naturals (skin care etc) taking the east end, and a photography / art group taking the two west units. We have an offer from a florist for a center suite, and thus have 800 SF left for Lease.... We tried hard to push for local, street retail Tenants, and couldn't be happier with the mix that appears to be coming together. -eric
  13. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    Well, it wasn't quite that simple. They did 'stabilize' the east wall, and there was a new roof put on but---- they forgot to put insulation down first so we're going to peel the entire roof and start over. Shame on the previous roof contractor; it's unconscionably wasteful. Full interior demolition started the day we closed, and was followed by interior demising walls which needed much structural help, the floor load capacity was too low for any retail or assembly use so we ended up pouring all new footings in the basement and adding load-bearing walls to carry the floors. From there, new OSB floors to get things 'level' and we are retaining the open ceiling structure. Interior walls will be drywalled (or masonry repaired) except for the exterior 'character' walls which are clay tile and being left as-is in a tip of the hat to the raw character of the structure. All new utilities were brought in, as the building had zero functioning anything. Gas, electric, water, sewer..... starting over. New electrical, new HVAC, etc... Obviously all the windows and doors and storefronts are new, and the result is a very satisfying clean, bright appearance inside the building. Despite having done dozens of renovations like it, there's never a way to anticipate everything so it has gotten a bit expensive but---- it was a fun challenge and we're glad we did it ! Andy Molesta from our shop (and partner in the building) expertly managed the re-birth of this one in less than 70 days since our november acquisition---- we're not done yet but will start handing stores over to Tenants for their final finishes sometime in March. This one went more smoothly than our 650 Wealthy project, although slightly more costly in terms of $ per sq. foot. I will try to snap some pics and post them here shortly. We have some other ideas for the neighborhood, of course we'll continue to share them here first. -eric wynsma, terra firma development llc
  14. terra firma

    Wealthy Street Mega Thread

    4,000 SF.