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GR_Urbanist last won the day on June 2 2013

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  1. Parking permits just make me uncomfortable. It's akin to how Wyoming blocked off many of their streets and purposely turned them into dead ends to keep all the traffic on a handful of overcrowded feeder roads. These roads are supposedly paid for by everyone, but they are unnecessarily modified, not for safety like a speed bump, but just for the sensibilities of some of the residents. And if you have the nerve to park there for whatever reason in Eastown's case, you have to pay an "I'm just visiting" tax, but those people in that neighborhood are free to park in other neighborhoods without a special sticker? I think anyplace that votes for this, needs to have their own fees applied to them, per car the owner posses, for making the street pseudo-private, and they must have a sticker on their cars, so that other parts of the city know that this driver likes a nice street spot where you live, but you have to pay for the privilege where they do. I'm likely missing something with this, but it just makes my eye roll. Living in E. Hills, I know parking can get tight on the street, but I see it as people wanting to live here, visit, and put money in the hands of the business district, which is a vote of confidence IMO.
  2. Shipping Containers as Homes

    I could have sworn there was an ArtPrize entry that was a single shipping container structure of some sort. But I also would love to see more places here utilize them, especially as cheap housing options or as a replacement for existing trailer parks
  3. Gaslight Village

    I'm more of a fan of the one that is closest to Lake Drive. The one in the top photo peeking out from the side. I drive by it frequently, and that one really looks nice. These types of designs dont really work well with brick exteriors
  4. Well someone has to support this trainwreck. I'm not. Remember Clark's was a neighborhood store too, and people " too snobbish and arrogant to go into a store", even a liquor store, spoke to the standards people set for what they would patronize at this location. And we also find out that a Dollar General store doesn't measure up either. It is ridiculous to demand that everyone start shopping there because they sell stuff that checks off boxes. Just like you, for instance, arent a fan of cheap building materials, even though the cheap stuff forms the same four walls and roof as fancier stuff, people tend to not like cheap brands for the same reason. And no, I dont buy that we went from the plans submitted to a Dollar General just because some financing stars didn't align. That is waaaaay too much of a leap. The opposition to this was well known, and from what I recall, there were plans to go to the state to stop this, and I think this was Lott just saying "to heck with this" and pulling out and handing it over to DG. He also has PR to think of, so he isnt going to publicly tell people off for wasting him hours, and thousands of dollars, when he knows he will have to go through future projects in the same town. We were also told by apologists that Dollar General was going to really make a big effort to make it look "nice" too. That also did not happen. Not one iota. If they had done real exterior renovations, I would at least give them deserved credit, but they did nothing, because this brand does not care about the places it locates. Look at their store on Burton in Wyoming or their West Side location. People around here at least want to see some effort after Clark's. And like you said "it's not beautiful", so we can all agree that it looks like crap. People over here generally congregate around the nicer-looking places to the east because of aesthetics. That is basic urbanism when you see that. DG is the exact opposite of that, and thus you dont see people going there. So yeah, the disappointment, and resentment is real, and people simply aren't excited about this result, after years of patiently waiting Clark's out, and most will carry on as if Clark's didn't leave. This wasn't what I was looking for, so I'm voicing that by now rewarding this absurdity with my business.
  5. Holland Home - Fulton St.

    This is exciting! I dont want to see Aquinas exclusively get this because their development style is a bit too E. Beltline-ish for this important corner, They love setbacks too much, and they dont build "tight" enough mainly due to the woodland setting of the college. If they get this, I just see more parking lots, and buildings with setbacks from the street. I want to see a project that will complement the other side of Carlton that will form a solid eastern gateway to the E. Fulton district, as well as a nice bookend on the street with Eastown to the south, on the other end of Carlton. I especially hate the elevation differential that exists with the current HH site and Carlton, and would hope that any building will eliminate the grass and wall that exists there now.,-85.6359971,3a,75y,154.85h,95.04t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s5EJHLA9BSPd_ywo5MD1RJA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656 Hopefully one day Family Fare will rebuild their store at the street, and really complete the intersection. A series of really nice apartments + mixed use will be a win for the college and the local businesses.
  6. This thing is a monument to NIMBYism and mediocrity at best. An embarrassment for an area that is trying to sell itself as being a bit more upscale than 28th street in Wyoming. Spin it however you want to convince yourself otherwise, but working to destroy a great project that was in-line with the vision people had for State street as a lively, populated corridor, between downtown and Uptown, and instead ending up with a dollar store moving into the same existing mediocre building with just a new coat of paint, is nothing but a complete failure. Everyone sees this. There is no selling it any other way. Just because it is a step up from a liquor store is no fig leaf. People were aiming high, things were approved, and the legs were kick out from underneath. But it has lots of parking?.....yay! And from all of the times I driven by it, it has PLENTY of spaces available because no one is really going to this place, because people WERE NOT LOOKING FOR THIS. It isnt filling a need, the building looks hideous and low-rent, and it isnt even a real dollar store to boot! So "embrace the suck" if it makes you feel better, but embrace it alone.
  7. The State of Downtown Grand Rapids Retail

    Ground floors should ideally never house M-F 9-5 shops. Unnecessary dead space in a place where pedestrian activity is the focus. And this is one of the best spaces you will get, especially with two fronts. Would make a great mini Apple store. So I'm going to say a huge no. Honestly, Smith & Haughey would be far better off in one of the new buildings going up so that space can be retail too.
  8. Michigan Street Corridor Development

    So glad to see this thing go (I know for certain that it's been there since the early 1980s). I dont even mind the auto-centric nature of the site plan. Well actually I hate that reflexively, but I REALLY hate what is there now, and it's next to the highway anyway, so whatever.
  9. Mangiamo/Paddock Place Residential Development

    I'm personally a bit disturbed by these letters. They do come off as snobbish and rude (sometimes the EHCN gets like that), especially considering how generous they have been in allowing the property to be used for community events the past few years. I get people can, and they should, voice their opinions, but they have to remember that they don't have partial ownership over this property because they really like it, nor should they be making "demands" to essentially make them Jr. partners and co-developers, to implement what they want, when they have no money tied into this. They can make a statement without being so flippant and condescending. This is what causes everything to get more adversarial than it needs to be. And I can only think that there wont be any more EH community events taking place on the grounds now. I know I wouldn't.
  10. Heritage Hill / Cherry Hill / Wealthy Street Updates

    I am so glad to see this back up! They even put on a bit extra behind the building on Eastern and made it look less boring with the style changes and new color. I will light candles and say prayers. Let's get some dirt turned!
  11. Mangiamo/Paddock Place Residential Development

    Oh I didn't want to give the impression that it's all the HPC. Cherry and Eastern is all them IMO for nit picking the original plans to death. Blame goes to NIMBY's for the debacle of Dollar General, and in the case of Valley City, poor zoning regulations that allows for them to an unsightly blank wall along the street with virtually no objection. My HOPE is that these various elements at play in the case of Mangiamos, work positively in partnership to help this project along, and not just serve up unreasonable obstruction that leave us with nothing because they pushed too far. Good faith simply can not be a fig leaf for failure to get this off the ground when you have a guy with money he wants to spend here.
  12. Mangiamo/Paddock Place Residential Development

    And we all now still enjoy a wonderful empty lot, a rotting shed, and two virtually abandoned buildings on a prominent corner years later. So how did this work out for us that live near this or for the people that would have loved to live over here? "Unbuilt" is the key word here that needs to be avoided. The HPC seems may have received enough negative feedback on some of their goof-ups to hopefully try to offer reasonable advice this time, not demand absurd expensive design elements or multiple inconsistent revisions at the behest of some "neighbor" they appoint to monkey around with the initial plans, that end up costing the developer thousands that they can ill-afford (because the HPC isnt footing the bill for anything). Which in the end will lead the the project being scrapped entirely, which does squat for the area. Our illustrious new Dollar General, ugly expansion of Valley City Linens's bunker, and the still abandoned project at Cherry and Eastern ought to spur people in the area to be a lot more reasonable with a project like this so we can show that we are capable of more than obstruction and mediocrity. I hope...
  13. New projects on the West Side

    I really want a Cousin Jenny's in GR. I must have eaten there every day I was in TC.
  14. Wealthy Street Needed Renovations

    I like the awnings because they always come in handy in the rain, and they do help to keep the amount of snow down outside your door. But either way, thank you, Terra Firma! I'm glad this is finally going to be taken care of. This thing has been a decade-long embarrassment to the area.
  15. Mangiamo/Paddock Place Residential Development

    Just driving by the property an hour ago, I will admit I'm not sure how they are going to fit all of that onto it. I can assume these are going to be some really thin townhouses like this: