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About woz

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  • Birthday 01/09/1974

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    Grand Rapids, Mich.
  1. Gallery on Fulton

    Since The New York Times has been so hot on GR lately, maybe their real estate section ought to do a story on this prime piece of undeveloped land just sitting there in the heart of this city. Donald Trump reads the Times real estate section, right?
  2. Health Hill/Medical Mile Developments

    He's tight-lipped because he probably thinks there are mainstream media-types lurking around here ...
  3. Health Hill/Medical Mile Developments

    Evidently GRDad knew about this hotel component back in September 2005, but it feels like news to me.
  4. Rowe Hotel- Olds Manor

    Does anybody besides me ever wonder how much more vibrant our downtown (and our city) would be today if instead of investing in hotels and other projects in the core, Rich and Jay would have just built an office tower downtown as their world headquarters instead of a sprawling campus way out in Ada? I think the same thing about Steelcase. I love the CDC (the pyramid). I only wish it was downtown right on the river.
  5. New Grand Rapids Art Museum

    I hope those folks who live on the upper floors of Morton House and City View Condos rest up now, because next year when those lanterns are finished it's not going to be easy trying to fall asleep if your bedroom window faces the GRAM.
  6. New Grand Rapids Art Museum

    The blank wall in your example faces a surface lot. I don't have a problem with buidlings that take shortcuts on one side or another where no one is really supposed to see them. Hopefully, one day that surface lot will be home to a building, adding needed density to the urban core and hiding that oppressive solid wall of brick. The new GRAM is a different story. It occupies an entire city block. This discussion has gotten me a little nervous about the way the design addresses street level from the back side. I think it will be very inviting along Monroe Center, where the museum gift shop and cafe will be located. I think it will be very active along Louis where the educational wing will be located. And, although I wonder what Maya Lin would think of the side facing the park she designed, I think it certainly invites folks to interact with the structure on the Rosa Parks Circle side. I'm going to look into this Ottawa Avenue issue further. Oh, and I'm pretty sure this is fairly common knowledge ... Kendall College of Art & Design will be taking over the Federal Building which currently houses the GRAM after the GRAM vacates for their new building on July 1, 2007. The city isn't too keen on Kendall's plan to close off Pearl Street, however. If you want any more info on that topic from me, you'll have to read about it elsewhere ...
  7. New Grand Rapids Art Museum

    Don't forget ... the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion of the Milwaukee Art Museum is basically the front porch of the museum. Very little of it actually functions as museum space, meaning the art collections are enjoyed in Eero Saarinen's War Memorial ... The Saarinen building is a space many of the armchair architecture critics on this site would probably hate, but it functions exceedingly well as a place in which to truly experience visual art. That should be the measuring stick for deciding whether or not the new GRAM is a well designed museum: how well does it serve the collection? and how flexible are the galleries that host touring exhibitions? Standard urban sensibilities should also apply (how friendly/transparent is the facade at street level? Etc.), but I'm sorry ... If new buildings all had to take into account the view from second floor offices across the street, we'd never build anything but one-story buildings.
  8. Downtown Grand Rapids Branding Campaign

    Um ... err ... well ... I got nothin'. You're right, Nitro. The Uptown campaign really has built identity, but that's partially because there wasn't a strong sense of "Uptown" on which to build. Uptown is three neighborhoods, each with its own identity. Their proximity to one another really benefits all three, and that's what the Uptown campaign firmed up in people's minds. Eastown has had a pretty strong identity as long as I've lived in Grand Rapids. It didn't need street banners and pedestrian maps. I have a great T-shirt from the 1994 Eastown Street Fair that says "Eastown is a state of mind." How's that for a slogan? It really connected with my idea of the neighborhood, even back then (I had just moved here). You got me, Nitro. I can see the benefit of branding a locale. But I still think "Keep it a secret" sucks.
  9. Downtown Grand Rapids Branding Campaign

    I'm beyond just hating this idea and its lazy, "explanation please?" execution (... the orage represents the Calder and the blue represents the water ... Come on!). I'm about to direct my rage (a little too dramatic? ... how about "my distaste"?) ... OK, my distaste at this whole stupid concept of branding a locale. Downtown Grand Rapids already has a brand ... its catch phrase is simply "Downtown Grand Rapids." To those of us who love Downtown Grand Rapids, those three words -- a clean and elegant phrase -- deliver a tremendously powerful message. They conjur images of exciting sporting events and concerts, fabulous dining, great museums, scenic walks ... in short, loads of sh*t to do. The Downtown Alliance didn't need to pay somebody to come up with a brand for downtown. They needed to pay somebody to communicate our love of the naturally existing "brand" of Downtown Grand Rapids to those who are indifferent or even ignorant to the reasons why we love it. Cigarettes need branding because without connecting that product to positive imagery, why in hell would anyone light something on fire and suck on it? Our downtown should be an easy sell. This marketing bunk is a waste. I take back what I said about rage. My feelings on this matter go beyond distaste. I'd say I'm raging about this. Yep. Definitely raging.
  10. Downtown Grand Rapids Branding Campaign

    First of all, I want to know how many of the 50 people who got a chance to chime in on this project were under 40. From the tone and the just-unveiled-yet-already-dated look, my guess is not many. Sure, the "Keep it a secret" tagline contains a healthy dose of sarcasm, but that doesn't make it fresh or edgy. And even if the tagline was fresh and edgy, using staid delivery methods like letterhead and lightpost banners to deliver the message innately kills any cool that might have been present in the endeavor. In summary:
  11. "Secchia has (and has had) his hands on numerous properties downtown. He used to have his office in the Federal Square Building. He also used to own the Rowe Hotel (Olds Manor). Although that does make you wonder why he doesn't currently have office space downtown." CORRECTION: Peter Secchia currently does have office space downtown in the Exhibitor's Building behind the Amway Grand Plaza on Lyon. Off-topic, I know, but this forum is where the false statement above was originally made.
  12. I've gotten take-out from XO a couple of times now. Green Curry with Flank Steak: very good! Pad Thai with Chicken: bad. I mean, not disgustingly bad (I ate all of it), but dry and pretty tasteless. I haven't tried any of the Chinese dishes yet, but for Thai food, I think I'll keep driving to 28th Street unless I'm really crunched for time. Speaking of time -- and I HATE to add my voice to the chorus of folks usually complaining about this -- finding a parking spot at night on Monroe Center is a pain! I'll walk 10 or 15 blocks from a parking spot if I'm going to sit down and enjoy a meal downtown, but I think it's reasonable to expect some monitored free or even metered parking within a block of a restaurant that offers take-out. The city needs to start enforcing meters on Monroe Center 24 hours a day. Including some 10 minute parking only spots wouldn't be a bad idea either. If you want to get in and out of XO, Jimmy John's, Morado (the sushi place), Cafe Solace, etc., you're going to spend way too much time looking for a parking spot for take-out at any of these places to be convenient.
  13. River House Condominiums

    I don't know if we'll be seeing a steel frame going up at all. Isn't this building supposed to have a post-tensioned cast-in-place concrete frame? I'm not 100 percent familiar with this method of construction, but I believe the building will look quite a bit different than a traditional steel frame building throughout the construction process.
  14. The Silver Cactus, 242 Carlton SE in Eastown, opens Sunday (Nov. 6).
  15. Health Hill/Medical Mile Developments

    I noticed that, too. Does anyone know if the service road they're putting in along 196 will connect to Division?