The reason that the interchange is designed the way it is, is to save space. By flipping the northbound and southbound lanes of 131, the planners were able to avoid a cloverleaf intersection, which would have destroyed twice as much of the west side (including the Union High School and St. Mary's Church).
I definitely think the best solution would have been to not have any expressway downtown at all, but you can't just drop all of that traffic onto an on-grade city street, especially if most of it is try to get through downtown, not to downtown.
I think this will be the first company to move into those floors since DTE moved Michcon out of there in 2000. I have checked periodically over the years and they have always been vacant on McKinley's website.
That is one beautiful piece of Art Deco. Too bad it couldn't have held out a few more decades; there's enough interest in the south side today that it might have had a chance.
While I do remember all of the houses that were demolished between Mt. Vernon and Winter on the west side, I don't remember the old Purple East building, even though I know it has been mentioned on this forum before. Does anyone happen to have an image or link to that?
I think valet parking is highly preferable to creating additional surface lots for all of the people who don't like hunting for parking. The restaurant at the end of my street here in Cincinnati (in a neighborhood very much like East Hills) offers valet parking too, and I have noticed that a fair number of people use it.
True, but that sort of mindset is the one that is destroying our cities. Everyone that can afford it cannot live in less than 10 year old houses all the time. Otherwise, everyplace will turn into Metro Detroit, where people are continually moving outward in search of open land for new houses. The old houses will go to increasingly lower income residents, and the core will be continuously drained of people.
As someone else said, short of bulldozing the center city and starting over (sorry, we tried that--it was called the 60s), there's not much you can do about the housing stock. It is older and smaller, and anyone who doesn't like that is going to have to spend money on renovations. Instead it's going to take some creativity to start luring people back in (or the end of affordable oil prices, whichever comes first). In that case, I don't think it is a bad idea to emulate aspects of the suburbs. I don't think that the city should physically look like the suburbs, but having neighborhoods that are safe, good education, close, reliable services are not bad things by any stretch, and the perception of these things are about as important as their actuality.
(btw, thank you x99 for starting this discussion; it's probably the most active one we've had on here in a long time).
It is definitely now part of the police station (the part with the big arched window wall). I believe it actually still had part of its original facade (above the second floor facing Monroe Center) prior to the police station renovation.
If you read the literature of the time, it was because most of the buildings above didn't look nearly as beautiful and pristine as they do in those photographs and drawings. They were dirty, deteriorating, out of fashion in a society that preferred all things modern. With the wealthy moving outward the businesses were more and more occupied by "less classy" establishments or just went vacant altogether. Apparently the almost every building in the Civic Center urban renewal district was empty above the first floor by the 1950s (you can see as much in the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps).
You will also see that people didn't hate this architecture; many saw its significance and lamented its destruction, but thought it was necessary to build new in order to keep downtown from becoming urban blight. The most successful model of development at the time was the suburbs, and so the new civic center emulated a suburban office park.
This definitely wasn't just a Michigan phenomenon; it happened all over the country in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Urban renewal was federally sponsored and heavily promoted.
I think the good point that Raildudes dad just brought up is that we are really going about this backwards. Basically some of us are saying "We like cul-de-sac'd streets; where is some place in Grand Rapids that we can implement them to solve some perceived problems?" The better methodology is to identify a neighborhood with a problem, such as the Wyoming example, then study the specifics of the problem carefully before coming up with a solution. Even Oscar Newman, who created the Defensible Spaces approach (way back in 1972) lamented that many communities have attempted to implement his ideas either without following through or by applying them to the wrong situations.