MJLO

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MJLO last won the day on September 21 2013

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About MJLO

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  • Birthday 07/25/1980

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  1. MJLO

    West Michigan/Grand Rapids Economy

    I know you're speaking hypothetically, but for comparisons sake the Denver Metro area has added over 345,000 people since 2010. GR metro just over 70k. The metro has been steady at adding right around 1% per year vs. the over 2% seen in Denver. The only people I can imagine griping about too many moving to GR would be the typical legacy West Michigan person. The ones who have only ever left the region for an annual pilgrimage to Orlando(possibly Ft. Meyers), and thinks Jesus drives 65 mph in the left lane on the freeway and they should as well. Personally I'd love to see GR in the 1.5-2% range going forward, a bit closer to what was seen during the 1990's. I do think the areas growth is being stifled by the housing shortage. The positive thing about the growth in GR is that the region is attracting a much more educated base from matured real estate markets as @GVSUChris has pointed out. This continues to help the region evolve to a more sustainable and diverse educated population base.
  2. True statement. Grand Rapids is however by far one of the smallest metro's that's not a major tourism hub (re: Lake Tahoe) with two premium brands.
  3. I'm not sure I completely agree. I absolutely do think there's demand in the market to accomodate those brands. Business travelers that have loyalty and status with the major hotel brands are a huge segment, especially with convention traffic. Even with all of the rooms coming online in Kent County we are still seeing record occupancy numbers. If pricing were so high that it started to affect occupancy we would see an immediate correction in pricing. Very few industries have to respond market conditions as fast as the hospitality industry. Typically when prices are as high as they are downtown it is a direct reflection of demand and higher occupancy. Currently for both the Hilton and Marriott brands travelers have two options. You can go to the upper tier JW, or Amway, or you can go to a mid-lower tier Courtyard, Homewood Suites, Hampton ect. (Holiday Inn doesn't count, as a business traveler and hotel princess I consider the Holiday Inn as a form of camping) The Embassy Suites will fill in that gap a bit, but the absence of those middle upper flagship brands are leaving a hole in the market. I wouldn't at all be surprised to see a flagship Hilton or Marriott, or both enter the market with these upcoming hotel projects that don't have brand announcements yet. I also wouldn't be surprised to see a Sheraton Four Points, or Hilton Garden brand fill one of these spots either.
  4. My guess would be a flag Marriott. Also keep in mind that Marriott owns Starwood brands now so it technically could be a Sheraton too(I don't think there are currently any starwood brands downtown, very few in the area). Have we ruled out that it won't be a Hilton brand for sure? If it's another mid tier brand just below flagship i'll be disappointed.
  5. I think it looks great!
  6. I remember a time 15-20 years ago when ambitious towers would be proposed and then nothing would end up happening. It happened so often that to this day i'm still a bit skeptical of even small projects breaking ground. If Hinman had decided to build a 42 story tower 2 years earlier we'd probably be staring at the top of it now. I'm not surprised at all to see this scaled down. The apartment market downtown is really too competitive to justify the cost. Glad they are still proceeding with another key piece of infill that will line a key avenue with more midrises.
  7. MJLO

    Grandville Castle Apartments

    I would think that much sink this quick should be evident on the structure itself. It could be true, but I'd also think the city/state would be all over it and we'd see it on the news. My news director friend hasn't heard anything about it. I get the impression that the detractors of this place are also very intent on making sure the public at large is under the impression it's a boondoggle. I tend not to trust this type of news on anything that's such a lightening rod for opinions.
  8. MJLO

    New projects on the West Side

    I feel like they will do fine as long as foot traffic, and neighborhood density continues to increase. Correct me if i'm wrong, but as it stands until the space at the former Sparrow reopens there are no coffee shops on Bridge. I know Ferris is just a couple blocks away.
  9. I'll be the most happy if they stop just talking about it and actually break ground
  10. MJLO

    Warner Tower - Lyon and Ottawa

    I noticed how imposing this looked from Calder Plaza yesterday. This really is a key piece of infill.
  11. MJLO

    Suburban Projects

    I don't think we are to that point yet. Target isn't as big in W. Michigan as it is in many places throughout the country. The Targets here are busy, but not as busy as they might be if so many of us weren't ardent Meijer shoppers. Sears and Kmart have been on life support like literally since 2004. I am not sure what crazy credit and cash manuevering Ed Lampert and Co have been doing over the past 5 years to even keep the doors open. They are about the worst examples to use to showcase the decline of brick and mortar retail, since they were obsolete brands even prior to the rise of Amazon.
  12. That part of downtown is just hyper competitive for restaurants. It didn't help that Bagger Dave's is/was a mediocre chain in decline that no one thought about to begin with. I never saw that lasting. Honestly i'm not the least bit surprised about Russo's either. There's not a whole lot of traffic/resident base near that corner yet. It was more of a niche concept over convenience, I can't imagine a lot of people had much reason to go regularly. I can see a restaurant doing ok there, but it'd have be something by one of the local foodie restaurant groups that have a proven track record with new concepts. Perhaps a local market with a more practical everyday selection, and not as heavy on the pretentious cold cuts.
  13. MJLO

    West Michigan/Grand Rapids Economy

    Rockford is technically a suburb so I added the Rockford area to my numbers. Also I included Caledonia Township, but not the village itself which adds another 1,625 residents bringing the full total to just over 680,000. The area around Rockford is gaining residents almost as fast as the western Ottawa Co suburbs.
  14. MJLO

    Suburban Projects

    "Keep Ada Weird"
  15. MJLO

    West Michigan/Grand Rapids Economy

    I think saying it's a miracle is a bit overstated. The economic factors working against Michigan started to disappear about 5 years ago. The image factors working against it lingered a bit longer than that. Historically Michigan has always had better population growth compared to it's peers during good economic times. The reversal of the affects after the worst economic conditions we've ever seen have taken a bit longer to subside, they are all but gone at this point. There are some intangibles that remain to be seen such as the states flagship city starting to be seen in a favorable light nationally. Detroit is also having billions of dollars worth of investment in it's core. That could be a game changer for Michigan as a whole. Historically the states fate has risen and fell with the fate of the auto industry alone. In the Millennial age Detroit was never seen as an attractive city compared to the trendy tech hubs. As Detroit continues to stabilize and be viewed as more hip, we should continue to see population gains compound. The unfortunate truth is that Michigan's fates and trends are almost inextricable from Detroit's. As Detroit continues its rise so should Michigan as a whole. The crappy winter factor will not be as much of a component.