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415 Franklin Project


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Update and Vote Information (June 25, 2017)  415 Franklin Update

In the Press: “Plans Underway for 415 Franklin” – The Grand Rapids Times

The Project


415 Franklin Chapel entry

The 415 Project arose from Madison Church: Ford Campus’s need to find a permanent home in the community, and from Ed DeVries’ vision to see 415 Franklin St SE redeveloped as a Christ-centered building and resource for the community. The Ford Campus has been worshiping and growing in the Ford Academic Center since 2008. After eight years of growth, we are ready to permanently root ourselves in the community. In 2014 a worship space task force identified 415 Franklin as the best option to remain in the place our Church is called to – the Madison/Franklin neighborhood. In February 2015, DeVries Companies gifted the building and the associated parking lot to us, entrusting us to organize a coalition to redevelop the property to honor God and invest in the community.

The Vision

415 Franklin: exterior

415 Franklin: exterior

With input from local stakeholders and community residents we hope to assemble a variety of partnerships to develop the building into a place of systemic change, where God’s redemptive work takes place. We want to create a God-glorifying space where ideas and relationships are cultivated, job training and advancement are provided and businesses, ministries, and organizations work together to empower individuals.

We hope to shift the paradigm from ministering to a city to ministering with a city and our neighbors.  We know that God is working in our city and many of his people already live and work right in the Madison/Franklin corridor. We wish to collaborate respectfully with them rather than define the needs and design a program for them.


Ford Campus Staff — Left to right: Commissioned Pastor Jason Botbyl, Reaching In Director Jermale Eddie, Children’s Ministry Director Joanna DeMoor-Tannor, Reaching Out Director Sean Johnson, and Ford Campus Pastor Brad Knetsch

The Building Team

Layla Kuhl, Project Manager – AttorneyCaleb Gonzalez – Real Estate Attorney
Betsy Bascom -Retired Community Health NurseBen Johnson - Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity
Jeffrie Chappell – PNC Business BankerAnna Johnson -Greenhouse Programs Coordinator for Baxter Community Center
Bill DeJong – Alger Hardware Store OwnerRyan LaRue -Regional Director of Pine Rest
Deb DeJong - Preschool Teacher David Nyitray -Development Director at the Outdoor Discovery Center

Left to right: Caleb Gonzalez, Jeffrie Chappell, Layla Kuhl, Bill DeJong, Deb DeJong, Anna Johnson, Ben Johnson. Not pictured: Betsy Bascom, Ryan LaRue, David Nyitray.

The Advisors

Ed DeVries, DeVries CompaniesPastor Dave Beelen, Senior Pastor of Madison Church
Andy DeVries, Retired Director of Corporate Giving for Calvin CollegePastor Brad Knetsch, Lead Pastor of Madison Church: Ford Campus

Development & Partnerships

In addition to meeting with other organizations, we are also looking into development possibilities by consulting with architects and a tax credit specialist, reviewing the zoning agreement for 415 Franklin, reaching out to the City’s planning department, and reaching out to nonprofit developers. Development possibilities include low income rental housing, youth housing, leasing space to non-profit organizations, businesses, incubator ministries, start-up companies, and educational entities.

Due Diligence and Planning

415 Franklin: interior

415 Franklin: interior

Midtown Center in Holland, MI and City on a Hill in Zeeland, MI– two ministries that own and manage large buildings to provide low cost space to ministries, nonprofits, and businesses – are helpful models for our project. We have received information regarding the development costs and the ongoing costs of running both buildings, and are applying that information to determine the annual costs of a renovated 415 Franklin St SE. Our process is also being inspired by Glen Castle in Atlanta, GA and Lawndale Community Church in Chicago, IL two national community development successes.

We are developing an external fundraising strategy with guidance from experienced fundraisers. We are also reaching out to architects for assistance in determining the Ford Campus’s space needs and for an accurate assessment of the total cost of the project.

Webpage — Madison Church: Ford Campus | Contact —


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