Meadowlark Builders purchases former Washtenaw Engineering Building for green design center
Ann Arbor-based contractor Meadowlark Builders recently bought the former Washtenaw Engineering building located on West Liberty Street in Ann Arbor and plans to turn the space into an environmentally friendly design and educational center.
The deal comes two years after the Washtenaw Engineering Company relocated to 3526 West Liberty in June 2009.
Conlin Company Realtors listed the 9200-square-foot building at 3250 West Liberty St. in Ann Arbor for $650,000.
Doug Selby of Meadowlark Builders, a design and build firm that specializes in green building, said the space will be used as a display of various green building techniques to demonstrate how to make a building perform more efficiently.
It will also be used to host programs and educational events that help homeowners and industry professionals understand green building and performance.
Selby said he is aiming for a grand opening of the green design and education center by mid-September. Within three years, he said the goal is to be a net-zero energy building.
“A big part of our market focus is education and programs on building performance,” Selby said. “We want to start to turn the energy dynamic in our country in the other direction.”
The historic building was originally built as a one-room schoolhouse in the 1800s, according to the property listing. It was later renovated and became a modern office building.
Selby said the history of this “one of a kind” building fit well with Meadowlark’s mission to create and educate about sustainable homes and workplaces.
“We do a lot of greening of historic buildings,” Selby said. “Also, the one-room schoolhouse fit perfectly with our educational mission.”
Selby said that although his company struggled during the recession, lower property prices made it a good time to purchase a building.
“We feel that buying this building and making this investment at this time is prudent,” Selby said. “We feel like the economy is beginning to turn, especially in energy efficiency.”
Meadowlark Builders is also currently working to reinstate DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents program, which provided subsidies to help offset the cost of installing solar panels at Michigan homes and businesses. DTE discontinued the residential subsidies contained within the program in early May.