Development Features LEED, Speed


    GRAND RAPIDS — At the northeast corner of

    East Beltline Avenue


    Lake Drive

    in Grand Rapids the future of professional office buildings is being implemented.

    The project consists of two 31,672-square-foot professional office buildings called Lakeland Hills. The site plan has already been approved and the construction documentation is complete.

    Nick Nicola, president of Nicola Construction, owns the property and is the developer. Integrated Architecture has been picked to design the project.

    S.J. Wisinski & Co. has named Sue Molhoek and Mike Gantos as the listing agents.

    The new project represents a growing trend among developers to make the buildings both user- and eco-friendly. According to Nicola, the goal of the project is to create an office building that is beneficial and profitable in both the short term and long term and has the general welfare of the workers inside the building and in the surrounding community in mind.

    To accomplish this, the project leaders decided to enlist the services of Grand Rapids-based Workstage, which will be in charge of construction management. The incorporation of Workstage in the process has several advantages, according to Gantos. The first is the speed and cost of the project.

    He said Workstage buildings are constructed with a pre-engineered kit of parts that fit together like an erector set. This enables a faster, more efficient and cheaper rate of construction. 

    Nicola specifically emphasized speed of construction as a key advantage.

    “In today’s world, when a tenant finally makes a decision, they want it tomorrow. This (the Workstage process) can literally change months into weeks.”

    He indicated that another benefit is a more user-centered building.

    Workstage buildings use a variable air volume HVAC system, so users can easily adjust temperature and air flow speed. This is accomplished through thermostat-controlled diffusers, which vent air up through the floor.

    According to Nicola, the system will not only improve air quality, but also allow for temperature control at sites throughout the building.

    Nicola said the Lakeland Hills office buildings also will make better use of natural lighting by incorporating “lots of windows” at strategically placed locations.

    According to Betterbricks, a newsletter to help business professionals understand the benefits of energy efficiency and an initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, more natural lighting has a positive impact on occupant productivity.

    The buildings will also offer a variety of high-tech features, including wire and wireless network access.

    Workstage buildings are also reported to be energy efficient. In a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University in 1999, energy efficiency savings over a 10-year period for a typical Workstage office building was estimated at $224,928.

    According to Molhoek, the Workstage design will save the owners of the Lakeland Hills office buildings an estimated 15 to 20 percent in energy costs per year.

    The project is pushing for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

    “At this point, that is our main focus,” said Nicola.

    Nicola said the project also includes the possibility of setting aside half of the project’s 10-acre plot as a conservancy for the benefit of the surrounding community.

    “We wanted to keep the natural beauty of the land,” he said. “We had several discussions with the neighbors and one of their concerns was the impact of the project on the natural beauty of the area.”

    Nicola hopes to break ground within the next 40 to 60 days. More information on the Lakeland Hills project is available at    

    Facebook Comments