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deja vu

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  1. Unsurprising news, the new Muskegon Convention Center - which has faced numerous delays from numerous issues - is now projected to be $2 million over budget ($21+ million, vs. the original $19.5 million budget). Perhaps equally unsurprising, the plan to makeup the difference with naming rights. Any guesses? Source: Cory Morse | MLive
  2. The Hilton Garden Inn opens to the public on Monday, November 30. This is a pretty big milestone for Kalamazoo, although the news is no doubt hampered a bit by the coronavirus. Its opening marks a few key things in my mind: The Radisson Plaza Hotel is no longer the only player in town, when it comes to downtown hotel facilities that are well-equipped to handle banquets, conferences, & weddings. The Radisson Plaza Hotel is no longer the only player in town, when it comes to downtown hotel facilities that are well-equipped to handle banquets, conferences, & weddings. Arcadia West is finally seeing substantial development, after decades-long planning, and this hotel will help catalyze more development in the future. The historic Masonic Temple, which originally opened in 1915, has a promising new future as a hotel as it continues into its second century of existence. Here are a few pre-opening photos from the past two weeks, posted recently on Facebook - Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo
  3. Site plan review (re)submission is up for the Kalamazoo Farmer's Market Phase 1 improvements. This includes a new office / restroom building, refurbished + expanded covered booth areas, and a TON of new parking. I don't have the earlier submission handy to compare to, but it doesn't look like anything substantial has changed. I think it was mostly just delayed by COVID-19.
  4. Here's a smattering of Kalamazoo site plan review applications that have not been mentioned on here before. 1. Hawthorne Park The first is 205 E Stockbridge "Hawthorne Park". This was submitted in September 2019. It's a bit of a mystery project. The site plan review is focused only on landscaping, but there is a floor plan that reveals two buildings, one of which is mixed use commercial / residential and the other all-residential. I have no clue if this one is even alive still. If built, it would be directly next door to a pretty drab-looking Dollar General. Source: Kalamazoo Site Plan Review 2. Kalsee Credit Union This new branch office would be located at 3121 Portage Rd. (the corner of Portage & Cork). Currently, there is a 1-story and 2-story building on the site that would need to be demolished. I'll be a little sad to see the 2-story brick structure go - it most-recently housed a Stanley Steemer, and it was originally a city fire station. Everything about this is kinda funky - the site plan, the floor plan, and the elevations. This was submitted January 30, 2020, pre-COVID-19. Source: Kalamazoo Site Plan Review 3. Capital Health Group - Drug Rehab Facility This one is interesting, in that it proposes to rehab. a long-shuttered medical center to turn it into a rehab clinic at 1430 Alamo Ave. It was submitted to site plan review March 10, 2020, so right before the world went to hell. Like the first project, I have no idea if this thing still has legs. If it does, it's going to take some doing - I've been by that building a lot, and it is in rough shape. But it has a cool retro style and it would be really neat if it could be saved. Also, I find it kind of sad that it would be direct-adjacent to Fox Ridge Apartments, a public housing project that is notorious for violence and drug use. I mean, yeah, it's probably good that it is physically proximity to at least a partial portion of the population that it would likely serve, but how depressing is it do drive / walk / take the bus home to your apartment next to the drug rehab clinic? I feel the same way about the lower-income, single-family homes on the east side whos front yards stare right at the back of the Juvenile Detention Facility. Source: Kalamazoo Site Plan Review 4. Water Street Coffee Joint - Drive-Thru Addition (Oakland Drive Location) This plan review is recent (submitted November 16, 2020) - just really small. It proposes a small addition and site reconfigurations at the Oakland Drive Water Street Coffee location to equip it with drive-thru capability. Not much to comment on here - it makes sense in this time and I have no doubt it will go-through as planned. Source: Kalamazoo Site Plan Review
  5. By the way, here's the site plan rendering of the "Children's Nature Playscape" that First Reformed Church is being demolished for, from the previously shared article, as well as another, below -
  6. Here are two more updates that are bummers (to me), in Kalamazoo. An unnecessary reminder in 2020 that you can't win them all. The first update is disappointing from a historic preservation perspective. I just can't wrap my mind around the merits of knocking down a 140 year old church (one of the oldest left in the city) for a playground. For reasons I've expounded on before, this seems like a terrible move by the adjacent church (which owns the property) and the city (for allowing it to happen). Like most things in life, this decision, at the end of the day, is money-driven. The second update is disappointing primarily because it further mars the potential of the Kalamazoo River near downtown to ever become a draw for visitors and locals. It is being done so that Consumers can run two new power lines over the river to the Graphic Packaging Expansion. Like most things in life, this decision, at the end of the day, is money-driven. All in the name of progress, I suppose. Source: Wood TV 8 Source: WMUK | Courtesy Consumers Energy View looking south at the Kalamazoo River from the Mosel Ave. bridge. Two power lines will cross here and 720 trees will be removed, further marring the natural landscape of the river - Source: WMUK | Sehvilla Mann
  7. This is a little bit of a bummer, but not altogether surprising, given the series of circumstances leading to its demise - It is one of the more unique historic structures in downtown Battle Creek. At least the portion that will be demolished will not leave a gaping hole on Michigan Ave. as it is on the back alley side - google street view.
  8. Here are some construction images of the new Advia Credit Union HQ, taken during a building walk through on November 5. The exterior finishes are nice, and I think the interior will look good too when finished. There is some interior masonry work in the 3-story atrium lobby that will really look sharp. The vertical connections and transparency throughout the interior spaces would never be suspected from the outside. Almost the entire building will feature a UFAD (Underfloor Air Distribution) system.
  9. Two new site plan review applications were posted for review today for Kalamazoo. 1. The first is a new Marijuana Provisioning Center at 815 W Michigan Ave. Nothing too exciting here. A portion of an existing fitness center will be converted. This is direct-adjacent to WMU + K-College Campuses & off-campus student housing, so it seems like a no-brainer location. It looks like there will be some site work too, mainly to redo the parking lot. Architect is Driven Design (out of Battle Creek). 2. The second is much more significant. There is apparently a Phase 2 of 400 Rose, which I had no idea about. The street address is 234 W Cedar St. This will be directly west of Phase 1, and will take up the corner at W Cedar & S Park Streets. These three houses along S Park and this office building along W Cedar that served as AVB's Phase 1 field offices were already being demolished in September, so I figured something was up, but nothing of this magnitude. This looks to be almost the same magnitude as Phase 1, which was 4 stories / 135 units. Phase 2 is 4 stories, 101,00+ SF, and 102 new units. The materials and massing look like they will be pretty much the same as Phase 1 too. The CM is AVB. Architect is Progressive AE (out of Grand Rapids).
  10. Good news out of Muskegon - "The Leonard" has finally broke ground -
  11. I like it better than the darker renderings, that's for sure. Those renderings must have been implying the second (or third) seating, after the sun has set
  12. Recently, the Northside neighborhood, with the help of the City of Kalamazoo, launched an RFP for 501 N. Westnedge, and there was a virtual bidder's conference on Saturday, November 14. This property is a brownfield site, most recently home to an auto repair shop that closed its doors (see it on Google street view). Among other things, the RFP lists preferred uses for the site, several of which are bolded (meaning, they received more than one vote from community stakeholders). This list tells you just some of the deficiencies in the neighborhood - Laundromat Cafe / Coffee Shop Prevention Center 24-Hour Day Care Urgent Care / Walk-In Clinic Discount Variety Store (Dollar Tree) You can view the RFP here. Letters of intent are due November 30.
  13. The City of Kalamazoo dropped three new site plan reviews recently. All three are small projects - all urban garden proposals, all in the Edison Neighborhood, and all led by "Zoo City Farms". The properties under proposal are: 1316 Mills Street 736 Jackson Street 1503 Washington Avenue The site plans list Battle Creek-based "The Urban Arts Exploratory & Meditation Center" as the client.
  14. Just sharing another article that some of you probably already saw, discussing the same infrastructure work as the MLive article that joeDowntown shared on Friday - Source: GRBJ | Courtesy City of Grand Rapids
  15. In local, extremely underwhelming architecture news, the new Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) office at the growing public health services center on E. Alcott is complete. This bland EIFS edifice was designed by Royal Oak-based architecture firm Krieger Klatt and constructed by Walbridge. It "features" a 2-story, 70,000 SF building atop a level of covered parking. This rounds out the campus, which is also home now to the County's own department of Health & Human Services, a Family Health Center, and Kalamazoo Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (now known as "Integrated Services of Kalamazoo"). The majority of this campus sits upon former brownfield property. It is a good example of reuse and community vitalization, turning previously toxic land into a campus devoted to public health. And I have no issues with that. My main complaint is the odd agglomeration of architectural styles. The county health building is a repurposed historic masonry building from the paper mill days. The mental health facility is a 1980's-era, office-park style brick building. The family health center looks kind of like a glass spaceship. And then the state department building is a giant stucco box. It seems like the campus entirely lacks any foresight or masterplan, even though it all came together in just the past 5 years. There's really no rhyme or reason to it (except that the state department building was the one that was most-obviously budget-driven). Source: MiBiz (Courtesy Photo) For comparison... The Family Health Center - The County Department of Health & Human Services - The Integrated Services (Mental Health & Substance Abuse) Building - Source: Google Maps All adjacent to each other.
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