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Everything posted by GRain

  1. Absolutely true. There are very few people in all of the region that follow where the Whitecaps are in the standings, etc. As a relative newcomer to the area here's a few thoughts on the Whitecaps/Griffins dynamic: 1.) There's two Grand Rapids. One that prefers the suburbs and is more or less terrified of going downtown (omg the parking! omg the homeless people! omg! omg!) and then there's the other set that has no problem going downtown and figuring it out. The Whitecaps make the suburanists happy. The Griffins make the downtown set happy. So in that light, the current arrangement makes sense. 2.) Apparently the suburbanists are not as big as some of us think they are as the Griffins attendance continues to be strong-- 5th place in the league this year. Of course it's not an apples to apples comparison. Would the Caps attendance be better if the quality of play was higher? Probably, sure. But clearly people are willing to come downtown to see a minor league sports team, let alone consistently selling it out for big-name comedians/musicians/etc. 3.) As many have stated, the town is too big for Single A-- but indeed the stadium is lacking in location not in capacity (it's capacity is higher than most Eastern League AA teams). As a downtown-supporter I'd love to see a stadium built maybe where Charlie's Crab is or any other surface-lot desert in downtown GR so that the region's residents could make an evening of going to the ballpark in the summer like so many other cities have done successfully. Instead it's in an out of the way location (much like the mistake that Syracuse made when re-building their's out of the way all for the sake of parking), and that will always hold the franchise back. The first trick is to find property & funding for the stadium (a tall task), the second trick is to not scare the existing core suburbanists from coming and finding a way to placate them (parking packages, etc.). The restaurants and nightlife will take care of itself and fill in. 4.) There's less and less of a difference between AA and AAA these days. Most franchises use them nearly interchangeably for their prospects and getting the Tigers AA team would be a much bigger draw for local Tiger fans than low-A. In my view it would be the near-equivalent of landing the AAA team. Targeting Erie makes plenty of sense, but the devil is in the details and I know nothing of the details of their affiliation with the Tigers.
  2. My understanding is that there have been plans to place a hotel in the south parking lot across from Studio Park. I havent heard anything about it in about a year when it was considered a 50/50 proposition by someone who would know-- so who knows.
  3. It would have been nice to have just one national name in the mix. Maybe that will come in the next round of announcements. It's good to see a flagship restaurant going in, though they are pretty short on details about it. Funny that they decided to use the word "Tavern" despite what is widely know as "Tavern" being right across the street. Of course I realize that the concepts appear to be wildly different, but still, of all words to use... It would be great to get one more strong restaurant down there and begin to build a solid village of places south of the arena.
  4. I hope this doesnt mean the end for the little juice shop trying to get going on Oakes b/t Commerce and Division. It doesnt have to be the end, but it could be...
  5. Yes, good croissants and coffee (and sandwiches to-go; they make their own lunch meats). Surprisingly good prices too.
  6. Does anyone know what address would be used for permit applications for tenant build-outs? I'd like to keep any eye on that to hopefully catch wind of what F&B or retail will be going in.
  7. Wow, incredible link. Thank you. It is an eye opening report. Interestingly, yesterday I saw an apparent homeless man expose himself and then urinate on a sidewalk with groups of people in from out of town for a concert at Van Andel. I saw first hand the impression left with these out of towners. The 20-somethings laughed, Those 30ish and up just seemed mad. This was less a block from the Hilton. I was told someone called 911. Oblivious, the man just continued stumbling down Commerce. I doubt he was caught, but who knows. Of course I have seen worse around Cherry & Division (as we all have) and I mention this incident only because it happened yesterday. So against this backdrop is this neighborhood really the hub of our new "entertainment district"? But I admit that's not really a productive question. A better question might be: Did Studio Park investors take as much financial risk as they have without some assurances from the City/Trotter/Degage for some sort of revised approach to this problem to better protect their guests, residents and tenants?
  8. Speaking of homelessness: has there been any public discussion about homelessness and the Hilton/Studio Park and how it will be handled by Mel Trotter and/or the police? Unfortunately, once you get to Cherry and below (i.e. right on top of the Hilton), the problem gets so acute that it is reminiscent of many part of San Francisco. Is it going to be business as usual regarding the homeless problem and therefore they are going to let hundreds of out of towners wade through a particularly dense area of panhandling/public-urination/etc.?
  9. Agree. These are upper-middle-class brands and the city seems ready for it (i.e. Container Store, etc). Cheesecake Factory was way ahead of its time in the early/mid 1990s. As far as food trends go it even pre-dates the popularity of the Food Network. These days the opening of a Cheesecake Factory wouldn't generate much excitement in most cities 20+ years after its prime, but our city (and especially our outskirts/suburbs) are not exactly cutting edge (that's not a criticism, just sort of is what it is). I'm sure CF will enjoy the sort of warm welcome that we will give them. A real win-win IMO.
  10. If we are looking at a 2019 opening, then we have to be less than ~90 days away from permit submissions for some of the retail/F&B tenant build-outs, correct? Have there been any tenant announcements at all?
  11. https://fox17online.com/2019/02/21/downtown-theater-project-reaches-new-milestone/ "GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Studio Park project in downtown Grand Rapids reached another milestone Thursday. Crews Thursday laid the concrete on six floors of the newly constructed parking tower, which brings nearly 1,000 new parking spaces to downtown Grand Rapids. The project includes a new movie theater, hotel and apartments. Construction is expected to wrap up in the fall."
  12. Agree, a SBUX there would be a solid affirmation of the south of Fulton neighborhood and the project generally. SBUX has had their share of closings, but these days are different than 10 years ago where they'd put them anywhere they could fit them in (especially in the U.S.). With Lantern Coffee around the corner and then the announcement of New Hotel Mertens Bakery yesterday, that would be quite the cluster of coffee-type shops all close in to each other-- then again when compared to other GR neighborhoods "just" three coffee shops might be fewer than usual!
  13. That's a great rendering. Exciting for that corner. Even more exciting is the $10 min delivery of breakfast and lunch. And as much as I might order from Jimmy John's or walk over to 2 Beards and like both well enough, neither will likely approach the quality of these sandwiches and salads, etc. So I am glad to see them try to increase their "daytime" offering with the free delivery being real icing on the cake. Free delivery at reasonable minimums might be a small step for many cities, but to make it more widespread here would be a giant leap for Grand Rapids.
  14. Yes, Interphase apparently consolidated as many of their operations under one roof as possible. Makes sense.
  15. Led by Studio Park, the center of gravity for downtown seems to be shifting a bit southward. This sign has replaced the Interphase sign. Looks like a corner bakery. That's quite an upgrade from a furniture showroom that was always empty. ...probably using what-was the Interpahse doors for it on that corner. Maybe outdoor seating for the bakery or restaurant? My imagination can run wild on this because it could be a very pretty setup on that corner. Good news indeed.
  16. Based on the pictures the hotel is certainly looking like a 2020 opening; the residences and offices w/ parking perhaps 2019. Was that the plan all along or was the hotel also targeted for 2019? The Hilton website is saying 2020.
  17. Indeed, though some office space is apparently still in the works. As of January 19, 2019: https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2019/01/new-tenant-coming-to-15-story-downtown-grand-rapids-office-building.html "Also, in October, commercial real estate firm Franklin Partners backed away from its plans to develop a seven-story office building – aimed at attracting one of the region’s large employers to high-end space downtown – at the Studio Park development. Studio Park is a $140 million movie, housing, hotel and parking development south of the Van Andel Arena. The developers behind the project still plan to include an office space component, though it will differ from what Franklin Partners envisioned."
  18. On New Hotel Mertens Instagram account they've posted some discoveries during their demo including original tile floor in the basement (and that floor is amazing btw) and also a couple of interesting wall papers. The Instagram post about the basement mentions that way-back-when there was a stairwell from the street-level on Oakes down to a public-use door in the basement that had a cafe and a barber shop (thus the need to have a finished, tile floor). Interesting!
  19. Here is a shot of the rooftop. It used to say Blue35, now it's Configura.
  20. Hello, long-time lurker, first post: 1. Last week it appears that the naming on top of the building has switched from Blue35 to Configura-- the new tenant of the top floors. I'll try to get a picture next time I pass through 2. The ground-floor space apparently has been rented and will be a brasserie sort of like Balthazar in New York. There's a new dumpster and construction activity there pretty much every day now. It looks like the restaurant will call itself New Hotel Mertens: https://www.instagram.com/newhotelmertens/ Their Facebook indicates that they havent officially launched or announced anything yet, but it looks like the cat is pretty much out of the bag. The city actually needs a classic, not-too-fancy French restaurant like this-- and if that is what it is then that will be good news.
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