Homewood agrees to buy Ridge Road building — briefly

Homewood took another step in laying the groundwork for a major downtown redevelopment project Tuesday when the Board of Trustees agreed to purchase the old Funk Hall building at 2049-2051 Ridge Road.

  The building at 2049-2051 
  Ridge Road could soon be 
  owned briefly by the village. 
  A developer is interested 
  in buying the property to 
  build a retail/residential 
(Photos by Eric 
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)

The village will not own the building long, however. It has an agreement to sell the building to Third Coast Developers of Grand Rapids, Mich., according to Economic Development Director Tom Vander Woude.

Third Coast also has a contract to purchase the Triumph Building at 2033 Ridge Road. It plans to demolish the buildings and construct a new mixed retail/residential building with 36 apartments, Vander Woude said.

The village's contract for 2049-2051 Ridge Road is contingent on the completion of the Triumph Building sale, but Vander Woude said even if the sale is completed and the redevelopment plan does not come to fruition, the village will not be stuck with the building. Third Coast has agreed to buy the building from the village in any case. 

The building is owned by First Midwest Bank, which obtained it in a foreclosure late in 2015.

The village got involved in the transaction because First Midwest and Third Coast were unable to negotiate a sale. The bank agreed to sell the building to the village at a discount. The village will pay $291,000 plus closing costs.

  The Triumph Building at the 
  southwest corner of Ridge 
  Road and Martin Avenue is 
  under contract and will be 
  replaced with a new mixed-
  use retail/residenital 
  center if the project comes 
  to fruition. 

Village staff and Third Coast representatives have started meeting with SB Friedman, the development financing consultant recently hired by the village, to begin discussing additional financing details of the project.

Trustee Barbara Dawkins complimented village staff for being proactive in courting the development project. She noted that in her travels, the communities with the most vibrant downtown areas also have higher residential density there.

The project will complement other recent downtown developments, including the Homewood Science Center, La Banque Hotel and the Martin Avenue streetscape.

Three retail businesses will be affected by the project. The Triumph Building's only occupant is Nathalie's Interiors. Nathalie Goich is in the process of liquidating her inventory in preparation for closing the store. 

In 2049-2051 Ridge, Loulou Belle boutique and Artistix Salon will be displaced if the redevelopment deal is completed.

Loulou Bell's co-owners, Lisa Komorowski and Dodi Wians, were at the board meeting Tuesday to learn more about the fate of their shop, which opened in February.
They had mixed feelings about the plan.

"We are happy for the village," Wians said, but she added that the thought of having to move again so soon after starting the business was daunting. 

"We love our space. We put a lot of sweat equity into it," she said, noting that both the Wians and Komorowski families pitched in and did almost all the renovation work.

Vander Woude indicated he sympathized with their plight and pledged to help them find new quarters. From the village's standpoint, he said, it would be ideal if the shop could relocate temporarily and find a permanent home in the new building.



Correction:This story originally said there would be 145 apartments in the Triumph Building/Funk Hall project. That's the total number of apartments that could be included if three sites are developed. The projects are still at the concept stage, according to village officials.

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