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About demhem

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    John Ball Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  1. New projects on the West Side

    Although this is small scale, it looks like someone is renovating the interior of 812 Butterworth SW. There are now two logos on the windows that say "Grain Sandwich Shop" and I believe "Westside Massage" opening soon. Anyone have any additional details?
  2. Redevelopment along 28th Street

    Those "faux historic street lights" are pedestrian-scale lights which direct light closer to the sidewalk instead of the gooseneck lights which look like garbage, are intended for cars, and are typically terrible for improving safety and visibility for the pedestrian. However, in the picture above it looks silly as those are not adjacent to a pedestrian facility. In Allendale, those lights were installed with the intent of improving walkability and safety off-campus (and along M45) as they were installed behind the sidewalk and largely direct light straight down onto the sidewalk. The sidewalk, lighting, boulevard, and landscape project was paid for by MDOT and likely had little to do with GVSU "trying to look like a historic university." Those lights are just good design in a good application, IMO. What would you have them install instead?
  3. The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

    You could say this about almost any neighborhood in the City. Maybe I'm biased, but as a neighbor of the Zoo I disagree with you once more. My house, as well as most of the houses around me are in exceptional condition for their age. Most are owner-occupied and most are very well kept. There are outliers, but this was the case in every older urban neighborhood I've lived in (Heritage Hill, Eastown, and Heartside). There is no evidence of my neighborhood "heading towards this end." Where do you live?
  4. The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

    The irony in that is that I've heard the leadership at Habitat say the exact same thing about private developers and landowners. It seems that everyone is having the same issue in acquiring land. Do we have any small-scale developers on this forum that could shed light on the small infill topic? Difficulties?
  5. The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

    I disagree, mostly. There are quite a few opportunities for small-scale development all over the city. These are not whole blocks but parcels here and there which are prime for infill development and could accommodate missing middle housing and small mixed-use structures. It's the diversity of housing stock (age, design, units) in neighborhoods which makes them eclectic, interesting, and affordable. You really love hating on the west side, don't you?
  6. This reminds me a lot of the multi-family buildings going up in Denver when I was out there last year.
  7. GVSU Downtown Development

    Although I also dislike the contrast between CHS and the addition, it seems like the brick color is very similar to Finkelstein Hall which is under construction. Did the neighborhood have a strong preference for brick in that color? I didn't actively pay attention to the NOBL public involvement process. They may be going in that direction over there as they build out the healthcare/medical campus. Nevertheless, the building looks very institutional. Although, I do like it better than the MSU Secchia Center, which is so institutional blah that it already looks 15 years old.
  8. Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids

    The original study critiqued in the link is likely admittedly flawed; however, the critique is also flawed as the author is comparing overall car MPG (which he admits is unfair^1) instead of auto city MPG as well as comparing overall personal vehicle load averages instead of personal vehicle load averages for urban metros where buses run (which could arguably be different depending upon where you live). Although he also admits that autos have their lowest load factors during peak periods, with most urban areas reporting 1.1 to 1.15. If anything, that article solidifies the need for additional studies which take into account previous failures in methodology. 1: "My use of annual averages is somewhat unfair to buses for a variety of reasons. First, for autos, there is a significant amount of freeway driving, urban, rural, and inter-city, where high, constant speeds and high mileage factors are achieved – this type of travel is a relatively rare portion of urban transit bus usage."
  9. New projects on the West Side

    State universities are exempt from local zoning in Michigan so Allendale Township has little to do with why GVSU buildings are shorter out there. My understanding is that GVSU leadership wanted a village-like residential campus similar to the likes of Miami University in Ohio and Ohio University in Athens. If you look at the way that GVSU is structured it emulates the Miami model in a lot of ways (undergraduate focus, limited professional graduate programs, large presence of liberal arts in curriculum, theme dorms such as Women in Science and Engineering and the International House). Their strategy downtown may be similar in philosophy. 3-5 stories is human-scale, and provides a more intimate university setting than towering buildings. Obviously Eberhardt and Cook-DeVos are different; however, one of those is located prominently on the river and the other on the expressway. I think that all of this is not a lack of vision but an unwillingness to stray from the vision they already have for themselves.
  10. "So when I park in a ramp daily that has a handful of spots open, that's hearsay? [confused]" My statement was in regard to office vacancy, not parking.
  11. Spectrum won't leave because they don't have enough parking; not with the agglomeration economy they've created on Michigan Avenue with the VanAndel Institute, MSU Medical School, GVSU Health Science, and the Ferris Pharmacy program. An agglomeration economy is a strong force. This is what attracts firms to a downtown and what keeps them there. They will find other solutions as they have with paying for their employee's access to the Silver Line. Again, a shortage of monthly passes does not equal a shortage of available spaces. You have someone creating an artificial limit. That ratio can be adjusted if open spaces during the day are underutilized. This is a viable option. Until I see data on vacancy rates that provides a different story than the Colliers update, everything I'm reading is hearsay.
  12. The 95% number is only for monthly permit parking, so that number is deceiving and rarely explained in the news articles I've seen. I walked through several of the parking structures yesterday afternoon which indicated large parking availability on the GR Parking app, and (without counting every single space) there is a lot of parking available. I'm talking about a third-party study or research. The Chamber is basing its recommendations off of a survey of its members and meetings with them. While public outreach and involvement is important, it does not tell the whole story regarding existing conditions, as opinion is not always reality. I'm not a politician; public opinion alone doesn't do it for me. The Chamber is a fantastic organization, but it has an agenda. They offer solutions, which is great, and I think that should be part of the overall discussion. I am a huge fan of remote parking (one of the Chamber's recommendations) as I've used it in other cities, including DC, Chicago, and in Munich, Germany.
  13. I'm seeing the potential for a lot of assumptions here. Is there data from another source that tells a different story than Colliers? I'm trying to find metrics and indicators to explain the situation. GR Forward provides parking statistics as well but I get the feeling many of you wouldn't consider that as a legitimate source either. What facts are we using to educate our stance or opinions?
  14. What point have we gotten to though? Are there an immense number of vacancies that I'm not familiar with? Colliers International recently indicated in their annual report that office space prices downtown are still on the rise (and at an all time high) which suggests higher demand and low availability. The office vacancy rate in the downtown is currently reported at hovering between 7 and 9%. This is considered healthy by many standards and low for a mid-sized Midwestern City. This low vacancy is also evident in my experience in the building my company has leased for 20 years. The building owner renovated the garden floor and added three office suites which were immediately filled; my building has zero vacant units currently. Am I missing some signs of economic decay downtown? There is always business turnover in the marketplace.
  15. Sure, you are absolutely correct in that there may be quite a few spaces taken up by handicap and double parking; the app does not account for that. However, without doing a study and finding an average I'm not sure you easily come up with what that number is. Maybe the City should and note a potential margin of error on the app for users?