By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
ROYALTON TOWNSHIP — Dr. Charlie Howenstine has wanted a new dental office ever since he moved into his current location in St. Joseph Township three years ago.
Now the longtime dentist will get his wish with a proposed 4,450-square-foot building at 3386 Niles Road in Royalton Township. The business will extend to Hollywood Road, with access to both roads.
After acquiring the business from Jeff Schmidt, who had started his dentist practice in Benton Harbor, Howenstine is changing the name and the size of his business.
“We’ve experienced such a growth that we feel we can get a bigger facility,” Howenstine said. “I knew that when we moved into the current location, it didn’t fit into my vision. The new location will have twice as many rooms extending from four operatories to eight operatories.”
The new dentistry will be called St. Joseph Dentistry, as opposed to Howenstine Dental. Howenstine said it will be the largest, state-of-the-art dentistry in Berrien County. The building will have the ability to support more than one dentist.
With a staff of six people, Howenstine said he expects that number to grow along with his clientele. His current dentistry is just down the road at 3012 Niles Ave. in St. Joseph Township.
“I expect that by having a new facility, we will see an increase in patients,” he said. “This is going to be a nice place. The township was terrific. We worked with the planning commission and made a presentation.”
Howenstine said he chose the location for convenience and patient visibility with its access points and proximity to I-94. With construction under way with the clearing of trees along Hollywood Road, the dentistry’s estimated completion date is the summer of 2016.
Ymker Building LLC – which builds the majority of dentistries in the area – is the main contractor.
Micah Taintor, project manager for Ymker Building, said work crews have been doing prep work on site for the last week.
While the project was going through the planning process, contractors ran into a township ordinance that required a minimum of 36 parking spaces with the size of the building that was proposed. The township allowed some leeway as the last renderings called for 29 spaces, allowing for as much green space as possible.
“We are excited to make this investment in the community,” Taintor said. “We think the building should be something nice to look at for customers and the quality of the building should reflect the quality that Dr. Howenstine and his staff provide.”
Based in Grand Rapids, Ymker Building has developed dental offices in 23 states. Taintor said they have staff in multiple locations across the country, but have done a lot of work in Southwest Michigan. One of their popular projects is the Stonegate Medical Park in St. Joseph.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Aug. 29, 2015)