The one on hall was moved from the original Union Station on Ionia when it was torn down. I could swear I've read a feature article on it's preservation that gave some of the backstory on how that happened, but I can't find it in a quick search. I did find this photo from when it was on Ionia, on pg 5 of this PDF. http://www.historygrandrapids.org/uploads/files/document/IoniaSW.pdf
I think I made my statement poorly. What I'm saying is that I don't thinking making the meters free would have any effect on the number of cars parking in an Ellis lot. It wouldn't "hurt his business" if the meters were free. If there is an open meter spot within walking distance of where someone wants to, they will park in it before choosing to parking in a garage, whether it is free or cost $2/hr.
Because of the limited nature of the on-street parking spaces, if you make them free for 2 hours, you're going to reduce turnover in those spaces and essentially drive MORE traffic to the garages because there will be less on-street spaces available. Or, people will just drive around more, looking for an even harder to find free parking space and increasing congestion.
I don't understand your logic. Are you saying that people currently pass up an open metered spot to park in an Ellis garage, because the meters cost too much? I haven't observed this to be the case, and I can't see it happening.
I rode by this yesterday. I also really love the physical presence this adds to the streetscape when looking down toward Wealthy. I still think the street-level facade of the North building is really terrible. I think that's the part I'm most disappointed with.
I work occasionally at the Grand Rapids Bicycle Company on E. Fulton and this Saturday we rented three bikes to some beer tourists from Chicago so they could go ride the White Pine Trail. They were staying downtown at the JW Marriott and walking and using Uber to get around.
A friend who works for Display Pack said they were moving to a former Wolverine Worldwide distribution center up a little south of Cedar Springs. If you take the White Pine Trail north of Rockford, you cross a dirt road and there's a big hulking building on your left. He said they are going in there. He didn't mention a timeline for the move, though.