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Peregrine Takes Flight in Kalamazoo

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Natalie Huff Valentine

For those of you who have lived in Kalamazoo any length of time, you may have already had the pleasure of meeting the engaging and intelligent businesswoman Natalie Huff Valentine. As the President of Peregrine Company - a real estate management, leasing, and development company in downtown Kalamazoo, she continues to seek opportunities to help and improve the community that she is passionate about.

"Growing up in Kalamazoo was a wonderful experience. I kind of always knew it was a special place where people were helpful, giving, and participated in the community events. But it wasn't until I returned from college that I understood the extent to which our residents are vested in this community," shared Valentine.

She went on to explain, "Countless people give their time, money, and talent to making this town special. There are so many examples of this including out thriving arts scene, the Kalamazoo Promise, the expansion of our trail systems, and of course the exciting changes happening in our beautiful downtown."

Although Natalie didn't realize at the time that her career path was going to lead her right back to downtown Kalamazoo when she left for college her varied experiences definitely helped mold her into the businesswoman she is today.

While in college, Natalie worked as a bank teller; then upon graduation, she considered moving to Chicago to pursue an opportunity with Merrill Lynch, but chose instead to take a position at Triple S Plastics, a plastic injection molding company, to perform marketing and public relations tasks and later transitioned into customer relations and inside sales.

Although Natalie did take some time off her growing career to stay home with her three children, she slowly became involved with her father, Tom Huff- attorney, real estate developer and restaurateur, and his many projects.

Initially, Natalie got involved with the restaurants doing their books, but as her dad's real estate development company grew, she started getting more involved with the development, design, and financial aspects of the business.

This began her blossoming career with the family business.

Valentine shared, "I love working for the family business. It is a real blessing to be able to spend so much time with my dad. He has taught me so much about business, finance, risk and life."

She went on to explain, "I also want to recognize my mom's role in the growth of the Peregrine Company. Without her support, input, and design talent, my dad would not have ventured from practicing law into real estate development."

As many children do, Valentine also taught her dad a few things as she worked diligently to bring 21st-century technology to the company and restaurants. Currently, her work endeavors focus on 73 luxury residential units, various commercial properties that include both retail and office space and parking venues.

"Downtown Kalamazoo is emerging as a great place to live. It has so much to offer residents. We explain it to prospective tenants as a 'lifestyle' where all of your entertainment, dining, and in many cases career opportunities are right outside your door. It is an exciting time!"

So, what's on the horizon for Peregrine the company? Peregrine 100, a 46,000-square foot development that will be housed in the old PNC building, is well underway. A two-phase development is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017. Phase 1 is comprised of 12 apartments and a parking garage, set to be completed by the end of the first quarter. Phase 2 will consist of 7,000-11,000 square feet of commercial space, plus four additional luxury apartments that will round out the project.

Valentine shared these words of wisdom for up and coming entrepreneurs that she has learned.

"You have to be comfortable taking some risks. It took me a while to develop the confidence to take on some challenging projects. You also must find qualified, talented, and reliable people to form your work team."

She went on to explain about the team, "I am grateful every day for Arnie Bunkley, our architect; Fidel Coronado, our builder; Janine Scott, our leasing manager; and Ron Conley, our maintenance person. We all perform different roles, but having the expertise and experience makes the process of developing, managing, and leasing pretty seamless."

As for what's on the horizon for Valentine? It appears full steam ahead for the business. "Peregrine has been growing at a pretty fast rate," shared Valentine.

And with Valentine at the helm, the business shows no signs of slowing down. For more detail information on properties visit peregrinecompany.com.

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