March 26, 2013

The Fulton Group fosters neighborhood improvements with LMCU loans

There’s a renaissance afoot in several Grand Rapids neighborhoods. The Fulton Group is a local business making good on their goal of improving the quality of life in GR, one neighborhood at a time. Owners Josh Smith, Kevin Polakovich and Rob Murray are LMCU members, and rely on LMCU for commercial loans to fund this community regeneration.

The Fulton Group targets declining residential neighborhoods, buys a number of its deteriorating homes, completely renovates them, and offers them as rental units. Lake Michigan Credit Union’s VP of Commercial Lending, Jim Maskell, is a firm believer in the group’s efforts.

“I’ve known Josh and Kevin for many years. I helped them secure financing for some earlier ventures and am pleased to assist them in this worthy urban renewal project. LMCU has provided construction and end loans to the Fulton Group over the past couple of years.”

Says Josh Smith, “When we come into a run-down neighborhood and renovate a number of homes, the overall effect can be quite striking. It lifts these neighborhoods up. Neighborhood associations and residents love what we’re doing, see an increase in property values, and the whole area benefits.” Josh Smith explains further, saying, “When we buy old homes, we do it in bunches, and use economies of scale to renovate a number of nearby homes in short order. We purposely “over-improve” our properties. Basically, we go in and strip a home’s interior right down to bare joists and studs. Then we replace everything….plumbing, electrical, drywall, appliances, heating, cooling, insulation, trim, hardware…the works. Then we rehab the exteriors, replacing roofing, siding, gutters, downspouts and windows. We’ll invest anywhere from $60K to $100K into each home, making them essentially brand new. Then we make them available for lease.”

That’s when full time Property Manager Rob Murray takes over. He handles all tenant, maintenance and leasing components. Currently, Murray oversees the Fulton Group’s inventory of 143 properties. “We’re all local guys. Grand Rapids is our home,” says Smith. “We have an emotional investment in these neighborhoods. We’re all doing what we love, and love what we’re doing.” For more information on The Fulton group, Click Here.