Plans for new Holland building shun corporate vibe

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan realty company is expanding and plans to open up shop with a new location in the heart of downtown Holland.

@Home Realty plans to break ground on the $5 million project in May by demolishing two buildings at 177 College Ave. and 64 E. 7th St. The plan is to have the new building completed by March 2019.

That new office space, @Home Realty founder Jake Hogeboom told 24 Hour News 8, will have an innovative and playful design that encourages an open environment.

“We operate a little differently than most offices so we’ve incorporated a lot of fun things. We kind of like to call it a little mini Google style,” Hogeboom said.

The 20,000-square-foot open concept office building will have three floors. The first two will be dedicated to @Home Realty and the top floor will be other office space for other tenants.

The design includes an 18-foot two-story swirly slide.

“We always try to think outside the box. ‘Corporate,’ around here, it’s like a swear word. We’re not corporate at all,” Hogeboom said. “(The slide’s) got, I think, two or three bends in it and then it’ll come down into either like a foam pit or a ball pit. Clients showing up and they take the slide down. There’s also stairs, there’s also an elevator, but the goal is to have some fun with it.”

There will also be an arcade on the first for floor for clients and their kids and, of course, agents who need to have a little break.

Hogeboom says his Grand Haven-based realty company is growing fast. Since launching in 2013, the company has opened two other offices: one in Holland, which is being relocated with this construction, and a location in Hudsonville.

REDEVELOPMENT IN DOWNTOWN HOLLAND

The space in downtown Holland was a perfect fit in the midst of a redevelopment boom there.

“What the city’s doing is just incredible. They’re big on development, they’re big on new ideas and fresh ideas and our building is going to be one of the newer modern style that hopefully will help guide more development off of 8th Street,” Hogeboom said.

The city says the trend of construction could continue.

Downtown Holland is known as quaint, with many locally owned stores that have been there for years. Kim Petroelje’s Studio K Clothing Company is a prime example. She’s owned the shop on 8th Street for nearly 18 years.

“We’ve watched it expand in different directions and lots of housing has come downtown. So we’ve really watched it change and grow,” Petroelje said.

Among the current downtown construction projects are a movie theater, new housing and mixed-use buildings, and the renovated Civic Center is set to open this fall.

Even with new construction and innovation, Petroelje and the city say business owners’ values of staying involved and maintaining a close-knit community haven’t changed.

“We have to fight the internet, we have to fight the malls, so I think that’s what draws us together,” Petroelje said.

“We’re proud to boast almost a zero percent ground floor vacancy rate which for a town our size is exceptional,” City of Holland Downtown Development Authority Coordinator Amy Sasamato said.

Sasamato credits that to the city’s heated sidewalks, active business owners and tourism.

“I think the tide is turning where people want to do things locally,” Sasamato said. “I think there’s still some property that’s yet to be developed in the downtown area, it’s all privately owned so who knows what’s going to happen there.”

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