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walker last won the day on May 9 2012

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  1. walker

    UP Advice

    I kind of like the way it is. You and your wife have done a nice job with it. It’s already got the modern and old look that GRLaker suggests. I suspect that the building originally had wood siding so I don’t mind the current siding at all although I’m guessing it is vinyl not wood. Having said that, design isn’t my field, I’m sure someone else with more imagination than me can come up some excellent ideas. If it were my building though, I’d be thinking that with increased value in the neighborhood I might be thinking about flipping it, so I wouldn’t be spending much more money on it except for the roof. But that’s just me, sounds like your wife intends to stay.
  2. walker

    East Beltline Developments

    You underestimate how long we boomers intend to hang around. I'm one of the older boomers and I will only be eighty-one in ten years and I plan on still being here and posting on this forum. I'll probably just make even less sense and ramble more than I do now.
  3. walker

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    Interesting that they are using the much bigger A319 on the PHX route compared to the ERJ175 on the new Miami route, A319 124 seats vs ERJ175 76 seats. I think the choice was because the ERJ175 range might be just a few miles short of making it to Phoenix. The A319 is a nice mainline plane but it is going to be little tougher to fill the plane.
  4. walker

    New projects on the West Side

    Both D&W and Forest Hills Foods were once known for their produce but the common thread for both is that they were bought out by Spartan-Nash and they are becoming more and more like Family Fare. I agree that Meijer does a pretty good job with produce, at least at the stores where I shop. Of course what helps Meijer is volume. High turnover keeps the produce fresh.
  5. walker

    New projects in East Hills

    They had me name them as beneficiaries so I guess they had an incentive.
  6. walker

    Packard Plant redevelopment

    In order to keep this forum crawling along, I'm posting this update that appeared in the Detroit News the other day: "Developers of the Packard Plant project celebrated the progress of cleaning up the four-story administration building Saturday at a private party with family and friends. The first phase of the project broke ground in May 2017, which included revitalizing the administration building and a nearby building. The project is estimated to cost $23 million and developer Fernando Palazuelo is financing the entire project himself. Palazuelo touted the progress they have made in the last year having ripped up the floor, cleared asbestos and saved historical contents from the former auto plant administration building at 1580 East Grand Blvd." developers-celebrate-progress-packard-plant-cleanup Looking at the accompanying video, everyone looks happy at the party but it looks like they've still got a long way to go. Here's a link to the project's website: Packard Plant Project Website
  7. walker

    New projects in East Hills

    This is more than you want to know but just for my own curiosity and to verify my memory, I stopped at the downtown library and did some quick research. The 1957 Polk Directory shows the building’s address as 11 Fuller SE and its name is the Fuller Building. There are some insurance agencies listed as tenants but not John Hancock. I know John Hancock eventually was in there because in the mid-sixties I used to mail in premiums to that building for a whole life policy my parents talked me into buying. Back then there were not big computers in some centralized main office to process payments, you mailed your premiums to a local office. The 1954 Polk Directory shows it as a vacant building but with the address 1163 Baldwin (the side street.) The 1951 Polk Directory shows it as Baldwin Christian School. I turned five in late 1951 and I was eight in 1954 when it was listed as vacant. That means I was pretty young when I remembered this, specially considering the Polk Directories tended to be a year out of date by the time they were published. So armed with that, I Googled “Baldwin Christian School Grand Rapids” and among other things, turned up the recent Mlive article in the link below that tells about converting the old Eastern Elementary School and this building to apartments. It mentions a little more history of the building including when it was built: The building has been vacant since last December, when the church moved out after using it as an office building since the late 1960s. The property was originally developed in 1905 as the Coade Avenue Christian School and later renamed Baldwin Christian School [when the street was renamed.] It closed in the mid-1950s. Former school buildings approved for conversions into apartments I can’t find an early picture of it on the interweb to verify it was an all wood structure, but digging deeper into Google I think there might be an image in the restricted Calvin College archives. Short of converting to Christian Reformed, I don’t think I’d be given access. I suppose I could do that but what would happen if they didn't have an image or it turned out I was remembering wrong?
  8. walker

    Grandville Castle Apartments

    I’d agree, except I’d say it’s a matter of degree. I think properties could be rated on a scale like the walkability index. I think the castle property characteristics would give it an extremely low score even compared to most of your other suburban apartment complexes. OK, in order to save Grandville from ruin, I’ve edited it to list something that at least promises jobs instead.
  9. walker

    Grandville Castle Apartments

    All true Joe, and I too hope they succeed and I’m wrong because I hate to see people lose money and what else are you going to do with it if it doesn’t work. But here is the main problem I have with it - whether it is an absurd faux castle, or it is a more conventional apartment complex, or an office park, or even if it was still a trailer park, the problem is the property itself. All sides of it are border vacuums: There is no convenient way a resident can easily interact with the rest of the community short of getting in their vehicle and driving somewhere else. I think someone wrote here that you could bike or walk over to the brewery on Chicago Drive or over to Millennium Park. It wouldn’t be many trips before Karen Dunnam, aka Veloise, would be planting one of her white ghost bikes to mark the spot of your demise. OK, onsite there’s going to be a fountain, and a miniature horse stable, and some kind of deli restaurant, and some kind of little library that looks like the library in a Disney movie. All that is going to be pretty boring after about two weeks. It’s going to feel like you’re living in an extended stay hotel out by the highway on a business trip. I’ve done that many times. It’s not how you want to live. I don’t think many people are going to stay past their initial lease. This reminds me somewhat of the buildings that went up downtown after the sixties urban renewal when all the new buildings were islands on to themselves (although they were not as isolated as the castle.) Back then I remember going to a meeting when a promoter of urban renewal gave a speech and said what a great boon it would be for downtown retail because all the ladies that worked in these wonderful new buildings would feel like dressing up and they’d go buy expensive clothes at Wurzburg’s, and Herpolsheimer’s, and Steketee's. Didn’t happen, the ladies took the elevators to the basement parking ramps of the new buildings and drove away in their cars. So, what is this property good for? If we could go back a couple of years before the construction really got going and the cranes came in I’d say; a casino, or an Amazon warehouse, or a factory that makes reinforced concrete slabs, or maybe an extended stay hotel. If you feel like reading some really tedious articles, Google “border vacuums”.
  10. I agree with you and what GVSUChris wrote. Except I hope that some of what is discussed here has at least occasionally a little influence on the real world.
  11. walker

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    Here's what I wrote on a different forum a few months ago in response to a post by MJLO about what the reason might be: One reason for the big increase that’s not mentioned in the article might be the new Founder’s Brewpub between concourse A and B. Because it’s on the other side of security you need to buy a plane ticket to get through security to get to it. Any actual travel is just an incidental byproduct. Sure, that’s a big expense but for beer fanatics it’s no different than what rock fanatics spend for concert tickets to see an aging rock star.
  12. walker

    Hey, what's that?

    Googled Baker Wagons and Sleighs and came up with this story that channel 17 did last week: grand-rapids-family-history-revealed-on-west-side-renovated-building
  13. walker

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    Here's the press release that gives a few more details: Frontier adding seasonal service to Tampa and Phoenix-Sky Harbor Remember, this isn't the only service to Phoenix. Allegiant already has been flying limited service to the Phoenix/Mesa airport. Same with Tampa, Southwest is already flying seasonal service to Tampa. Both of the new Frontier routes are also seasonal.
  14. walker

    New projects in East Hills

    I’m always surprised that this building keeps getting re-invented. The building is much older than it looks, exactly how old I’m not sure. This wasn’t my neighborhood but in the fifties I’d regularly go by here when my mother would drive us down Fuller to get to my grandparent’s house. Back then it was a three-story old elementary school. And as unbelievable as it might seem, I’m pretty sure it was all wood with no brick. I was under the impression that it was closed as a school because it was considered a fire hazard. Sometime around 1960 give or take a year or two, the brick facade was added when it was remodeled into an office building with John Hancock Insurance as the main tenant. John Hancock didn’t stay there very long and there have been many other occupants since then.
  15. walker

    Van Andel Arena Expansion?

    "The Detroit Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps have agreed to a two-year extension of their current player development contract. The agreement, announced Wednesday, keeps Tigers prospects playing at Fifth Third Ballpark through the 2022 season." Mlive: Tigers, Whitecaps agree to extension So I guess we don't need to talk about this again for a couple more years.