After working for several years with the local municipality, Orion Construction is prepping to deliver another townhome project in the Orion Real Estate Solutions portfolio to Caledonia.
Ryan Wheeler, principal partner with PURE Real Estate Management and vice president of Orion Real Estate Solutions, said PURE has at last closed on the property, and Orion Construction has begun site work and pouring concrete for the first set of townhome buildings, which are set to go online by the end of 2019.
“Of course, all this rain’s been lots of fun to deal with,” Wheeler said.
The Hanover Townhomes of Caledonia will sit on an approximately 40-acre parcel at 245 Kinsey St. SE in Caledonia. Orion is only developing a portion of the property, as some of it is wetland.
The project is divided into two phases. Phase one has been approved by Caledonia Township and encompasses 88 townhome units.
Orion will have to go back to the township for approval to construct phase two.
“The village and the township were sensitive to overloading Kinsey Street from a traffic standpoint, so everybody wants to see how phase one goes,” Wheeler said.
The first few units at the Hanover will turn over by the end of 2020, which is a common process for Orion. Similarly, Michigan Meadows, another Orion project bringing 87 townhome units to suburban Grand Rapids, will turn over the first few units this spring, and all buildings and site work should be complete by spring 2020.
The Hanover’s proximity to the new Amazon Warehouse and Distribution Center was purely coincidental, as an earlier Business Journal report noted. ORES had for a year prior to the announcement been communicating with Caledonia Township about site plan approval.
There are other big employers in the area like the Switch pyramid, but ORES President John Wheeler said one of the major draws to Caledonia was its school system.
The Hanover was modeled largely after the Knoll Townhomes of Ada, which Orion broke ground on early in 2018. That project, which is expected to wrap up soon, has received a lot of positive feedback from the community, Wheeler said.
The Hanover is different from the Knoll in one important respect. Being in Caledonia, the individual townhomes have more space between them, allowing for a more spacious view compared to the Knoll.
“Every unit’s got a view, it’s not compact and tight,” John Wheeler said. “The number one thing we got in feedback from the leasing people is why do people make a decision in townhomes? It’s the view out the back. We orientate all our living spaces out the back — the sliders, patios and decks.”
John Wheeler said ORES has done about 20 townhome communities in West Michigan so far, plus about a dozen condo projects that resemble townhomes.
Townhome projects in the ORES/PURE portfolio try to fit multiple demographics, John Wheeler said, from elderly to young.
“We offer different floor plans — two (bedroom), three (bedroom), walkout basements, view-out basements, one-stall garages, two-stall garages — trying to fit all the personalities of people that make decisions on where to live,” he said.
John Wheeler said the average stay in a townhome in the U.S. is three years, compared to 10 months in an apartment.
“We only do four-unit buildings,” he added,” and it really gives you a sense of the neighborhood. Once you get up to 88 units, you get to know your neighbors … people who move into these things, they got a lot of junk, and people hate to move, and everybody hates a friend that moves a lot.”
The Hanover’s total project value is $21 million, including about $17 million in construction costs. Orion Real Estate Solutions, part of Orion Construction, is the project’s owner. PURE Real Estate Management will manage the property once it is finished, and PURE Real Estate Brokerage will handle leasing.