Former retreat sold, slated for development

Besides a few squirrels scampering about, the St. Lazare Retreat House grounds sit silent.
Marie Havenga
Jan 22, 2014

But all that will change in the coming months when the retreat house is razed to make way for a new neighborhood on one of the last large parcels of land on Spring Lake. The 23-acre property includes 700 feet of water frontage.

Local developer David Bos has purchased the St. Lazare Retreat House property at 18600 W. Spring Lake Road with his best friend, Dale Deppe.

“Right now, we’re in the planning stages,” Bos said. “We’re looking at an upscale, single-family community. We’re in preliminary meetings with township staff planners to make sure of what can and can’t be done.”

Bos operates David C. Bos Homes, which has developed Wildwood Springs, Briarwood Crossing, River Run and other residential communities in the area. Bos said he will respect the natural features of the former retreat property.

“I made commitments to the previous owners about being sensitive to the property,” he said. “It’s an incredible piece of ground. When you view it from West Spring Lake Road, you think it’s flat — it’s not. There’s a beautiful 24-foot-high ridge running right through the middle of the property that most people don’t even know is there.”

St. Lazare Retreat House was built in 1953 and served as a Catholic retreat center, primarily from the Grand Rapids Diocese. It closed this past July.

The facility was operated by the Vincentians, a community headquartered in Philadelphia and founded by St. Vincent DePaul in 1625.

Over the years, retreat attendance dwindled, according to Father Vincent O’Malley, its former director. The Vincentians decided to sell the property and use the proceeds to care for poor and aging priests.

Bos said the number of homes that will go up on the site is unknown at this time, but that he will steer away from high-density development.

“There’s a sense in which it’s a real responsibility to get it right,” he said.

Open space will be part of the site plan. Bos hopes to include a trail system that loops around the property’s pine forest.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


papa bear

Such a shame more housing what a bad idea and a waste of such beautiful property, a bunch of money grubbing people shame on you david bos you could do better with the property.


It makes me wonder how many people feel the same as us. Could there be enough of us to have the development stopped?

Tri-cities realist

Too late. Your opportunity to have a say in what happened to the property was when it was up for sale. Since you don't own the property, you have no right to determine what is done with it. Novel concept of private property ownership.


You are a brilliant person, thank you so much for pointing that out to me. In all my years I can't believe someone is finally bringing that to my attention. You are also not completely correct. It happens all of the time, that is why there is a planning board that you can bring your concerns to and if enough people do that, the planning board can put regulations on what can and can't be done with the property. There is no need to be a Jack hole to me about it, I only commented what I would like to see happen with a part of the property. Or are you infatuated with me also? Sorry, I am happily married.


But hey TCR or BigDeal, if you ever want to go for coffee or play some cards let me know. Always up for that. You might just enjoy getting to know me.

Barry Soetoro

How about a Beer Summit?


I like the idea.


Count me in.


I'll hopefully be at the sled pull tonight. I'll be the one freezing my A off wondering why I was there instead of my nice warm house.


I'll be there too, watchingyou. I'll be the one drinking hot chocolate.


Sad really. With such little access to the lake for the public enjoyment, this would have been a perfect beach and recreation area. The land is quite beautiful.


a shame, but no surprise here. I'm sure they got a pretty penny for it. Bos is the best developer in the area right now, from personal experience. David will do what he says, not like many other developers.


Oh yes, Bos is reputable and is a man of his word. He is one of the few honest builders around anymore. I just hope he leaves the beach area as a part of his open space though. But like the Pontaluna Shores division, once the residents move in, the open space will likely be closed.


David Bos builds quality homes. I'm sure the development will be very nice.

Beach Gal

Why do so many people have knee-jerk reactions to development? An upscale subdivision should be viewed as something good, not something bad. The tax basis will increase, bringing in needed revenue, and the values of the surrounding homes will also rise. It's a classic win-win result.


what 'so many people' are you referring to?? 2 negative comments out of 5 does not qualify, sorry. Miss the coal tipple story?

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.