Builders Put Headquarters Up For Sale

(AP) How bad is the housing market? Bad enough that a cash-strapped builders' group is forced to sell its own home.

Three years after moving into its posh, new $3.5 million headquarters, the Home & Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids is putting the building up for sale.

Chief Executive Judy Barnes said the association is hampered by the weak economy, a sluggish residential building industry and declining membership. The setbacks have resulted in some pledges made toward paying for construction of the 15,000-square-foot headquarters going unfulfilled.

The association spent $1.5 million of its own money on the building. The remainder was to be covered by donations and the sale of its previous headquarters.

Barnes declined to release the amount still owed on the new building but said the association was not in financial trouble.

"Like the rest of our industry, it is a little slow right now," John Overbeck, president of the association's board of directors, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story published Friday. "We've looked at it for the last year and a half, done everything we could to weigh our decision."

The group had more than 1,200 members and 19 staff personnel when it moved into the building in March 2005. Later that year, membership grew to almost 1,400.

Today, it has fallen to about 980 members and 10 staff.


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