Green Roof


Health clinic completes $2M renovation

A nonprofit health care clinic has completed a local $2-million renovation project it started roughly 18 months ago.

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan celebrated last month the makeover of its Irwin/Martin Health Center in Grand Rapids, at 425 Cherry St. SE.

The building is a health center and the organization’s headquarters.

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan is a provider of sexual health, education and advocacy services.

“This major overhaul of our headquarters and health center demonstrates Planned Parenthood’s commitment to serving our community for many years to come,” said Kathy Humphrey, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan.


Grand Rapids-based Craig Architects served as the project’s architect.

Bazzani Associates in Grand Rapids served as the general contractor for the project.


The nonprofit said the project was a “top to bottom, inside and out LEED-certified overhaul.”

The renovation included a new design to the building’s front, a new courtyard and a relocation of the main entrance, as well as a new lobby.

The top-floor administrative offices have been relocated and remodeled.

A relocated education center puts all public areas on the main floor and includes a new, larger meeting room for educational programs and special events.

The work also included updates to the building’s electric, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, as well as new energy-efficient windows, skylights, drywall, flooring, fixtures, paint and countertops. 

By: Mike Nichols, Grand Rapids Business Journal

Health clinic completes $2M renovation

Wesener work underway


OWOSSO — A plan more than three years in the making is finally coming to fruition in downtown Owosso, where the long-vacant burned out Wesener Building is being renovated.

Owners Dave and Dianne Acton, working with Grand Rapids-based building firm Bazzani Associates, began work this week on rehabilitating the three-story, 18,000-square-foot building, which was gutted by a fire on July 4, 2007.

“It’s a special project,” said developer Peter Skornia of Bazzani, whose company also renovated the Lebowsky Center on Main Street. “We’re trying to take this downtown project, which is so crucial to the local economy, where the building is falling down, and turn it into a vibrant, occupied facility.”

It’s certainly an ambitious project — the $2.5-million plan involves creating retail spaces, yet to be determined, into the first floor. In addition six apartments, not including the Actons’ own loft and office, are planned for the second and third floors.

The apartments are expected to offer “all the amenities of modern living,” including two bedrooms and two bathrooms (about 1,400 square feet), with laundry rooms, storage rooms, pantries and granite countertops.

Additionally, the entire building will be LEED-certified, verifying it as an environmentally responsible and healthy place to live and work.

But the exterior of the building will remain vintage — restored to its original look from 1887, which the Actons hope will offer downtown denizens a glimpse of Owosso during a time of booming growth.

“If we can restore the building, we can retain that historic background that is so unique to this area, that makes it the kind of place where people want to live and work,” Dianne Acton said, while working at the Actons’ Exchange Street bookstore, Owosso Books and More.

“The buildings from that time period can never be replaced. It was a very good era for our city.”

Dave Acton, a retired GM engineer, said development has been delayed because the couple sought tax credits from the state for the purpose of historical and environmental rehabilitation. The Actons purchased the building in early 2011.

“It’s been a long time and a lot of work — we’ve really learned what goes into development and working with the state, so to be in this status right now is almost surreal,” he said.

But now that the construction date is here, it can’t come soon enough for Dianne Acton. She said the couple, who currently reside at a Lake Manitou home 6 miles south of Owosso, plan to put their home on the market in the spring. They will move into a downtown loft when it’s completed.

The Wesener Building is currently slated to be ready for occupancy by mid-September.

“We’re extremely excited to live and work in downtown Owosso. It’s the place to be in town,” she said.

The building burned in a fire that police believe was started by an arsonist. No one has been charged for the offense, which killed 22-year-old Greg Shire.

— Jessica Robison contributed to this report.

By Tim Rath, Argus-Press Staff Writer

Marie Catribs serves sustainability

Marie Catrib’s is known for their Mediterranean influenced meals all made from scratch, but there is another element at the heart of their food.

“When you make food for people you have to do it with love and a good conscience,” says Fouad Catrib, son of the late Marie Catrib and co-owner of the restaurant. “When you try to obtain as much local goods as possible, it makes you feel really good about what you’re giving to the customer.”

Advocates for local food say it’s good for farmers because there is a direct exchange versus having to pay a company and a middle man, it expands access to fresh and healthy food and it benefits the economic development within communities. They believe because local food is minimally processed, seasonally grown and requires less transportation it has less of an environmental impact.

Even in the winter, Marie Catrib’s sources their food from Creswick Farm and Rakowski Family Farms. Winter produce is also sourced from Traverse City and during the growing season they work with even more farms.

/Diane Charvat

The restaurant is also certified gold by the green building rating system Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which was created by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.

Some sustainable features of the building include a vegetative roof garden, energy efficient construction and on site stormwater management.

Bazzani Associates, a company that designs and builds sustainable buildings, created the building that is now Marie Catribs. The company has won awards like the Grand Rapids Neighborhood Business Award and the Clean Corporate Citizen Award from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Bazzani Associates were the first to complete a LEED double-Gold certified project in the world.

Guy Bazzani, the founder and President of Bazzani Associates, says it’s important that businesses keep sustainability in mind for the long term health of the community.

In the future, to add to the sustainability of their business, Marie Catrib's is exploring how to install solar panels on the roof to offset the amount of energy they use. It’s a challenge for them because they would need many panels in order to capture enough energy to run the restaurant.

“We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time but it costs quite a bit of money. It has been something that’s always on my mind and I know the return would be great,” says Catrib.

Catrib says the restaurant would like to try to decrease the amount of packaging they put out, which is a struggle because they sell a lot of to go food.

To lessen this environmental impact, their disposables, such as utensils and plates, are corn-based and compostable, which allows them to decompose more quickly. The production of conventional disposables like plastic use more energy and release harmful pollution.

Marie Catrib’s is also environmentally conscious in their waste management. 

“Almost every piece of waste we have is composted and we went from having a big garbage dumpster to having three garbage bins each week,” says Catrib. "The change has been dramatic."

by CeNique Yeldell (Yeldellc)

Marie Catribs serves sustainability

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