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deja vu

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  1. A new site plan review document is up for the city. It is a fit-out for 2705 / 2707 W Michigan Ave (retail space in the first floor of this housing development near WMU). I have no idea what Kalamazoo Gallery Inc. (the listed tenant) is. They don't seem to have an online presence yet. The included drawings look like the original construction drawings with just a little new info added towards the front-end. Small beans, but nice to see a storefront get filled with a new mercantile business these days.
  2. Revel Creek / 500 Golden Dr. This new senior housing project at Heritage Community broke ground yesterday - The article also includes some more-than-halfway-decent interior renderings I hadn't seen yet - Source: MLive | Courtesy Heritage Community of Kalamazoo Miller Davis also posted a photo of the groundbreaking on their LinkedIn - Source: LinkedIn | Miller Davis Downtown Kalamazoo Portland Loo Here is a little more information about the Portland Loo that is being installed downtown this week - Kalamazoo College Natatorium There is a new construction video update on Kalamazoo College's website about their new Natatorium, which was originally supposed to open 10/10/2020 before COVID-19 had a say. The revised completion timeline is now sometime in winter 2021. This project is slightly underwhelming to me for some reason. I do like the roof though. (link to video)
  3. It seems Muskegon may be one step closer to the reality of having a large casino / hotel complex in Fruitport Township on the site of the former Great Lakes Downs racetrack. This has been discussed for a decade, and now the Bureau of Indian Affairs has published (today) its final Environmental Impact Statement which will be open for public comment for 30 days before a federal 'record of decision' is issued after that. The casino could bring 70,000 SF of gaming space and 220 hotel rooms, with the potential for 1,500 permanent new jobs. Link to the EIS Image Source
  4. Here are a few more (more current) photos of the 24/7 daycare that will be housed in 7,000 SF of The Creamery. It will occupy the southernmost portion of the first floor and a connected mezzanine level. A 24/7 daycare poses some unique challenges - you need room for children of different ages to sleep, eat, play, and wash. The built-in elements look interesting, and designed to help accommodate these different zones. I can't imagine what a benefit this affordable childcare will be for some families, especially those working second or third shift, with younger kids at home - Source: Secondwave Media
  5. Advia Credit Union HQ is cruising along. Pretty much fully-enclosed now, and ready for interior work to continue through the cold months ahead. And oh how I wish they had built this 4-story HQ on any number of vacant lots downtown, instead of in the middle of a field in Oshtemo Township! Source: Instagram | byceassociates The Creamery is also very far along. In addition to the new, 48-unit housing stock, it will bring a new service to Kalamazoo - a 24/7 childcare center, operated by the YWCA of Kalamazoo - Source: Instagram | byceassociates Harrison Circle Apartments is also moving very quickly, no doubt attributable to the prefabricated / modular concrete construction methodologies employed - Source: LinkedIn | AVB
  6. I've got a Loo in Kalamazoo! First Portland Loo installation in the city, from today. Interesting location, right on the edge of this parking lot, across Water St. from the Arcadia Festival Site, and almost directly adjacent to the KVCC Center for New Media Building and the new 180 E Water St. development - Source: Instagram | ar_haan Speaking of 180 E. Water St. - the tower crane finally came down Tuesday. Here is one final look at it, a video CSM shared on LinkedIn. Also, the below photo, taken Monday, before disassembly began - Source: LinkedIn | CSM Group
  7. I guess they all just held their breath for the photo shoot?
  8. Speaking of Holland, although the ribbon cutting was about two years ago, the new Holland Civic Center continues to receive awards. In 2019, it won an AIA Grand Rapids Honor Award. Now, in 2020, it has received a building award from AIA Michigan. Source: LinkedIn | GMB Source: GMB
  9. As part of the Grand Rapids Community Legends Project, a new statue of President Ford was unveiled Friday Morning, along with the dedication of the new Presidential Gateway Plaza at the airport. Source: LinkedIn | GRR Airport
  10. Not 100% sure where to put this... it's almost Beltline, almost Ada. Since this thread has been quiet for a while, I'll drop it here. West Michigan Community Bank recently completed their newest location at 4797 Cascade Rd. SE. First Companies, the construction manager, recently posted some final photos on their website. Not too shabby, as far as suburban banking centers go. It has a bit of a mid-century vibe, with the exposed steel, open stairs, and wood finishes. Here's a few photos (there's more at the link). Source: First Companies
  11. 1. Bronson Park Updates 2+ years after being removed and placed in storage, the bronze children statues have returned to Bronson Park. New concrete bases were constructed for them. They previously sat on plinths in a fountain that was demolished and replaced with grass. The statue series were created in the 1970's sculptor Kirk Newman, to commemorate the country's bicentennial and they were originally dedicated on July 4, 1976. The full title is “When Justice and Mercy Prevail, Children May Safely Play.” Kirk has since passed on; his work seems to have a theme of groups of people / children. Source: MLive There have been several other recent changes in the park, as part of ongoing implementation of a newer masterplan. A new honor walk that reorganizes the parks many monuments, plaques, and historic paraphernalia into one central area on the east end of the park was recently completed. There are ongoing plans to further stabilize, protect, and highlight a Native American burial mound in the south-west area of the park. And these display signs were erected earlier this year - Source: Joel Bissell | MLive 2. Northside Tiny Houses Delayed Phase 1 of the Northside tiny house project is delayed. Groundbreaking was supposed to be yesterday. No reason for why, apart from "logistical issues' related to zoning. The issue really should be that these homes are better suited to a less prominent commercial intersection, almost anywhere else on the Northside - Source 3. Heritage Community of Kalamazoo / Revel Creek Development / 500 Golden Drive It was announced yesterday that Ziegler Group, the investment bank that is backing the Heritage Community Of Kalamazoo's planned housing development, successfully closed on the Series 2020AB Bonds. It's an important step towards constructing the 60 independent living units to be located in a new 3/4-story residential structure on their campus off of Portage Street, dubbed "Revel Creek". Here's a reminder of what it will look like - 4. Zoetis Expansion Lastly, Zoetis is asking for a 48 million dollar, 12-year-long tax exemption, in exchange for an already-under-construction, 94 million dollar expansion to their operations on E. Kilgore Rd. (just north of the airport). The work includes a new 41,000 SF building that will add space for new production lines for new products and create an estimated 22 new jobs. There's a City Commission hearing scheduled for October 19. Seems like a lot of tax-exemption money. And why are they doing this now, when the building is already under construction?
  12. Follow-up: the Muskegon Convention Center - is ~70% complete. Of the ten weeks of schedule that they lost due to COVID-19, about 5 of those weeks have since been made-up. It is now on track to open Spring 2021. There is some video footage that shows interior & exterior construction progress at the link below.
  13. Here are some recent photos of the new Hilton Garden Inn, which is set to open soon - November 9, 2020. From their Facebook page. The connected Home2 Suites is slated to open May 2021. Also, a video montage of photos throughout the construction process. Source Source Source Source Source Source Source Source Source
  14. The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo is eyeing several prominent parcels for expanding their presence in the city. The site, located at the intersection of E Vine and Portage Streets, is comprised of four parcels, several of which were recently cleared - 825 and 847 Portage Street + 720 and 726 E. Vine Street. Most recently, it was home to Grapevine Furniture. B&G Club plans to build a new, 2-story Community Service Center here. This could be a good anchor organization in an area that is lacking cohesion and walkability. The site is more or less a no-man's land, positioned in-between Downtown, South Town, the Vine Neighborhood, and the Edison Neighborhood (although I think it technically lies within Edison). It's sort of industrial, sort of residential, sort of commercial, sort of open space. There are busy roads and train tracks nearby. The area has born decades of decline, demolitions, and disinvestments. It has higher poverty and crime (I feel like every time I say this about an area of Kalamazoo, there happens to be a police vehicle in the street view). Only recently has new development centered around Washington Square - the small commercial center of the Edison neighborhood) - spurred greater interest and reflected a renewed effort to stabilize the area. A Special Use permit is required for such a function in the current M-1 district. This went before the Planning Commission at their September 2020 meeting, and I'm assuming it passed, under recommendation from the commission. There's no publicly shared massing yet, but I'm glad to see it will at least be 2 stories and stay fairly close to the lot lines along Portage and Vine.
  15. The notorious Econo Lodge in Battle Creek is finally history. This place was plagued by years of illicit activities, then a lawsuit, and finally, a suspicious fire. The demolition cost is $90,000, paid for out of the $2.4 million insurance settlement that the motel owners received. According to this article, Read More: In an alternate universe, this could have been restored as a cool, retro-style motel. But alas, now it will become a grassy lot. Source: 95.3 WBCK News Talk Radio | TSM Photo
  16. Byce & Associates posted a progress video two weeks ago of the Advia Credit Union project. I think it's growing on me... the interior lobby space looks like it will be pretty cool, and the exterior finishes are well-selected and actually have some complexity. I keep wishing this thing was in the heart of downtown though, as opposed to in a field next to a Meijer. I'll hopefully get to tour this in November. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDKm42HSEm0&feature=emb_logo
  17. The rain finally went away and the sun came out today. I counted 9 cranes scattered around the Kalamazoo skyline while walking around downtown. First, I didn't realize that the Harrison Circle project had started, let alone that it was this far along. The prefab. concrete structure on this one is interesting - A new rendering of Harrison Circle slipped under my radar. I spotted this on AVB's website today - It is very much in keeping with the pseudo-industrial, loft-style developments in the surrounding Rivers Edge district. It looks... nominally better than the earlier, 4-story version - I spotted the glazing contractors installing some of the "showpiece" windows on the corner of 180 E. Water St. These are reminiscent of the Little Caesar's HQ pizza slice windows in Detroit. I love the exterior materials on this one - You can see it peeking out above the smaller buildings along W. Michigan Ave. - Haymarket Plaza - (continued from previous post) The Hilton Hotel projects are progressing rapidly. It looks like the terra cotta details on the former Masonic building have been cleaned and restored. The colors really pop now. Finishes are far along on the Home2 Suites portion, and the sky bridge appears mostly complete, although the road remains closed beneath it - One can get a good view of this project from the top of the Radisson parking deck, not to mention the blocks to the west. The new county parking lot is nearly complete. The space in-between this lot and the hotels will eventually be the new justice complex. That project will help fill a major void and connect potential future developments further west to downtown - You can also get a decent view of 180 E. Water St. from the top of the Radisson parking deck, as well as the Graphic Packaging International expansion. Also, it was just great weather for a general skyline shot. Lastly, you can spot the four cranes that are a part of the new WMU Student Center, off in the distance to the west - We end with some closer-up views of the WMU student center. In the last photo, you can spot the opening in the floor plate that will visually connect multiple levels of the building -
  18. I hope this turns out better than these chaotic-looking renderings. Source: MLive | Joel Bissell Source: AVB | Courtesy Byce & Associates Source: Portage Community Senior Center
  19. Here are a few photo updates for the new Muskegon Lakeshore Convention Center project. These were posted a few days ago by Progressive AE on their LinkedIn account. The exterior looks better than the renderings thankfully.
  20. Hello! Here are a couple of updates around Kalamazoo: 1. Haymarket Plaza Work is moving along on the Haymarket Plaza (the reimagined alley in-between the existing Main Street East Building and the new 180 E Water St. development). Frankly, I'm surprised it is moving this fast. They must be trying to get all of the concrete work done before cold weather sets in. CSM posted a photo on their LinkedIn account. This will strengthen the small but unique alley culture that the downtown has been developing over the years, joining destinations like Bates Alley, Whiskey Alley, Farmers Alley, and Exchange Place. 2. WMU New Student Center & Dining Facility Walbridge Group (CM) shared some interesting photos on their Instagram account yesterday of the final pour for the new student center & dining facility at WMU. The structural design of the floor is a "voided biaxial slab" which involves the use of many small, hollow balls that result in a lighter structure and increased + irregular column spacing. They look like large, colored golf balls, though I'm not sure of the significance of the different colors - differently sized voids, loads... just random? Anyway, pretty neat! 3. City of Kalamazoo - Downtown Zoning The downtown zoning revamp continues with a virtual town hall tonight (September 24, 2020 - Live on Youtube), followed by a Planning Commission Review on October 1, 2020 (also will be cast on Youtube). This process is moving along at a fairly brisk clip, and it will be interesting to hear how satisfied the public is with the final plan in the coming months. Draft documents can be viewed here. Source 4. Updated Downtown Aerial Drone Footage 've been searching (hoping) that someone out there would do some new drone photography of downtown, since it has changed so much recently. And then I stumbled across @whiskeyalphadelta's Instagram account. Here are two views of the city center, taken on the first evening of Fall, 2020. The first view is the portion of downtown that lies North of Michigan Ave. and the second view is the portion that is south of Michigan Ave. If you know where you are looking, you can spot every major downtown infill development from the past few years, including The Exchange, 180 E. Water St., 400 Rose, and the Hilton Hotels. Great views!
  21. 1. City Life Teen Center, opening January 2021 (COVID delays), is a new, $3 million facility on Kalamazoo's Eastside. The site is the East Main Church of Christ (right next to Harding's). Technically, this is an infill addition that is affiliated with the existing church, more than a ground-up new build (WWMT is not very clear on this). The architect is INFORM Architecture (local). Source: WWMT | Troy Truxton Source: WWMT | Troy Truxton 2. While browsing around, I came across these renderings for the new "American Muscle" showcase building that is planned for the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners. It is designed to resemble a 1960's auto dealership. Source: Schley Nelson Architects 3. Reservations are officially open for the new Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Kalamazoo. It looks like the first night one can book is December 9-10, 2020. No reservation dates yet for Home2 Suites, which I imagine is opening later. But both hotels are now hiring. I don't know why it took me until this far into it to realize that both projects have dedicated Facebook pages. Here are some updates from the recent past, from Facebook. The lobby in the renovated building (Hilton Garden Inn side) looks especially interesting. Note also the extensive snow melt system that is being installed. Facebook Links: Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Home2 Suites Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Home2 Suites Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Home2 Suites Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Home2 Suites Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Home2 Suites Kalamazoo Downtown Source: Facebook | Home2 Suites Kalamazoo Downtown
  22. Kalamazoo is currently conducting a series of input activities to modify downtown zoning uses & standards. The first activity was focused on updating the downtown zoning map by dividing the one, large Commercial – Central Business District (CCBD) into three smaller districts. The resulting map is below. The second activity focuses on feedback for this draft map, and specific use and standards of the three proposed Downtown Districts. This activity ends tomorrow (9/8/20). I think it is a good effort on the part of city planners, especially during the COVID era. Although I am not sure yet about the move from one zone to three (when many other municipalities seem to be headed the opposite direction). The city claims that the "one-size fits-all" approach limits their ability to implement the goals of the new master plan. The city's goal is to update the entire zoning code in sections. There has not been a comprehensive zoning update since 2005. These current updates are focused on supporting the visions outlined in the new, Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Master Plan, which was completed in 2017 and can be viewed here. More detail in the short video below - Anyway, if anyone else here lives in the city, I'd encourage you to participate. Source: City of Kalamazoo Source: City of Kalamazoo Source: City of Kalamazoo Source: City of Kalamazoo Source: City of Kalamazoo Source: City of Kalamazoo Source: City of Kalamazoo Source: City of Kalamazoo Source: City of Kalamazoo
  23. Cornerstone University's new "Jack and Mary De Witt Center for Science and Technology" was completed in 2019. I don't think finished photos were ever posted here, and the center recently won awards from the Masonry Institute of Michigan and AIA Michigan. The Architect was Progressive AE. There are some more photos at the Architect's website, as well as a Youtube video, here. I think it looks pretty sharp. Source: Progressive AE
  24. Moving on to Portage – Some nice shots of Stryker's new building, from 07/31/2020 & 08/12/2020 - Source: Instagram | @towerpinkster Source: Instagram | towerpinkster And a pretty cool axo-section rendering view of the interior, posted 08/07/2020 - Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDmRKmsjigz Portage North Middle School, professionally photographed, and now with an AIA Design Honor Award under its belt - Source: LinkedIn | C2AE / Jason Keen Portage Public Schools recently released a public update video, with some footage of the new Central Middle School (which is very similar to the new North Middle School, just with different finishes). Source: Portage Public Schools
  25. Catching up some things in Portage & Kalamazoo, gleaned over the past few weeks. First, Kalamazoo - WMU’s new Student Center & Dining Facilities building, from this morning – Source: WMU Webcam WMU Arcadia Flats, also this morning – Source: WMU Webcam The Creamery, from near end of July, 2020 - Source: Instagram | byceassociates The Charles & Lynn Zhang Animal Care & Resource Center (which will house the Kalamazoo Humane Society), early August, 2020 - Source: Instagram | byceassociates A couple views of 180 E Water St, posted by CSM via LinkedIn. The first is from during a Chiller installation, with bonus skyline shot - An unfinished office floor level - Source: LinkedIn | CSM Group 400 Rose, recently completed (it is the first LEED sustainable housing development in downtown Kalamazoo) - Source: LinkedIn | AVB Lastly, a sunrise view from the top of the new Hilton Garden Inn / Home2 Suites, from August 2020 - Source: LinkedIn | First Companies, Inc.
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