January 2014


Arcadia Ales

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Kalamazoo, MI—Craft-brewery Arcadia Ales has been running strong for the past seventeen years in Battle Creek: so strong in fact, they are expanding to increase production. The new facility located in Kalamazoo will almost triple their capacity.  Owner Tim Suprise is thrilled with his new location, and has high expectations for the future.  The site, located adjacent to the Kalamazoo River, was made possible through the City of Kalamazoo’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and the cooperation of the State of Michigan with economic development incentives.  Tim says he’s “excited about getting very close to completing the construction of our building” adding that “the process has gone really smoothly.”  The project as a whole, according to Suprise and AVB Project Manager Derek Mathieu has been incredibly integrated. The relationships between the State of Michigan, the city of Kalamazoo, as well as Arcadia’s development team, including Treystar Corporation, designer TowerPinkster, and AVB, continues to be a positive and collaborative effort.

The new production brewery will be housed in a 30,000 square foot building and will also feature a restaurant and pub, equipped with a commercial kitchen, an outdoor smokehouse, and the perfect location: just off of the Kalamazoo River. Kayaks and other boaters will be able to tie off with direct access to the restaurant and bar.  Another unique feature for Arcadia will be their indoor/outdoor stage: allowing people to pass through from the grassy hill and into the bar and restaurant areas.  Phase 2, looking to kick off this spring, will further develop the riverfront and include a beer garden right on the river’s edge.

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Currently, Arcadia is in the initial installation process of their brewing equipment. At this point in a project, with the formal construction complete, AVB’s involvement would typically have wound down.  However, in this project we are continuing to support Arcadia Ales in their process equipment installation until the brewery opens. The collaborative nature with the design-build team and the construction has been an “interesting learning curve,” as well as rewarding one, according to Mathieu. The installation of equipment will be a process occurring over the next several weeks, which puts the brewery at mid to late February for a “very soft opening,” Tim says.

AVB Community Expansions

As a result of the economic recovery and growth of the Kalamazoo and Portage areas in the last 24 months, many of the residential communities that AVB has developed are now expanding. Barrington Shores, Hidden Lake and Oakland Hills are in the process of adding new phases, which will create a higher capacity to welcome newcomers.

Barrington Shores is a single family community four miles west of Portage, Michigan on Centre / Q Avenue. Originally opened in June of 1998, the most recent phase opened in 2011 adding seventeen home sites, twelve of which have already sold. This high demand now warrants the current expansion which will be the second to last phase, adding a total of twenty-two new home sites. The hope is to complete the entire infrastructure for this phase by 2015, and finish all new home construction by 2017. A unique characteristic of this phase of the community is the focus on maintaining a heavily wooded environment; the street design is geared towards preserving the environment as well as providing scenic topography.

Hidden Lake, another AVB single family community, is located in the rolling hills of Richland Michigan and has sold out all home sites previously built in the neighborhood. The new phase will add twenty-two home sites, ten of them with lake-front access on a 25 acre lake. The infrastructure has recently finished for the new phase and according to AVB principal Jack Gesmundo, it is one of the most beautiful residential properties we’ve developed to date.

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AVB is also excited to begin the final phase of our Portage condominium community, Oakland Hills. This phase will add 30 new homes, five of which are already reserved.  Along with building new homes, we are also working on giving back to the environment during this final phase as well.  AVB is collaborating with the DEQ to re-naturalize the Portage Creek that runs alongside and through the community. The creek was straightened by the Army Corps of Engineers years ago, and the hope is to re-naturalize the creek to a more meandering path throughout the final phase process.

The expansion of each of these communities marks the addition of the home sites, but more importantly, the creation of neighborhoods.  AVB is excited to continue to build houses, yet we are even happier anticipating the building of future homes.

Kalamazoo Christian Middle School

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Kalamazoo, MI—When Kalamazoo Christian Middle School’s existing facility needed to expand, there was nowhere for them to go. Their property on Westnedge Avenue wasn’t large enough to house the addition and so they decided to consolidate on to their elementary school campus on 12th Street. The Project Manager for Kalamazoo Christian Middle School, Derek Mathieu remembers the project as one of the most “interactive projects we’ve ever had.”

Not only did the school receive a lot of support with donated trades and fundraising efforts, the school also outpoured encouragement and support to our team working on site. Girls on the Run, a group based out of K-Christian Middle School, provided each worker individually bagged homemade brownies and cookies. Other students wrote cards, and prayed with their families for the safety of our team. Project Superintendent Ryan Vliestra noted that it was a fantastically positive experience, saying that even though the job was challenging it was a job more than worth the work. School Principal Marc Verkaik reflects similarly on the experience: “It was great,” adding that “AVB was easy to work with and very professional in the management of our new middle school.”

The challenging building addition portion of the project kicked off in January of 2013 and the winter conditions for building a 32,000 sq. ft. addition to the existing elementary school made for an uphill battle. The team combated moisture and mud as they worked to put in foundations despite the brutal weather.     On May 14th as the school progressed, AVB gave students from Kindergarten to eighth grade a tour and utilized the construction as an educational part of the children’s curriculum. Some tour guides were interrupted by children hugging them during the presentation, thanking them for building their school. Despite the many difficulties, the middle school addition opened August 23rd, 2013: finishing just before classes began August 26th.

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Walden Woods

Walden Woods condominium development became the first of its kind in Kalamazoo when preliminary research in 2010 indicated demand was high for this type of community.  After opening for sales in early 2013, the multi-phase luxury condominium development is now heading into its second phase. The new phase will add fourteen new homes in Walden Woods making a total of thirty-eight, completing the neighborhood feel.  Beyond this phase, AVB anticipates further development to a total of 104 home sites to create a large interactive neighborhood.

When the development first kicked off, there were multiple hurdles to overcome. The first was getting Arboretum Parkway, the road the development is built off of, under development. There was a need to build a new middle school building on the west side of Kalamazoo due to the announcement of the Kalamazoo Promise.  The problem was that there wasn’t an available tract of land in the city large enough to house a school.  The WMU Foundation had some property, but without the road, it would have been too difficult to support multiple developments.  It took coordination with the community, city and state to get things under way.  Working in concert with the Western Michigan University Foundation and the City of Kalamazoo to build the Parkway became the catalyst for the development of the over 160 acres of land owned by the WMU Foundation. The development now includes the Linden Grove Middle School, a new Keystone Bank, and Walden Woods, putting the majority of the site onto the property tax rolls.

Once the challenge of land had been settled, Walden Woods was put into place and sales took off immediately.  AVB Principal Partner Jack Gesmundo states that one of the most gratifying aspects of Walden Woods when it first opened was “knowing you have made it through all of the hurdles of opening a new community, especially in a down real estate market.”  The success was startling for being the first condominium community of its kind in the City of Kalamazoo; Walden Woods has 14 new homeowners within the first 12 months of opening.

AVB is excited to expand the neighborhood in Walden Woods, and to foster a sense of community by adding on. We look forward to the addition of many more families over the next few years.

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Staff News

Over the course of 2013, AVB has celebrated some great accomplishments personally and professionally. Here are our staff updates for 2013:

We had no work related injuries during 2013!  Great job by everyone!

  • Jacqueline DeNoyer hired as Project Manager-Commercial
  • Michael Wittenberg hired as Project Superintendent-Commercial
  • Mark Kirschman hired as Senior Superintendent -Commercial
  • Nate Veenstra hired as Assistant Superintendent-Commercial
  • Rebecca Belinski hired as Project Engineer-Commercial
  • Andrew Schipper hired as Project Engineer-Commercial
  • Elizabeth Lynch hired as Project Engineer-Commercial
  • Wendy Lockner hired as Project Engineer-Commercial
  • David Innes hired as Construction Intern-Commercial
  • Austin Roberts hired as Commercial Construction Assistant
     
  • Joshua Kolb hired as Residential Framer
  • John Feenstra hired as Residential Trim Carpenter
  • Michael Burk-Lawrence hired as Residential Construction Assistant
  • Robert Lanting hired as Residential Construction Assistant
  • Kyle Kellogg hired as Residential Construction Assistant
  • Daniel Ablan hired as Residential Construction Assistant
  • Ryan Kolb hired as Residential Construction Assistant
     
  • Krista Manley hired as Human Resources Manager
  • Austin McCollum hired as CAD Draftsman
  • Shelbie Boschman hired as Residential Design Intern-Monroe Brown Student
  • Josie Marshall hired as Office Intern
  • Jessica Fritz hired as Office Intern
  • Taylor Brown hired as Marketing Intern
     
  • Scott Lanting promoted to Superintendent - Residential
  • Ryan Minier, Controller, passed his CPA exam
  • Project Manager Derek Mathieu and his wife welcomed a new baby boy into their family
  • Accountant Kristina Kiel graduated from Western Michigan University and accepted a full time position at AVB. She also got engaged on Christmas Day!
  • Arlene Bryant, Human Resources Manager, retired after working at AVB for 19 years – thank you for all you have done for us Arlene, we will miss you!

AVB is thrilled with the personal and professional achievements of our team that were made in 2013 and look forward to the accomplishments to come throughout 2014!

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