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Everything posted by walker

  1. So here's the proposal: MIBIZ: 552-unit-apartment-complex-planned-at-walker-golf-course-property If you can't read the MIBIZ article, here's the WOODTV story: WOODTV: the-pines-reimagined-vision-for-wyoming-golf-course-includes-apartments-dog-park
  2. No details yet but the same developer that is developing the English Hills golf course will be be submitting a proposal to develop the Pines Golf course in Wyoming for housing: WOODTV: owners-to-sell-the-pines-golf-course-in-wyoming-to-developer
  3. Elk closing their Comstock Park location: WOODTV: elk-brewing-closing-comstock-park-location
  4. Garrison Keillor, who for years was the big star at NPR but who is now persona non grata, apparently was in Holland last week and put on a show for a thousand or so old people in a basketball gym. He says some nice things about the experience. He gets around to it starting in the fifth paragraph of this link. The first four paragraphs are mostly a satire about why we should bad-mouth Canadians. The Holland comments on the other hand are sincere, at least I think they probably are: A very old person leads a sing-along of other old persons who can remember the words.
  5. I can't read the MIBIZ link because I'm not a subscriber and they say I've used up my free clicks. The WOODTV link below probably covers much of the same info but towards the bottom it contains a number of old photos I found interesting of the building and some of its history through the years: WOODTV: new-plans-for-former-j-gardellas-tavern-in-grand-rapids
  6. So to answer my own question, WOODTV reveals the new owner(s): WOODTV: 23-3m-deal-complete-meet-the-new-owners-of-green-ridge-square-mall They don't say if they intend to do anything with it though besides continuing to collect rent.
  7. Interesting Mlive article about the increasing Asian population in Kentwood. Kentwood ". . . saw its Asian population climb to 6,119 in 2020, up 90% from a decade ago, new census data show. Eleven percent of Kentwood’s population is now Asian, the largest proportion in Kent County. . . . Since 2006, Samaritas resettled 1,257 Burmese and Bhutanese refugees in West Michigan, an estimated 85% of whom were placed in Kentwood, officials say. The city’s once ample supply of rental housing, access to public transportation and bilingual services for school children made the city a natural fit for the group." Mlive: the-world-has-come-to-kentwood
  8. My brother e-mailed me asking me if I knew what was up with Green Ridge Square Mall. Not sure why he thought I might know. Not even sure why he cares. Alpine Ave. real estate is one of many topics I have no particular knowledge about. But maybe someone here knows. Here's what triggered his inquiry: WOODTV: owner-announces-plans-to-sell-green-ridge-square-mall press release: Retail-Value-Inc.-Announces-Contract-to-Sell-Green-Ridge-Square
  9. I meant the tunnel. I worded that poorly. I've edited it, so hopefully the original comment makes more sense now.
  10. The GR Press initially got their newsprint delivered by rail. There was a long rail siding on the Grand Trunk Railroad that ended under an overpass that went under I-196. There box cars of newsprint rolls were unloaded. There was a conveyer belt to take the newsprint to an underground storage area. Never saw the storage area but I imagine it was under the parking lot and a pretty good size. Probably big enough to stable a herd of elephants if you had the need for such a thing. Where was this tunnel you wrote about that's under Ottawa? Before DeVos Place was built, there was tunnel under Monroe that connected the city hall and the county building to the Hall of Justice and the Police Department. I'm not sure if it was open to the public. Edit: here's a discussion we had back in 2018 about the newsprint delivery system: tunnel under old GR Press on Michigan
  11. I was going to say it would be hard to tear down because it is on the historic register. But looking it up just now I see it was nominated but apparently if the owner objects it's not listed and at the time Azzar owned it and he objected. WIKI: Keeler Building I'm guessing what may be historic about it is it's an early example of the Chicago School of architecture, most notably the big windows: WIKI: Chicago School So I guess it's OK to tear down. Late edit: just an unrelated thought: since we are posting about underground tunnels on another thread, didn't the sidewalk in front of the Keeler Building collapse because of an underground tunnel?
  12. The tunnel predated DeVos Place and originally connected the Pantlind Hotel to the old Civic Auditorium, (later renamed the George Welsh Auditorium.) I think the original main purpose of the tunnel was to move catered food to the auditorium from the Pantlind kitchens. There was a very good restaurant in the basement of the Pantlind on the Lyon Street side called the Cypress Cellar. You could access it from inside the hotel but there was also an outside staircase enclosed in what looked like a big wooden barrel. The tunnel entrance was somewhere in the basement close to the restaurant dining area. When the shrine circus made its annual week-long visit to the Civic Auditorium, they stabled the elephants in the tunnel. The smells from the tunnel made for a unique dining experience if you happened to dine at the Cypress Cellar when the circus was in town.
  13. Here's a comment from December 2014 where we discussed the tunnel under Bridge Street by the Rowe. Wingbert provided a nice photo of the old tunnel. Unfortunately the link imbedded in his comment no longer works and the first one in my comment doesn't either but the second one does: old forgotten tunnel now removed
  14. What is now Monroe but was then called Canal Street was raised about four feet but unlike what I think happened in Seattle, the buildings themselves in Grand Rapids were raised and new foundations built underneath them. In Seattle I think when they raised the streets, the second floors of the buildings just became the ground floors and the former first floors and basements became basements and sub-basements. Someone might easily be able to prove me wrong but I think any tunnels or old storefronts that might be underground now in Grand Rapids are not there from when they raised the street level. In the following link they talk about how the Sweet Hotel, was raised while the hotel remained open. The Sweet Hotel was the predecessor to the Pantlind Hotel and was at the same location at the corner of Pearl and Canal (Monroe.) In fact until it was torn down when the new tower portion of the Amway Plaza was built, a portion of the Sweet Hotel still existed as the southwest corner of the Pantlind Hotel. That old portion housed two popular bars that you might remember if you are as old as me; the Backroom Saloon, and hidden like a speak easy behind an unmarked door, the Upstairs Saloon. They were decorated in the imagined ambience of drinking establishments from the late nineteenth century which of course was when the Sweet Hotel actually operated: raising-canal-street In Charles Belknap's book, The Yesterdays of Grand Rapids, he gives a personal account of the raising of the Sweet Hotel. This is a PDF of the whole book so you will need to slide down to page 67 for the story: Yesterdays of Grand Rapids EDIT: just found this photo of the west side of the Pantlind Hotel along Campau Street which was vacated when the tower was built. The five story building is the old remnant of the Sweet Hotel: back of-the Pantlind Hotel - old Sweet Hotel EDIT2: Google has for some reason blocked the Yesterdays of Grand Rapids link. It worked fine when I first posted it and it is/was on one of their own sites. Maybe too many people clicking at the same time on an obscure book made them nervous. Sorry. EDIT3: University of Michigan also has the book online. Here's a link right to the page where the raising of the Sweet Hotel is discussed: U of M: Yesterdays of Grand Rapids page 67
  15. Jokes involving ducks are rare. I posted one here back on January 18, 2011. Haven’t run across another one since then till the other day. Here’s the new one: Three guys die together in an accident and go to heaven. When they get there, St. Peter says, "We only have one rule here in heaven: Don't step on the ducks!" So, they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and although they try their best to avoid them, the first guy accidentally steps on one. Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest woman he has ever seen. St. Peter chains them together and says, "Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity chained to the ugly woman!" The next day, the second guy steps accidentally on a duck, and along comes St. Peter, who doesn't miss a thing, and with him is another extremely ugly woman. He chains them together with the same admonishment as for the first guy. The third guy has observed all this and not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly woman, is very, VERY careful where he steps. He manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St. Peter comes up to him with the most gorgeous woman he has ever laid eyes on: a very tall, tan, curvaceous, sexy blonde. St. Peter chains them together without saying a word. The guy remarks, "I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all of eternity?" She says, "I don't know about you, but I stepped on a duck!" In case you don't remember it or possibly weren't born yet, here's a link to the joke I posted back in 2011: a duck walks into a bar
  16. I don't know. One of the things that I noticed on the map is that several streets on the west side of the river have the same names as streets on the east side such as Washington. In those cases maybe the names were changed in order to eliminate any confusion. I found a link that explains the origin of some of the names. Many are not what you would think, for instance Bridge Street was named after someone named Bridge and not because of the bridge on Bridge Street. The most interesting is Veto Street which was named Veto because the Common Council vetoed all the other proposed names. origins of some GR street names This next link lists all the street name changes in alphabetical order and when they happened but not necessarily why: GR street name changes
  17. Raildude's dad likely would know better than me, but I think Hynes Ave, the east service drive, was created because the 131 expressway cut off any other practical access to the west side of the freight yard. That's not to say its placement couldn't be revisited.
  18. Someone posted this map of GR from 1853 in reddit. I thought it was pretty interesting. After you pull-up the link, you can greatly expand the map to make it readable by clicking on it: 1853_Grand_Rapids
  19. That was the Lafayette Medical Center which opened in 1960. It was once a prime example of a mid-century modern medical building. Here's a good "then and now" slide show of the building and something about its architectural history: Lafayette Medical Center This was the first stop on mail route #390 back when I was a mail carrier. I was assigned this route often when I was first just a substitute because the regular old mailman had a gimpy leg and took a lot of time off. Later I was the permanent swing man for what was mostly the southern portion of what became the Heritage Hill District and route 390 was one of my five routes. Mail carriers rotate a day off per six day week and the swing man covers the routes on their off days.
  20. Some nice renderings and a site map included in this article about DDA district boundaries being expanded to include Spectrum Health project property: WOODTV: spectrum-health-hq-project-clears-another-hurdle-in-grand-rapids Edit: just noticed the site map and renderings were already posted here back in the spring but the rest of the story is new.
  21. Many of you here have been intrigued by the idea of living in a shipping container. Maybe the next evolution of this concept is to live in a Quonset hut (you know - those roundish metal temporary housing units favored by the military around WWII - think of the building where Gomer Pyle lived while serving in the Marines on TV.) Saturday the Detroit Free Press had a story about a developer from NYC who has moved to Detroit and has bought some distressed property just north of Corktown and is building a community featuring Quonset huts. The Free Press story is behind a paywall: FREE PRESS: detroit-core-city-project-buildings-land So because you likely aren't going to buy a six month subscription just to read this article, I've included some other links that describe this project: This is from the developer's website - http://www.princeconcepts.com/015-the-caterpillar-detroit This next link is of an article a couple of years old but explains what the guy is trying to do - https://seenthemagazine.com/philip-kafka-detroit/ Renting a Quonset hut apartment isn't cheap. I'm not going to fish my hardcopy of the paper out of the trash but I think the Free Press article said renting one was around $1000 - $1300 a month, so they are not in the price range of the surrounding neighborhood where the average family income in under $30K. And the developer has been been accused of favoring gentrification after he foreclosed on a popular but inexpensive neighborhood restaurant. Unrelated comment on Quonset huts: back sometime I guess after the end of WWII till around 1980 there were several Quonset hut homes scattered along the north side of 44th Street between Clyde Park and Byron Center Rd. They gradually all disappeared. They had nothing to do with the National Guard Armory being across the street since the Armory wasn't there till the mid sixties. Just a guess but I suspect they were war surplus that had been purchased as kits and were put up during the housing shortage just after WWII. So the Quonset hut experiment was once tried here and they didn't survive. Detroit Quonset Hut Apartment Building photo credit: JC Reindl Detroit Free Press
  22. When I was searching around for the Wikipedia entry for the Trust Building the other day, I ran across this listing of all the National Register of Historic Places in Kent County. Some are pretty obscure including two separate small bridges over Plaster Creek (one of which was torn down and replaced and no one apparently cared.) You can click on any entry and bring up its history: WIKIPEDIA: National Register of Historic Places listings in Kent County
  23. The planning commission approved adding a floor to the old section of the building: WOODTV: grand-rapids/mien-company's-new-plan-for-old-baker-furniture-building-gets-ok The old part of the building was built in 1872. That was before steel framing so likely the building is supported mostly by the external walls. I've been in the building and the walls are thickest on the first floor and are thinner as you go up. Hopefully they have accounted for that. Probably the oldest steel framed building in Grand Rapids is the Trust Building built in 1892, one of the earliest skyscrapers anywhere.. Even with the steel framing, the thickness of the Trust Building's external walls diminishes as you go higher. So even with the steel, either they didn't quite trust the new technology or they hadn't yet figured out how to hang walls. Trust Building Wiki Edit: Actually, taking a look just now at the Baker proposal, I think where they are proposing the new floor may have been an addition built sometime much later than 1872. If you look at the 1918 photo in the WOODTV link you can see that this section of the building doesn't show. So I don't know for sure what holds that part of the building up. But the above is still a good story so I'm sticking with it.
  24. Here's the Chinese solution for fast affordable housing: China Expandable Container House in ten minutes
  25. Headline: "Delivery of brewing tanks ‘a big step’ in bringing German beer hall to Grand Rapids" MLIVE
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