Luxury Above a Pizzeria?!
The life of luxury is coming to Kalamazoo, Michigan, thanks to father son team Ron and Matt Smilanich. The local family isn’t just a smart contracting company, their roots lie deep in Kalamazoo with Bimbo’s Pizza at 338 E. Michigan Ave. Bimbo’s has been owned and operated by the family for the last 55 years. Both father and son had dreamed for years of reclaiming and renovating the two floors above their business.
Not to expand Bimbo’s, but to add a few luxury loft apartments. Kalamazoo, once a small town, is ever growing with the expanding student and professional markets. The lofts would make an excellent location for any person wishing to live near Kalamazoo Valley Community College or Western Michigan University Medical School. It’s also neatly located near all the snazzy downtown district.
The Smilanich’s are finishing up on the final of the six, sleek lofts. They’ve already had one tenant renew their lease after happily living in luxury for a year. The lofts vary from one and two bedrooms, and in square footage. The lofts are open, with floor plans ranging from 970 to 1650 sq-ft. The building is rugged, rustic, and rich in craftsmanship. The exposed brick walls, open duct work and support beams make for a modern industrial style.
Each loft is floored with beautiful maple wood, with hardwood cabinets to match. The counter tops are sleek granite, and the bathrooms feature a luxe, walk-in shower of porcelain tile. Though the apartments have similar luxurious amenities, the floor plans all differ, and are unique. Co-owner of the property and son, Matt Smilanich said,
“We has the full intention of developing upstairs to get the full use of the building, but times had to be right in downtown Kalamazoo for us to take the risk of going through a major developing since we’re small business people. We felt the timing was right.”
The Smilanich’s worked together as their own contractors, with the help of a local builder, James A. Ballett. The line of professional help didn’t stop there. The Smilanich’s relied of the expert craftsmanship of local labors in the area like architect Nelson Nave, engineer Nehil-Sivak, Tipton Plumbing, Crookston Concrete, and Kalamazoo Electric. Sue, Ron’s wife, and Matt’s wife Gale also put a lot of energy into the project, helping with design, development, and progression. Together, they’ve taken 10,000 sq-ft of unused, decaying space in the luxurious Arlington Lofts.
The name is an homage to the original structure, the Arlington Hotel. Built in 1889, this little monument is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The common area of the second floor was once the grand ballroom. It still has the original 20ft high, majestic ceiling. Decorating the area are antiques and vintage works from the late Robert Medema and his antique shop, The Emporium. He was a personal friend of the family.
The Smilanich’s have had to do a little expanding to accommodate all the modern additions they’ve included. First they expanded the ground level of Bimbo’s. It houses Newman’s Bookshop, and has for the last five years. The rear was later expanded and now holds an elegant elevator, stairwell, and an entrance to the parking lot. Before this, there was no way to access the back end of the building. They also converted part of the second floor into a third, making better use of an additional ballroom of the Arlington Hotel.
Rent for one of these luxurious loft apartments in Kalamazoo start at $1,500 a month. Not bad for being close to the heart of everything, without losing a single bit of luxury. For more information about the Arlington Lofts, head over to their website. You should also check out more to do in the area of Kalamazoo, if you’re considering snagging one of these lofts. For the full scoop on the Smilanich’s project, read the article from M Live. What do you think of the lofts? Would you want to live over a pizzeria? What about a bookshop? Have you ever lived over a storefront? Share your stories with us in the comments. Remember to rate, share, and subscribe to keep in the luxury loop.
Photo Credits: michigan.org, mlive.com
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