Historic Heritage Hill home prepares for move a block over
HomeHome > Blog > Historic Heritage Hill home prepares for move a block over

Historic Heritage Hill home prepares for move a block over

Jun 24, 2023

People driving through the southwest corner of Grand Rapids’ Heritage Hill neighborhood this week may have noticed a massive two-and-a-half-story home sitting on a truck, waiting to be moved a few steps away from its current spot.

Grand Rapids-based structural moving company Rollaway Movers Inc. jacked up the house at 406 Lafayette Ave. SE in Grand Rapids on Monday and rolled it off its foundation onto dollies connected to a truck by steel beams in preparation for its move to a vacant lot at 415 Prospect, one block east of its current location.

The move, which the Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission and the city commission approved earlier this year, is slated to take place Thursday.

Dave Grifhorst, a co-owner of family-owned Rollaway Movers, said while it’s not the largest house his company has ever moved, “it’s a large house, there’s no doubt about it.”

Keep up with all things West Michigan business. Sign up for our free newsletters today.

The house — which formerly was a duplex — is being moved to make way for the Townhomes of Heritage Hill project that Grand Rapids-based firms Indigo Design + Development and SDR Ventures LLC are developing on six parcels off Wealthy Street SE between Lafayette and Prospect Avenues.

The development is at a roundabout intersection across from Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital on the north side with the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center to the west.

Doing business as Wealthy Prospect LLC, Indigo Partners Ryan Schmidt and Greg Schmidt and SDR principal Steve Ruis, the co-owner of local retailer Art of the Table and charcuterie spot Aperitivo in the Downtown Market, purchased the six parcels from affordable housing developer ICCF Community Homes, formerly known as Inner City Christian Federation. The $800,000 transaction closed in July 2022, according to city property records.

Ryan Schmidt previously told Crain’s Grand Rapids Business that ICCF, where he formerly served as vice president, originally intended to bring affordable housing to the parcels but was never able to meet criteria for state low-income housing tax credit financing.

Schmidt said once the house formerly at 406 Lafayette is situated on its new lot at 415 Prospect and renovated, it will be put back on the market as a single-family home, along with a neighboring former duplex at 409 Prospect that the developers also own and are renovating.

He said both single-family homes likely will hit the market in the spring.

The new development will include 14 townhomes and six flats above a new mixed-use building, plus the two single-family homes off Prospect, for a total of 22 housing units.

Schmidt said the new foundation for 415 Prospect has intentionally not yet been built.

“Rollaway will reposition the home into its future location, and it’ll be left in the air on cribbing until our concrete foundation company comes and builds the foundation actually under the house. And then that has to cure fully, then we can set the house down on top of it,” he said.

The Heritage Hill Association is a nonprofit formed in 1968 to preserve the 1,300 homes dating to 1843 in the 1-square-mile Heritage Hill district, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to the association’s database, the Shingle-Style house at 406 Lafayette Ave. SE was built in 1905 for Ira M. Smith.

The database shows that circa 1969-70, it was owned by the North Star Masonic Lodge #5, which used it as a meeting place for the Masons.

A Crain’s Grand Rapids Business analysis of property transaction records shows Jack Laponsie, a Grand Rapids entrepreneur who owned several businesses including a dry cleaner/laundromat, several convenience stores and the former Little Jack’s liquor store next door to the house, bought the house in the late 1990s and rented it out as a multi-tenant property until U.S. Bank repossessed the house during the housing market crash of 2008.

Multifamily investor and landlord Andy Wierda then acquired the house from the bank for $60,500 in 2009, renting it to tenants for several years before selling it to ICCF for $140,000 in 2014.

ICCF rented out the duplex until the current owners acquired the house and the other five parcels last July.

More from Crain’s Grand Rapids Business:

New lakeshore business broker builds on career in architecture and engineering industry

MSU Federal Credit Union to acquire Chicago-area community bank

Grand Rapids PE firm acquires Canadian rail maintenance company