I currently own 4, but in the past few years I've owned over 2 dozen different 1911s. If you know you're going to set one up to your personal specs, the Springer Mil-Spec is a great platform to build on. Make sure it's a Mil-Spec and not a GI though as I see lots of GIs being advertised as Mil-Specs. Easy to spot though as the Mil-Spec has angled cocking serrations and the GIs are vertical.
The Springers used forged frames and their build quality and customer service is very good. Don't worry about the parts being forged in Brazil as IMBEL has been doing this for a long time and makes a good product. For an entry level gun to build on - these are hard to beat for the money. The only drawback in my opinion is they only come in parkerized or stainless - and I really like blued guns.
For value and "historical" reasons don't overlook a Colt. My latest purchase was a NIB Colt Commander for $695 at my local store. It's accurate, reliable, makes a good carry gun - and it's a Colt. The fact that it's a nice blue finish was the final selling point for me as it is just a pretty gun. Should you decide to carry one, a Commander is just a little lighter and shorter which helps some. Mine is staying as is - I like simplicity over bells & whistles.
As far as Kimber goes, I currently own a 1st series (circa 1997) Gold Match and it's a great target quality gun. I've owned some recent models as well and they're solid guns. Since you intend to build one to your needs, why spend the extra money up front for things you may not want or need.
Anyway, this is my 2 cents on the matter and here's a pic of my Colt and my Kimber...