West Michigan Modern interviewed Jefferson Seaver of the Cull Group, Inc. http://www.cullgroup.com last spring to find out more about their headquarters, a stylish modern building in the heart of Eastown, at 1432 Wealthy SE. Until 2013, they were located on College Avenue in the Heritage Hill neighborhood in an old mansion that was a fun place to work, but they needed a bigger and as they say on their website "more collaborative space." So they bought the building at 1432 Wealthy SE. Previous owners, Uptown Ministries had made some significant repairs to the building already, but Cull Group, fully renovated the building and gave it a cool renewed modern flair. Now they call this great space their "Mid-Century Marketing Manufactory." Who wouldn't be inspired working in this beautiful and creative environment.
Interesting things about this building include the metal awning shown below that shades the building (the side awning is visible in another photo) and deflects the elements. The large expanse of glass windows with metal trim and framed by concrete blocks, provides a look into the building's interior and a view of the cool floating stairway with its stylish metal railing. An interior brick wall is the stairway's backdrop and hides behind it the desks and inner workings of the business. This is a multi-level building and upon entering, you must make a choice to go up to the offices or down to the studio level.
Interior furnishings include iconic Herman Miller pieces giving the building a thoroughly modern aesthetic, especially with the original flooring. The interior and exterior brick are the same rich dark color. mirroring another small mid-century building at 1501 Lake Drive SE. The sides of the building are concrete block relieved by a combination of glass block and narrow vertical windows and panels.
The old fashioned light post visible in the photo reminds us that this modern building is set in an historic area of town. It reminds us in the best way that the beauty of Grand Rapids is its eclectic blend of new and old. The building also sits next door to a wonderful piece of historic architecture - the old Windmill Florist that is now the home of the Cakabakery where the old building features are preserved and new delicious bake goods are always available.
The Seavers uncovered the detailed history of the ownership including the rental history of the building through his research in the Grand Rapids Public Library Local History Room. In 1911, 1432 Wealthy was a vacant lot. But by 1912, a home with 10 rooms had been built and the owners began looking for renters. According to the Cull Group website, "The property at 1432 Wealthy St SE was originally the site of a residence—a house like many still standing on adjacent streets. In 1913, you could rent a room here for the reasonable rate of $2 per week. In 1914, the house was listed for sale with the note that “some doctor would do well to consider” buying the house, as it was already equipped for a medical practice. We’re not sure if a doctor bought the house or not, but a few years later you could come to the house to buy half price eggs and prize-winning chickens. We’re partial to turkeys...and modern medical care, for what it’s worth."
Fast forward to 1962. The house had been demolished and the lot was once again vacant and in the process of becoming the site for a brand new and very modern office building. The first owner of that new building was Newhof Associates and they most likely constructed the building. Tom Newhof was a builder and contractor who had a long career of building both residential and commercial structures. In other West Michigan Modern research, we discovered that Newhof was the Treasurer of the Grand Rapids Home Builders Association in 1950 - a pivotal year in building for Grand Rapids during the post-war baby boom and housing shortage - a little over 10 years before the Cull Group Building was constructed. Newhof Associates kept the building at 1432 Wealthy for about 11 years. After that there were a number of owners. Check out this quick review of the other owners of the building provided by Jefferson Seaver.
2013 — Cull Group, Inc.
2000 - 2013 Uptown Ministries LLC
1990 - 2000 West Michigan Environmental Action Council
1978 - 1990 Sam Dix
1974 - 1978 Sank's Realty Company
1962 - 1974 Building is constructed and remains with Newhof Associates & Company
1961 House is razed
1912 Ten room house is constructed on vacant lot
See below for a complete list of renters and owners prepared by Jefferson Seavers, Cull Group. Thank you Cull Group for sharing the information and photos!
History of 1432 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 Prepared by Jeff Seaver, Cull Group, 3/24/2016 Year
Description 2013-2016 Cull Group, Inc. 2013 Uptown Ministries to 1432 Wealthy LLC (Kent County Deed 201312110122109)
2000 Sale: West Michigan Environmental Action Council to Uptown Assembly of God (Kent County Deed 200002250021134)
1990 Sale: Samuel Dix to West Michigan Environmental Action Council (Kent County Deed 199001120004143)
1988 Owner: Sam Dix (Source: Real Estate Card) 1988 Occupant: Community Coordinated Child Care (National directory of private social agencies, Volume 2) 1986 Owner: Sam Dix (Source: Real Estate Card)
1985 Owner: S.M. Dix Associates (Source: Real Estate Card)
1982 Owner: S.M. Dix, Inc. (Source: Real Estate Card) 1978 Owner: Sam Dix & Associates (Source: Real Estate Card)
1977 Owner: Sank's Realty Co (Source: Real Estate Card)
1977 Sale: Sanhg Realty to S.M. Dix & Co. (Source: Kent County Deed 197704130153229)
1976 Owner: Sanks Realty Co (Source: Real Estate Card)
1975 Owner: Sanhs Realty Co (Source: Real Estate Card) 1974 Owner: Sanhs Realty Co (Source: Real Estate Card)
1973 Owner: Newhof Assoc. & Co. (Source: Real Estate Card)
1970 Occupants: Mac Donald Realty, James F Ford Optometrist, Robert P Van Ess Accountant, John W Wells Optometrist, Leonard C Vander Linde Jr psychologist (Source: Grand Rapids City Directory 1970)
1969 Occupants: Mac Donald Realty, I-T-E Imperial Corp Elect Equip, Major Machinery Co, James F Ford Optometrist, Robert P Van Ess Accountant, John W Wells Optometrist, Kent County Oil Co (Source: Polk's Grand Rapids City Directory 1969)
1968 Occupants: Mac Donald Realty, I-T-E Circuit Breaker Co Elect Equip, Major Machinery Co, James F Ford Optometrist, Robert P Van Ess Accountant, John W Wells Optometrist, Alfred E Grzeszak Insurance, Reinhold L Ritmanich Insurance (Source: Polk's Grand Rapids City Directory 1968)
1967 Owner: Division Ave. Realty Co. (Source: Real Estate Card) 1967 Occupants: Fletcher Realty Co, WA Bolger & Assoc Management Consultants, Major Machinery Co, James F Ford Optometrist, Robert P Van Ess Accountant, John W Wells Optometrist, Alfred E Grzeszak Insurance, Reinhold L Ritmanich Insurance (Source: Polk's Grand Rapids City Directory 1967)
1965 Occupants: Fletcher Realty Co, WA Bolger & Assoc Management Consultants, Major Machinery Co, James F Ford Optometrist, Gerald L Vander Stel CPA, Robert P Van Ess Accountant, John W Wells Optometrist (Source: Polk's Grand Rapids City Directory 1965) 1964 Occupants: Fletcher Realty Co, Major Machinery Co, James F Ford Optometrist, Gerald L Vander Stel CPA, Robert P Van Ess Accountant, John W Wells Optometrist (Source: Polk's Grand Rapids City Directory 1964)
1963 Occupants: Davey Tree Service, Fletcher Realty Co, James F Ford Optometrist, Gerald L Vander Stel CPA, Robert P Van Ess Bookkeeping Service (Source: Polk's Grand Rapids City Directory 1963)
1963 Owner: Newhof Assoc. & Co. (Source: Real Estate Card) 1962 Occupant: Vacant (Polk's Grand Rapids City Directory 1962) 1962 Office building constructed 1961
House razed 1961