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MJLO last won the day on September 21 2013

MJLO had the most liked content!

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About MJLO

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  • Birthday 07/25/1980

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  1. MJLO

    Suburban Projects

    The emergence of the Rivertown corridor is the very thing that lead to the demise of Jenison's retail presence. Crossing from the Ottawa County suburbs into Grandville, is tantamount to crossing into Wyoming from Grandville. I think it's the lack in uniform development infrastructure that makes them feel more separate. It's a six minute freeway ride from Hudsonville to Grandville. I don't think there's much value in trying to create a retail corridor in Hudsonville/Jennison. It's the equivalent of feeling that Cascade and Ada should have a retail corridor separate from the 28th and EBL area IMO.
  2. MJLO

    Proposed 400 room Hotel at Devos Place

    To be fair their hotel management arm will likely be the third party firm that operates it. They have an interest in every property from the post office to the Arena. Is it possible that part of their announcement for the 5/3rd building could include relocating the Windquest offices from the building it's in? I could see that building being incorporated into some kind of hotel plan. Especially given that it would share a wall with whatever structure would be built for the hotel.
  3. MJLO

    The State of Downtown Grand Rapids Retail

    Not sure what you mean here by biting the bullet. Are you asking why retailers haven't "taken one for the team" to fill the space? Or are you asking why the developers haven't tried to incentivize the filling of the spaces?
  4. MJLO

    Suburban Projects

    A big part of Rivertown's problem was the total lack of investment by GGP over the last 10 years. It virtually looks the same as it did the day it opened(minus the visible wear and neglect of the facilities). Woodland is a property that is more than 30 years older than Rivertown. It has received a steady stream of investment and re-imaging over the last 20 years, which is why it's in a much healthier position. The notion that this area is too small for the kind of investment needed to bring the Rivertown to a healthy level is absurd. Show me another 1.5 million person growing retail market that can't support 2 super regional centers. Again we are being told by "experts" outside of West Michigan that the area is "too small". In this case the Mi-Biz article is relying on expertise from the director of a Detroit area real estate firm. It could be that Brookfield Capital only invests in properties in 2 million+ markets who knows. In that case by all means put lipstick on that piggy and flip it to a company that will actually invest in it. Never forget that outside "experts" were behind the decision for Bank of America to more or less vacate this market. Then only to rush back into GR as a "new" market a couple years later(once they realized the level of economic potential and growth they abandoned). My favorite example of outside "experts" underestimating this area would be Trader Joe's. They built a smaller format store that could be converted to something else when it didn't work out. Three years later they still have to store extra product outside behind the building, because they don't have anywhere near the storage space they need to support the volume at that location. I don't know if the Western Michigan commercial real estate and economic development arms need to do a better job of educating outside "experts" on the true potential of the area. Perhaps the people making these decisions from offices in major metropolitan areas need to adjust the formulaic ways they make these decisions. What's clear is they consistently get it wrong here.
  5. MJLO

    Proposed 400 room Hotel at Devos Place

    Why don't you take a look at what happened with the hotels built by other convention authorities? The lodging industry in Grand Rapids has been posting record occupancy for several years now. With as aggressive as they have been with booking business there's no evidence to suggest it will slow. If the CAA knows it needs X number of hotel rooms to book bigger events, but the current development scene leaves them short, it makes sense to make up the difference. It's an investment to bring in the bigger dollars. They will still have to get a mainstream hotel brand, they will still be subject to the standards to keep the branding, and they will still have to charge rates in line with the market. This is not the same as if the city of Grand Rapids were to build "Government Cheeseburgers" next door to McDonalds, then undercut their prices because they don't need a profit. To infer so is a bit disingenuous IMO. If it anchors a flagship brand it will still be priced slightly higher than all these mid level brands popping up everywhere, and will have a minimal impact on the overall market.
  6. MJLO

    Proposed 400 room Hotel at Devos Place

    Something smaller would make zero sense on that location, adding 6-8 stories on top of that section of the convention center would be way to expensive to justify the cost. If the option is too scale it back it will likely never get built. I understand your sentiments here, though I've seen this done in other cities and it worked fine in conjunction with the other hotels in the market(Phoenix built a GIGANTIC Sheraton when I lived there). I think this is somewhat of a chicken and egg issue for the CAA. As stated in the article they are open to working with a private developer, but none of them appear ready to take the risk right now. The number of hotels rooms coming online in the city will support existing conventions. They still aren't enough to track the major conventions the area is looking for. GR still cannot compete with slightly larger cities for similar conventions as it's only now catching up to where it should be. The thought process seems to be adding these additional rooms will put the area near or at the hotel capacity needed for attracting these bigger events. If that is true, and this hotel allows them to attract these events, it will raise the bar for the entire market, not take away business from the private hotels being built. If they end up building this I'm curious to see what brand they go with. We are all aware of the lack of a flagship brand in Grand Rapids, though both the Amway and JW are an echelon above flagship brands so downtown doesn't lack for quality. Based on location this will undoubtedly be managed by Amway Hotel Corp. It also seems plausible that this would be a flagship to higher end brand as well. I don't think it would make sense to put another Hilton Garden type property in such a high profile location. If they were smart they'd target Westin, maybe Sheraton. Currently the only Intercontinental brand available downtown is the Holiday Inn. Any traveling hotel princess like myself would be annoyed at that option if I'm an IHG loyalty member. A Westin would mean that all major hotel groups would be represented with multiple options for convention traffic. Since Sheraton(SPG) was absorbed by Marriott Brands they have options, but longtime Sheraton members don't have familiar brands either. It will be interesting to see what happens.
  7. MJLO

    Grand Rapids Then and Now

    Agreed. In the 1960s the city almost doubled in land area by annexing suburban swaths out toward 44th st. That annexation hid the true exodus out of Grand Rapids core in during the late 60s. It also diluted the losses seen during the 70s. It would be very interesting to see the true decline in that original 24sq mi area that made up the core.
  8. MJLO

    DeVos Family Headquarters (Old 5/3 building)

    Honestly I think Billy Joel's song is more akin to Allentown's version of Newsweek calling Grand Rapids a dying city in 2011. It's only ever recorded a population loss in the 1980 census, and it was only down 4% at that. The city grew more than 10% from 2000-2010 so it's really not that bad of company to be with IMO https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allentown%2C_Pennsylvania#Demographics
  9. MJLO

    DeVos Family Headquarters (Old 5/3 building)

    OMG Why did you have to say that. If that does happen I'm going to start a movement to replace the HPC with a spreadsheet that contains a series of "IF/THEN" scenarios.
  10. MJLO

    New projects in East Hills

    That makes me kind of sad. I was hoping that building would get freshened up a bit.
  11. MJLO

    Suburban Projects

    I'm not surprised by that sale price honestly. The two properties used to just be Ramblewood North and South, until they were sold by AIMCO. Together they easily have more than 3 times the units the castle does(and in a better location in terms of retail/grocery access). Ramblewood South(Woodlake) in particular has some fairly unique and open floor-plans. They are quite progressive for the time period they were built. After it acquired the properties from the original developers, AIMCO neglected the properties and the management team was known for predatory and dishonest business practices. There's nowhere for the reputation to go but up. The properties are income ready as is, but if the new ownership does actual renovations beyond the superficial appointments done by AIMCO, they might be able to flip it again.
  12. MJLO

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    This I’m one of those people with a direct 36th st connection on my wish list as well.
  13. I wonder if FP talked to any out-state companies as well. There are some pretty massive and progressive Fortune 500 companies scattered throughout the state, located in cities that are downright toxic to attracting the modern talent base. No offense to Jackson, Battle Creek, Midland, or Benton Harbor. but the companies headquartered in these cities have been desperately finding creative ways to attracted an educated talent pool for a least 20 years. If a shiny new office building is going get filled downtown it would be from companies like that. Not one of the big, cash shy private W. Michigan companies that are doubling down their investments in their suburban fortresses. To me their assumptions about these companies show a bit of an amateur naivety I wouldn't have expected. Anyone on here could have told them this and saved them $. It's not a secret.
  14. MJLO

    Medical Mile/Michigan Street Developments

    I think it looks sharp honestly.
  15. MJLO

    New projects on the West Side

    Does anyone know the status of the proposed Consumers Energy office? They have put of temporary plastic orange fencing around portions of the 501 Alabama property. Currently they are replacing the side walk along the Alabama side of the property. I'm not sure that I remember a side walk being replaced before they were to start work on a project like that. Usually it seems things like sidewalks are some of the last details finished in these types of projects, though I can't say that I've ever payed close attention. There hasn't been much information since this was initially announced in March, has it stalled?