$17.1M Lake Michigan family retreat was built by Bible collector - mlive.com

$17.1M Lake Michigan family retreat was built by Bible collector

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, MI - In the mid-1990s, Chicago financier Robert Van Kampen, the late founder of Van Kampen Investments, built Stonegate, a family retreat and "scriptorium" to house his collection of rare Bibles in the dunes overlooking Lake Michigan.

His family recently listed the 129-acre estate with 2,400 feet of lakefront for $17.1 million.

The property includes a three-story lakefront home, a separate pool house and spa that includes an indoor golf simulator, a guest house, a caretaker's house and maintenance building.

Realtor Tami Swart of @HomeRealty Lakeshore also has listed the seven-bedroom home and pool house separately for $6.9 million. The surrounding 120 acres, which includes the five-bedroom guest house and a four-bedroom caretaker's house, is being listed separately for $10.2 million.

Van Kampen's $7.5 million home on the property was demolished in 2004 after it failed to sell in the wake of his death in 1999. His widow, Judith Van Kampen, vacated the scriptorium in 2002 and moved the 5,000-piece Bible collection to the Holy Land Experience, a Christian theme park in Orlando, Fla. A tennis court now sits atop the abandoned building.

Son-in-law David and Kristen Wisen, Van Kampen's daughter, are selling their 8,481-square-foot house now that their six children have grown and moved on. They are planning to relocate to a new home farther north.

David Wisen, who has been pastor of the Harvest Bible Church in Spring Lake for the past five years, said they also are keeping a condominium in Grand Haven so they can stay close to his flock.

Though the spacious luxury home is on some of the most exclusive property in the Midwest, the Wisens made it a sanctuary and retreat for their church members, friends in need of shelter, fellow pastors and Christian songwriters seeking an inspirational retreat.

Wisen, who once oversaw the family's real estate holdings and rescued Spring Lake-based International Aid from insolvency in 2010, said they used Stonegate to inspire their friends and parishioners to find happiness in their relationships with God and each other, not the trappings that came with the family's wealth.

Visitors who enter the gated property at 13213 Lakeshore Drive follow a winding paved road that leads to the Wisens' home, which was completed in 1994.

The Wisens' house was built to commercial standards with insulated floor-to-ceiling windows designed for skyscrapers. A full-sized elevator whisks passengers up to the main living area on the second floor.

The over-sized gourmet kitchen, updated with travertine flooring and Pyrolave countertops in 2007, is the heart of the house, Kristen Wisen said. "Everybody wants to stand in the kitchen," she said, noting the cooktop was angled to offer the chef a view of the big lake.

The living room, with a fieldstone fireplace and vaulted ceiling that soars 24 feet overhead, is large enough to accommodate up to 80 guests during their "parties with the pastor," David Wisen said.

Upstairs, there's a master suite with a marble-floored bathroom and custom glass tiles on the vanities and walk-in shower. The third level also includes three bedrooms with a "Jack and Jill" bathroom connecting them and a laundry with dual washers and dryers.

The first floor includes a theater room with two widescreen televisions, a concession to the family's multiple tastes in entertainment and video games.

"We can watch a romantic comedy and have a Bulls game on at the same time," said David Wisen with a smile.

The first level also includes two bedrooms that were added to the original floorplan after the Wisens adopted three children from Romania.

The ground level, added to the original blueprints to achieve a better view of the lake, includes the "stadium," a large carpeted room that has served as an indoor sports court for their kids over the years.

But most of the fun occurred at the hexagonal-shaped pool house the Van Kampen family built in the woods in 1998.

The 4,339-square-foot pavilion features a hot tub and saltwater swimming pool that is 12 feet deep on one end to allow diving and four feet deep at the other end for water basketball games.

The pool house includes an indoor computerized golf simulator, a foosball table, air hockey and dressing rooms and showers stocked with bathing suits of all sizes for guests who came without one.

On top of a nearby dune, a five-bedroom guest house was used as a retreat for pastors, songwriters and their families and offers its own postcard views of the big lake. The 1,660-square-foot caretaker's house includes four bedrooms.

The property includes 2,400 feet of sandy beach that brackets another home built by the Van Kampens but not on the market.

This aerial photograph shows Stonegate's properties. The site of Robert Van Kampen's former home and "scriptorium" is shown in the parcel on the right. The home owned by David and Kristen Wisen is show on the center right while the guest house is shown on the parcel to the left.

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Jim Harger covers business for MLive/Grand Rapids Press. Email him at jharger@mlive.com or follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google+.