Posted by: Becky Horodyskyj | 01/17/2011

Green Living at its Best…and Closest

An Actual Green Community

Celadon New Town Entrance

Sculpture in Celadon

Everybody hears of communities “going green,” but usually these are just random news stories, or local businesses jumping on the green bandwagon.  Well, there is a community, that I just happen to live in, called Celadon New Town located in NE Grand Rapids, MI that is entirely Green Certified, and creates such a unique little neighborhood, that it’s worth checking out even if you aren’t in the home buying market.  It’s located at the cross roads of Knapp and East Beltline, behind the Celebration Cinema.  The neighborhood is located in the Forest Hills East school district, and is within walking distance to Meijer, Celebration Cinema, everything else at Knapp Corner (BW3’s, QDoba, Jimmy Johns, the J. Salon, Coldstone, the Bicycle Company, Ming Ten, Verizon, iHOp, Banks, you name it…) as well as several local bike/running paths.

The Residents

The people in the community are very friendly and range in ages from low 20’s to retired couples, including everybody in-between.  Many of the residents have pets, especially dogs.  My neighbor has a golden retriever that he’s always out walking and he meets plenty of residents just by doing that.  When i was checking this place out as a potential first home for myself, I wanted to live somewhere that had other like-minded, close in age residents since I didn’t know many people on this side of the state.  Just looking at the places that were up already, and the few residents they had at that point (late 2008) Mosaic Properties, the company who is developing Celadon New Town, ensured me that there would be a pretty wide variety of people buying here, based on the already signed purchase agreements.  I definitely did not want to be in a typical condo environment with only retired grandparents (no offense, everybody loves grandparents, but you know what I’m saying).  There are probably just as many young couples as retired couples here, and just as many single 20 somethings as single 30 somethings, and just as many young families as empty nesters.  Everybody is friendly and waves as they drive/walk/jog/bike/etc. by you and introductions are as easy going as if you were meeting up with friends you already know.  The sales people that were here are now gone and I believe the Steve Volkers Group was heading up sales for a while also.  For right now though, i’m not sure who is.

The Homes

Wow, where to start here… I guess I’ll work my way from small to large.

Modern Row Homes

New Modern Row Homes w/Balconies

The Modern Row Homes are about 1100-1300k sq ft (check here for exact dimensions) i think, so don’t quote me on that one.  These start around high $130k i think, but check site for details.  There are 2 and 3 bedrooms available with 2 baths.  The thing i liked most about these is that the laundry, although when i was buying, you had to get stackable washer/dryer, was on the same floor, in fact, right next to the master bedroom.  Since then new floor plans have come out, and with each new building they seem to improve (sucks for us residents to see all of these new and improved features BTW), so they might have found a way to not require stackable ones.  The bottom units have some storage space underneath the stairs, and an open room in the basement leading to the 3rd bedroom that i think a lot of people use as an office.  The single car garage entrance is from there up to the main floor which has 2 more bedrooms, kitchen, dining, living room, and both bathrooms.  The top units are just 1 single floor containing all rooms.  The modern row homes are the most affordable, and probably most unique looking.  If you are driving by, these are the large white buildings with the big square windows, and the green building along the main road through the community, overlooking the amphitheater.  The thing i liked least about these, is that the kitchen is in a soft of “nook” to the side of the dining room, so the dining room and living room are open, but the kitchen is tucked away, so there’s not really a bar top or island space.  Like i said, they keep improving with each building, so the first building just has a tiny little balcony off the master bedroom, while the next two buildings got huge balconies off the front door with friggin’ fans!  The balconies are big enough for a table & chairs and a grill and are private from their next door neighbors.  They’re awesome.  I want one.  I don’t have one.

Town Lofts

3rd Town Loft Building

The place I live in is called the a town loft.  They make town lofts with backyards now with about the same sq ft, maybe a little more, so i’m assuming with gaining a back yard, you’re losing some interior space, but i could be wrong.  They start around $165k-ish and go up to around $200k with upgrades.  I believe mine is about 1400 sq ft, but i have a 2 bed, 2 bath.  the end units are a bit smaller and are only like 1300 sq ft i think.  I have no idea how big the others are, but my neighbor has a 3 bed, 2.5 bath and it seems way bigger inside.  These come in 2 bed 2 bath, 3 bed 2.5 bath, or a smaller end unit with 2 bed and 2 bath.  When you walk into the front door of the town lofts, you either go up a full flight of stairs, or down a half flight.  For the 2 bedroom, 2 bath, downstairs is a 2 car garage, laundry closet, 1 bathroom, and 1 bedroom (i use mine for a gym).  For the 3 bedroom, i believe it’s the same layout downstairs, maybe in a different arrangement, but without the laundry.  Upstairs in mine, you walk up the stairs into the dining room, kitchen, and living room, all in a nice open

Main Floor of Town Loft Model

Main Floor of Town Loft Model

layout.  The kitchen has a bar top that can fit up to 4 stools/place mats comfortably.  Keep in mind if barstools are a big deal to you that you’ll need counter height stools, not typical barstools.  I believe i got away with 25″ stools, but 29″ was definitely too tall.  The 1 or 2 other bedrooms are located on this level, along with the master bathroom, 1/2 bathroom (if applicable), and big walk in closet.  In a 3 bedroom, this floor has the laundry room i believe, which is nice to have on that floor.  The stairs to the 3rd floor (loft) are from the living room.  The loft overlooks the living room and big front windows.  This is a big wide space that i see many things done with such as art studios, gyms, pool & poker rooms, media rooms, you name it.  The lofts are so nice that I fully believe at least 1/2 of the units of this type sell because of the loft.  If i had to leave this place, i’d miss my loft the most, and that’s saying a lot b/c there is a ton of nice stuff in these places.

Brand New Town loft

Brand New Town Loft Main Floor

Manor homes are new and I WANT ONE!  These are my favorite so far.  They are about the same sq ft as the town lofts, however instead of being stacked up high in 3 stories they are just 1, or 1 plus a basement.  They are most square, but much more wide open.  They are stacked though, so you are still living above or below somebody which isn’t the most fun.  I don’t know too much about these, so check out the site if you want details on these.  I do know that they have those d@mn porches though….  Even bigger looking than the row homes, and with pillars.  So jealous.

Village Home Loft View

View from a Village Home Loft

The village homes are by far the most expensive, starting around $250k.  They are huge and look just like those cute houses in the 50’s and 60’s with the big front porches.  They have bigger garages, incredible landscaping (hence the $300+ monthly association dues), and I think most have lofts inside overlooking the living area.  I haven’t been in one, but they appear to have a nice open layout, with a loft sitting area and bedrooms stemming off of that.  I can’t look at their pics too much or i start to drool…  One of them was just in the Parade of Homes, so a ton of people should have seen it already.  The whole loop in the back of the development will be filled with these village homes, which will look awesome.

Live/Work Unit Under Construction

Live/Work Unit Under Construction

They just put up our first live/work unit.  By “put up” i mean there is a sort of structure standing.  They look huge though.  People will live in the upstairs i think, and run their business downstairs.  This is perfect for people who want to work at home, but not be inviting all their employees over for brunch every day, or entrepreneurs who have little kids.  That’s really the extent of my knowledge on those, but the whole idea is awesome, and i’d love to be in a situation to own one of those one day.

The lofts are going to be more like downtown lofts, but haven’t even been started yet, so who knows what’ll happen with them.  Things keep changing so they can fit more condos in, so ya never know.

Commercial

There is 1 building of offices up already, they have 2 floors that i can see, possibly basements, but i doubt it.  They are occupied by Kanai Wealth Management Group, Mosaic Properties Office, an art gallery.  Magnolia Salon was in the 4th unit, but i guess they left, not sure why.

Celadon New Town Office Spaces

Celadon New Town Office Spaces

The Crushed Grape

Buying Wine at the Crushed Grape

The Crushed Grape is by far the most popular attraction here, selling gourmet food, an extensive assortment of beer including many local brewery brands, your specialty liqueur shop, and upstairs is a huge wine selection.  It’s located right at the entrance to the community on Knapp.  It’s not always obvious to go upstairs, but if you go, you must go upstairs.  They have wine experts there that can help you pick out something to fit your budget and taste, even if you don’t know squat about wine.  The people who work there are awesome and extremely friendly.  They don’t bug you if you just want to look around, but are always close by to help out.  They started recently carrying gourmet bread to go with their meat and cheese selections.  It’s the perfect place to stock up for a wine and cheese party.  They have specialty liqueurs like Pisco brandy that you can’t get at Meijer and support many local microbreweries and liqueur manufacturers.

Amenities

At the risk of sounding cliche, this place really does have it all, or at least it will have it all.  Currently there is a heated “saltwater” pool (I think that just means they use Bromine instead of chlorine, but i could very well be wrong here), an ampitheater where they can show movies (even though they didn’t last summer) and concerts, several parks, a dog path, picnic & fireplace area, and several businesses.  Obviously, the sales people will promote these amenities as if they were gold, and if you have been apartment or condo hunting in GR, these very well may seem like gold, and don’t get me wrong, they are awesome, but in order to keep the hype up they are going to have to get the ball rolling again.

To start with, the pool…completely awesome…except for when there are so many screaming kids in it to enjoy it.  While this doesn’t happen much, many of the people in the community are professionals who work hard and don’t get much time to just veg out at the pool.  When we do get the chance though, having kids running and screaming and splashing can ruin the only 2 hrs you have the entire week to relax by the pool.  Celadon and ESSTEE have done a great job with everything so far, so I’m hoping they take care of this issue this summer.  I love kids and they can be so enjoyable, but when it comes to my pool time, i’d rather have an “adults only” sign hanging on that gate.  The chairs are at most so-so when it comes to comfort, although i do love their bright colors.  I wish they would provide cushions or something because they are just wood…so adding a towel onto wood doesn’t really help much.  The shades weren’t up for most of last summer, I hear it was because management didn’t like the colors?  Regardless though they got’em up and we enjoyed them for the time remaining.  Wow, all of this sounds negative, and trust me, i’m a pessimist by nature.  The pool is awesome, even with all of the mentioned stuff, and is always super clean.  The rules and a few notifications were sent out last year regarding the noise at the pool, so there were multiple responses to what i’m sure were complaints by residents.  When they used a new type of cleaner and the pool (for the first time ever) looked a funky green/blue, it was back to super pretty blue after a few days and correspondence to the residents was sent out after some calls by residents to ESSTEE letting us know it was perfectly safe to swim in.  They also have 2 bathrooms that are typically pretty clean right by the pool which even though i live like 20 ft from the pool, are very convenient when you’re trying to stay hydrated in the sun.

Without having a dog, I don’t have a lot to say about the parks except that they are very well kept and gorgeous.  I’ve thrown a softball around and things like that, but I’m typically not found in the parks, so not much to say about those.  I see many people with dogs and Frisbees and such looking like they are having a great time though.

The local running/biking paths connect, or will connect to the neighborhood, so that is convenient for many of the residents.

Concert at Celadon

One of the summer concerts

The amphitheater (hard word to spell..engineers have never been known for their spelling skills..) is a sort of little pavilion that you can sit around on these stone benches and watch concerts that Celadon organizes each summer, or watch movies on the big projection screen.  They’ve had bands like Sweet Japonic (Sweet J. Band), Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys, and many other local favorites.  It’s located right past the businesses, just before the town lofts, and right in front of the pool.   The first summer i was here (2009), they alternated bands with movies on Friday nights and it was awesome…i actually am bummed i missed a few due to being out of town.  This past summer (2010) they switched the day to Thursday, i’m assuming because people were out of town too much on Fridays, and for some reason didn’t show movies.  I understand that maybe it’s difficult picking an interesting movie that this wide age range would be interested (and old enough) to see, but to be honest, it’s summer, it’s within a very very short walking distance, and costs nothing, so besides the pretty uncomfortable seating, what do you have to lose?  Without knowing the reason they didn’t show movies this summer, I can’t really say too much besides I think it was awesome and they should bring it back.  Maybe i should tell the association…rather than whine about it on my blog…  🙂

Well let’s see, pool, parks, amphitheater, ummm oh yeah, there’s a picnic area too that’s pretty nice.  There’s a brick fireplace, charcoal grills, and picnic tables if you have your family or friends over for a BBQ, or just if you want to get out of the house.  Personally, I haven’t used it, but I see people out there a lot in the summer and it’s very nice just to have available.

Celadon New Town Garden

Garden Plots at Celadon

There are also gardens available for residents.  I think you sign up and you get like a 5 sq ft area (i’m totally guessing on the size) that you can grow your plants or veggies in.  I don’t think there are any, other than the obvious, restrictions on what you can grow.  Probably not like pumpkins and stuff..but who knows…i’m terrified of worms so i can’t garden.  ugh…just thinking of them is disgusting..

Recently a children’s play house thing has gone up, but it’s winter and there’s building going on still so i doubt it’ll get a lot of use until summer.  Even so, it looks sweet, but is maybe a little chicken coop-y looking, to be honest, it just doesn’t look that kid-friendly.  It looks nice because it fits in the decor and design of the community, but kids don’t care about that.

Interested?

Check out the Celadon New Town website to see purchase prices and what’s available right now.  There is also contact information listed below, or on their site as well.  Feel free to comment on this post if you have any questions, or email me at Beckyjoon@gmail.com if you have any questions at all, I’m a very honest person.

CELADON NEW TOWN
CORNER OF KNAPP AND LEFFINGWELL
E: celadon@mosaicproperties.com
P: 616.608.6000
F: 616.608.6080

Buying Tips

Some tips I have about buying here would be to check out all of Mosaic Properties developments and make sure you’re choosing the right one.  They have very unique and distinguished communities that remain some of the fastest growing communities in the GR area.

For any first time home buyers out there, if you don’t feel comfortable with your sales rep here at Celadon, don’t do it.  Well, do it, but find another sales person, even if you don’t want to hurt Mr. Creepy Realtor’s feelings, who cares.  They are making SUCH a commission on you since these are in no way cheap homes, you shouldn’t do anything you don’t feel 100% comfortable with.  Buying your first place is scary enough on its own that you don’t need an uncomfortable feeling lurking whenever you’re around your realtor, so if any time in your life, now’s the time to be super picky.

Don’t buy at the top of your price range.  Try to stay in the middle, where you’re comfortable and have zero worries about payments because the association dues will creep up on you and they are not cheap here.  While it’s great to have more space and nicer things, think of what size you really need, what you can afford, and what upgrades you actually need.

If you do purchase, don’t rush to get into the unit you want if you would ideally rather save more for a down payment.  They can’t start constructing a new building until a certain percentage of the units in that building have purchase agreements signed, so take your time.  Like i said, with each building, they keep improving anyways.  However, keep in mind that there is only so much space left here to build, and units are selling fast (i’m assuming since they are building like crazy!).  The construction is a little annoying, but with the special walls (i say “special” because i’m not sure what is done differently with them, but they are insulated very well with air space in-between, so you barely even hear your neighbors, much less construction) it’s not too bad.

Keep in mind, even though the base package is great, your upgrades will cost you at least a good $5k.  The only upgrades i did were getting wood laminate throughout living room, kitchen sink faucet, chose my own sinks & bathroom faucets, downstairs bathroom floor to duraceramic tile, some fans, and a tile back splash in the kitchen.  I also chose my own, cheaper pendant lights, and my upgrades were almost exactly $5k.  This is without granite counters, tile shower, glass shower doors, blinds, carpet throughout downstairs & on stairs, etc.  The base carpet you’ll probably want to upgrade, and any additional (more than 2) paint colors you want cost me $200 per color.

If you do purchase here, you’ll do a final walk-through to make sure there aren’t any dings in the walls or cracks, or messes left behind by construction, malfunctioning things, etc.  CHECK EVERYTHING.  I didn’t check the drains on my sinks, missed a bunch of paint specks and drips, etc.  You have a year from your close date that you can get things like that fixed, so when you notice anything at all wrong, a dent or scratch, etc. that you didn’t do, write it down, mark it, and tell them.  That way when you get to your 1 yr walk-through, they will fix those things.

Design Tips

This may be obvious to people who have owned a place before, but never having owned, therefore, never having cared about the quality of my carpet, DON”T get light colored carpet.  You’ll be tempted if you like light colors and modern style like me, but don’t do it.  It is sooooooooooo dirty and i just now, after 1.5 yrs living here found a cleaner that’s getting the dirt out.  My carpet on the stairs going up from my main floor to the loft is fine, but downstairs was an aweful place to get light colored carpet.

If you get a steam washer or dryer, let the builders know you’ll need the steam hook up in your laundry area.  I didn’t know anything different needed to be done, so this had to be finished up once i was in my unit…on my light light light colors carpet…

Upgrade your counters…laminate sucks.

Unless you really like theirs, pick out your own pendant lights.  The ones they allow you to pick from in the base package are pretty expensive.

Get Duraceramic in both front and rear entrances, as well as both bathrooms.  It only comes std. in your master bathroom, but it’s worth it.  It is much much softer than ceramic tiles, looks cooler, and is much easier to clean than the crappy tile that comes std in the downstairs bathroom and the wood laminate in the front door entrance.  It’s expensive, but worth it.

If you make a gym, don’t choose blue, unless it is electric, super bright, neon, smack you in the face when u look at it blue.  If I were to do it again, i’d pick a bright, but classy lime green color.

Practice being around the color you paint your main room since you’ll spend most of your time there.  If you find being around warm colors makes you tense and nervous, or if you find cool colors make you feel sleepy and lazy, then duh, don’t pick them.  Most people just pick their favorite color, but your favorite color, as great as it is, might not be the best color to live in.  I did mine a very beautiful light buttery yellow, and for the first year or so i LOVED it, but now I find it makes me feel a little jittery and hyper, like i have to constantly be doing things and being cheerful, and i think a nice cool blue (ironically the color i chose for the gym) would be perfect for up on the main floor.  I’m very go go go and talk talk talk and think think think by nature, so i need a much more calming color in my main living area.  Basically i’m just suggesting, practice actually living in the color you choose…don’t just put a yellow picture up, of wear a yellow shirt.  It sounds silly, but tape construction paper or hand a sheet up in the color you are thinking of for a few days and see how it changes your mood.  Many people are skeptics of this, but i 100% believe the colors we live in greatly impact our daily moods and attitudes.

Not Just Another Condo Development…Hopefully

So to wrap up this ginormous post, I just wanted to go over what the future holds here at Celadon, at least what i hope it holds.  When i moved in here, I was told a restaurant (no chains allowed) would go up with a bar right across the street from the Crushed Grape, at the entrance to the neighborhood, and nothing at all has been done with that.  I just keep hearing something is in the works, but honestly, it’s been a yr and a half…so if something has been in the works this long without any announcements, maybe they should find something else to be “in the works.”  The bike paths are here and there, but not all connected yet, like they said.  A gym would be a nice addition, or businesses that more people who live here would actually use.  The salon was a great start, but most people already have a stylist they like, so that was risky since the business isn’t out in the open to the public, you have to find it in our development to use it.  A web dev. company would fit in perfect, or a music school for kids, just something besides condos!  We’re off to a great start, obviously, but it would be nice if they would put a little more into the residents who already live here than getting more.  The more enjoyable things we have to use, the more attractive this place will look to others who want to buy.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the comment Steve, and no worries you weren’t the creepy realtor! I’m not even sure I’ve ever met you. I will update the post for the correction. 🙂

  2. Well Written! Thanks for all the great info about Celadon. I could not have written it better myself even if I was the Creepy Realtor!:) Just an FYI my Group ( Steve Volkers Group) is no longer in charge of sale at the project.


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