COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE: Bellaire businessman reopens The Grand Victorian

BELLAIRE – Joe Lange would have never imagined that starting his business out of the trunk of his car over 18 years ago would lead to the multi-million dollar company he now owns today–and growing!

The foundation of his business began in Detroit over 18 years ago when he formed a contractor company that retained the majority of its business from federal government contracts.

As the company grew, so did Lange’s concern about choosing the best place to raise his daughter. His love for northern Michigan brought him to the small village of Bellaire, where he continued to embellish his success, purchasing three hotel properties within the last five years.

His most recent purchase is The Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast Inn, a historic home listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The B&B has the honor of being featured on the cover of Kathryn Bishop Eckert’s Buildings of Michigan, a well-known guide to the state’s most notable buildings.

The perfect Queen Anne-style mansion, with handsome gardens and beautiful detail in every corner of the home, is what prompted Patty Hill, Joe’s business manager, to mention the property.

“Patty was instrumental in my decision to buy the home,” Lange said. “She’s key to everything we’re trying to do with these properties and has my same vision. We want to create a ‘coming home’ atmosphere in The Grand Victorian–a place where the men can sit and grab a quick game of cards, mosey up to the antique bar or sit with their wives on the wicker furniture and just enjoy the sites and sounds of the charming village.”

Four handsomely-decorated Victorian rooms, each with their own bathroom, provide the opportunity for guests to step back in time and unwind.

The setting also affords opportunities for weddings, special banquets and parties.

The Stone Waters Inn on the River was Lange’s first purchase. It required a total renovation. A blend of Victorian flair and the casual and friendly atmosphere of northern Michigan was just the ambiance Joe was looking for.

“My properties have a laid-back atmosphere; people feel like they can relax here. Not only do they have several choices of custom-designed rooms and d├ęcor, the staff is friendly and inviting,” he said. “Ramona and Michael Belanger, my innkeepers for Stone Waters Inn, have created a place to ‘come home’ for our guests, and they love it!”

The magnificent hand-laid stone fireplace is a conversation piece for all the guests, as is the billiards table. The Inn features 11 rooms, each designed to capture the many flavors of northern Michigan.

But the atmosphere doesn’t stop there. Guests can enjoy the peaceful sound of the river as they rest on the huge wrap-around deck, or one of many little nooks created in stone river banks, with hammocks, benches and more.

The success of the Inn inspired Joe to expand. His second purchase was the Dream Acre Motel, a popular hideaway for many guests returning to the area.

With three properties in his name, Lange still credits his staff for his achievements.

“My staff is the key to my success,” he said. “I expect a lot and they deliver. Without them, I would not be where I am today!”BN