Expanding Welcome

Master Builder

By Kate Klemp July 6, 2023

On a recent hot summer day, a crowd gathered to celebrate strength in diversity and connection in distinctions. TreeTops Collective is a non-profit organization created to bring refugees into flourishing community, interlacing work, conversation, support and opportunity.

Wolverine Building Group joined the mission, renovating a portion of their warehouse space into co-working areas, offices, meeting rooms, event space, childcare and a kitchen. The project began as a conversation that grew to vision, amplified by community action, and recently celebrated its ribbon cutting. Beyond Wolverine’s extensive experience in adaptive reuse construction, the project fit well with our purpose statement “Positively Impacting People and Communities.”

Turning this unfulfilled space into an intentional gathering destination called for construction management with higher goals, including support for women led organizations.

“There is no limit to what we can do now.”
– TreeTops Collective Member

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The reimagined space will comfortably host social enterprise businesses, co-location of partner refugee agencies, training and translation services, as well as a hub for cross-cultural collaboration. Big ideas that came to pass through a complete interior demolition of the 5,130 square foot warehouse space behind the current cramped offices. Wolverine’s team brought the space down to the studs, cut through concrete to add extensive plumbing for the kitchen and several bathroom additions. The space was transformed when a loading dock was replaced with new masonry and a new accessible entrance was added, enclosing the new event space.

New flooring, walls, interior finishes and entirely new rooms were designed and installed to become a physical manifestation of welcome. By imaging the new space, TreeTops has illuminated the value of New Americans in our communities. Through Wolverine’s construction leadership, the vision takes on reality – making a physical space that honors how essential cross-cultural experience is to our American identity.

“As an immigrant myself, I was honored to manage this project with our team,” said Daniel Escobar-Bercini, Project Manager for Wolverine Building Group. “Watching the people that gather, learn, and work here now engaging and embracing the building is definitely rewarding.”

The community that comprises the collective felt similar to Daniel. “When they began construction, it seemed beyond anyone’s imagination to transform this space,” said Munria Mohamed, affectionately called ‘Mama.’ “Looking at it now, the building is more than a dream come to life. There is no limit to what we can do now.”

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