This story appeared on the front page of the Grand Rapids Press, right under a story about a guy who carves wooden pumpkins. The first question to ask yourself is “how did this information get to the GR Press?” Was it part of a media release from the DeVos family or from Greenridge Reality? The story reads like an ad from a company that sells houses, with lengthy descriptions of what the house looks like, the surrounding property, even dimensions of the home are included.
The only sources used in the story is a statement from the Agent that listed the property for sale, a neighbor who said they loved to see the DeVos helicopter land, and another wealthy neighbor/developer who was confident that the property would sell. There is a bit of information from the Holland City Assessor’s office on the value of the property, but no other information is provided. Accompanying the front page story is a photo of the home and a fact box with information that is included at the end of the story on your left. Why did the Grand Rapids Press consider this news? Why list property sales as a news story, especially since they don’t do this when average income citizens sell their homes? Does this suggest that there is favoritism when reporting on the DeVos family? Lastly, how does this story provide useful information for those living in West Michigan?
With a three-car garage, a dock that can accommodate four boats, and a helicopter pad, Holland’s most expensive home was built to be the ultimate summer getaway.
After upgrading to a Lake Michigan mansion near Tunnel Park in neighboring Park Township, billionaire Richard DeVos is selling his longtime summer compound on Lake Macatawa for $4.5 million.
Spread along 2.9 acres on South Shore Drive, the estate features a 12,146-square-foot house with five bedrooms and 8 1/2 bathrooms, and a 1,128-square-foot guest house with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Outside, the property offers deep-water frontage the length of three football fields. Inside the plush residence, amenities include marble floors, a gourmet kitchen and indoor pool.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own the most significant estate on Lake Macatawa,” agent Ken Grashuis says on his Greenridge Realty Inc. Web site.
Grashuis, who was vacationing in Florida, could not be reached for comment. And a DeVos spokeswoman did not return a call for comment.
A tour of the house is by appointment only. Even without a tour, you still can take a peek via Grashuis’ Web site, which offers eight photos of the home’s exterior, including the lake view and tennis court.
Completed in 1984, the contemporary-style residence was built by Dan Vos Construction.
The Ada Township-based construction company also built Hope College’s $22 million DeVos Fieldhouse in 2005 and the Alticor Corp. World Headquarters in Ada.
The selling price is a tad more than what Holland Assessing Administrator Dave VanderHeide pegs the property at.
City records place the value of the parcel with the main house at about $3.6 million, and a second parcel with the guest house at $700,000, for a total of $4.3 million.
But having the Amway co-founder and his wife, Helen, for neighbors was priceless, say those who lived nearby. When her children were little, DeVos would play with them on the swing set, said Cathy Koop, who lives next door in a brick Colonial.
“They were wonderful neighbors,” Koop said.
Having a billionaire neighbor who came and went by air, water or land was fun.
“We loved watching the helicopter. Everybody would run to the window to watch it. We got a real kick out of it,” Koop said.
Earlier this year, DeVos bought a $6.2 million home on North Lakeshore Drive, one of several pieces of property he’s acquiring along that corridor, records show.
For his old neighbors, the question is: How long will they have to wait for the sound of whirling blades to fill the air again?
Holland developer and South Shore Drive neighbor Scott Geerlings doesn’t think the tough real estate market has reached multimillion-dollar mansions.
“That’s the only part of the market that is good,” Geerlings said, taking a phone call between rounds of golf.
“It’s a beautiful piece of property, and I think it should sell.”
There still will be a DeVos in the neighborhood. DeVos’ son Dick owns a summer house down the street.
Holland’s priciest house
The DeVos place on Lake Macatawa:
Address: 1025 South Shore Drive
Price: $4.5 million
Down payment: $225,000
Monthly mortgage (30 years at 6.75 percent): $27,727.57
Annual property taxes: $77,000
Listed on: Agent Ken Grashuis’ Greenridge Realty properties page at greenridge.com/agent/proplist.asp?CEQ_AgentCode=277