Village West condos now fully occupied


With every unit of Village West Condominiums now occupied, owner Doug Loose looks back on a very busy two years with a sense of gratitude.

After all, the 46-unit, 10-building complex was nearly abandoned by its homeowners association after suffering heavy flooding following dam failures in May 2020.

“We got our last permits on May 5 (2022). We were full on May 13,” Loose said. “The mayor (Maureen Donker) was very helpful. City inspectors made sure all of our stuff was up to date.”

Loose said 33 of the units had long-term tenants, while the rest were fully furnished and designed as short-term accommodation. Sixteen Dow interns will be living at Village West for the summer, he said.

Village West, which was built in 1987, sits just east of Northwood University and is close to the Tittabawassee River and Sturgeon Creek. It was in the crosshairs when the Tittabawassee flooded just over two years ago.

The Daily News reported in June 2020 that the Village West board initially voted unanimously not to repair the condos – in light of the extent of the flood damage they had suffered and potential requirements for them to meet strict building codes for flooded residences that are repaired in a flood plain.

However, Loose stepped in with his own proposal. In late June, he offered to buy all 46 units, repair any flood damage and rent to those who wanted to stay on a lifetime lease at a reduced rate. Most of the residents at the time were elderly.

After holding two collective meetings with the residents and a few individual follow-up meetings, Loose came to an agreement with the 46 owners to buy all the condos. The $4.2 million purchase, brokered by Modern Realty and funded in part by Frankenmuth Credit Union, was completed in August 2020.

Many cowardly contractors then set to work repairing the condos.

“We had over 100 contractors on site,” he noted.

Supply chain delays were an obstacle that needed to be overcome in the process of repairing all units.

“We couldn’t caulk for months. We had to improvise,” Loose said.

He said some companies have really stepped up to help Village West, including a local company, Builders Plumbing & Heating Supply, as well as Home Depot, Menards and others.

“We struggled, but we made it,” Loose said.

An international community

Over the past two years, the occupants of Village West have turned over almost 100%. Loose’s mother and stepfather, Sharon and Bob Weaver, are the only remaining May 2020 tenants. Loose and his wife, Virginia, who married in March this year, moved into one of the apartments themselves.

Virginia grew up in Costa Rica and is one of many international residents who now live in Village West. Others, she said, come from Korea, China, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, Ethiopia and South Africa.

In fact, so many non-native English speakers moved to Village West – about 22 currently – that Doug Loose realized there was a need for English education there.

“So I went to ETC (Education and Training Connection) and we came up with a plan,” he explained.

An English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom has been set up in a basement of one of the units, and an ESL instructor visits Village West once a week for three to four hours to teach residents who have varying levels of English proficiency. Instruction is free, Loose said.

“ESL will help us (non-native English speakers) get better jobs,” Virginia said.

Village West’s international influence has also fostered cross-cultural understanding. Residents shared meals with each other from their respective countries.

Meet the needs of tenants

Another resident, Louis DeWeaver, said his family moved into Village West in February 2021 and was the second tenant – after Sharon and Bob Weaver – to move in after reconstruction.

Having previously worked at Northwood, DeWeaver knew Village West very well. So when he learned that the condos were being repaired, he was immediately interested in moving in.

The quality of the units and the flexibility of the Looses to allow tenants to make interior changes sold DeWeaver and his family on Village West.

“Why buy a house when I can just stay here? I end up renting cheaper than owning,” said DeWeaver, who works remotely in cybersecurity for a firm in New York.

The DeWeaver family’s two dogs enjoy the adjacent woods, and the family attends the bonfires the Looses sometimes host for all Village West residents.

“It feels like family,” enthused DeWeaver. “Doug is the best owner I’ve had.”

Loose said he and Virginia are doing their best to work with potential tenants who need financial assistance, knowing that the housing market in Midland, among many other places, is very tight.

Loose is pleased that Village West condos are available as an option for residents of Midland.

“If you take 46 units off the market right now (that would further reduce housing options),” Loose said.


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