KCLBADave

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KCLBADave last won the day on June 15 2012

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About KCLBADave

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  1. KCLBADave

    Creston Neighborhood

    Creston Brewery Opens Its Event Space Check out the photos in this blog about Creston Brewery opening its new event space upstairs. It looks killer. Methinks this place will be rented out a lot! Great addition to the Creston neighborhood.
  2. KCLBADave

    Kingdom Square

    Smaritas has received a tax credit allocation to do senior housing on the large older part of the building, their plans are do a design charrette for the rest of the property to get it developed into single family and multi-family homes.
  3. KCLBADave

    The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

    I totally agree with you in that we need to place as much emphasis on finding solutions to the economics as it relates to finding reasonable ways for folks to earn more. I also agree that the solution needs to be multifaceted. At the same time when one considers economics we cannot ignore the economics of development as well. As has been well discussed in this forum it costs about $250,000 to build a 1,300 square foot reasonably designed home. If that home is not worth $250,000 then we cannot build, in the traditional sense, our way out of this housing crisis. What I appreciated about this article is it really touched on all aspects of the problem.
  4. KCLBADave

    The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

    After June 12th, I will be able to post and comment a lot more on this site on issues related to zoning, planning, housing, and development. To get the ball rolling, I encourage you Grand Rapidian UP'rs to read this great article about a group in Seattle looking to flip the script on their housing woes: A Must Read Housing Article - Politico.com To whet your appetite for these discussions here are a couple of money quotes from the article: "But that tech-fueled demand has tended to overshadow the other driver: insufficient supply. Since the end of the financial crisis, Lubarsky says, Seattle has added roughly 100,000 jobs, but barely 32,000 new homes and apartment units. “We’ve underbuilt every year since 2010,” he adds. And a big part of that deficit, Lubarsky says, is due to neighborhoods like Wallingford, where zoning laws make it almost impossible to build anything other than a single-family house." "Predictably, the campaign has provoked a fierce backlash from homeowners, many of them Baby Boomers who arrived in the 60s and 70s. They’ve sued to block the proposed “up-zones” to their neighborhoods, which, they warn, will kill the very “character” that makes Seattle’s housing so charming to newcomers in the first place. But to Lubarsky, that cherished neighborhood character was always false advertising, given how few people can actually afford it. “My generation is never going to have that,” he says, gesturing to a tricked-out Craftsman with a tidy yard and paved driveway. “There are too many of us to live like that.” "When homeowners say they’re fighting to protect neighborhood character, Lubarsky says, “it really feels to me like they just don’t want young people in their neighborhood.” "Known variously as urbanism, practivism and YIMBYism (Yes In My Backyard), the movement argues that the urban housing crisis has grown so severe that traditional approaches to affordability, such as rent control or state-subsidized housing, are wholly inadequate. "
  5. KCLBADave

    The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

    Here are some numbers to blow everyone's hair back: As of 15 min ago on the GRAR site: Only 94 single family homes for sale at any price point in Grand Rapids. Cheapest is $58,900 most expensive is $1.4 M for a home to be built in the Belknap neighborhood. Since this is an affordable housing discussion I am looking at the $159K to $189K price range. There are only 9 homes for sale. In all of Kent County there are only 676 homes for sale at any price point. Back to affordable home ownership, I chose the same price range as above and there are only 38 homes for sale. This is a full blown crisis.
  6. KCLBADave

    Predictions for the coming year

    It was awarded LIHTC's. The project is located on the site with the abandoned church on the corner of Burton just East of Division.
  7. KCLBADave

    Keeler Building - 56 North Division

    The good news in all of this is now that it is on the National Historic Registry, that stays on the building no matter what. I can't imagine the option the developers that had on this building is still alive. Most likely the historic designation might open the door for another development to make sense on this site.
  8. KCLBADave

    The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

    Jeff, I do not disagree with you at all. Let me point us back to the title of the topic, "Affordable Housing." While Eastbrook Builders is certainly able to deliver at $110-$118/sf, they are able to do this on land they control where they can build critical mass, and bring in a sales price north of $200K as a baseline. The KCLBA has brought Eastbrook Builders, along with at least 6 other large scale developers through the City to tour our 100+ buildable lots to see if there was any interest. There was none, even from Sable Homes who builds very basic entry level homes in the region at a price point less than $200K. So, we turned to local smaller builders and our price per square foot ballooned quickly to $150/sf at the min to a high of $185/sf. Even when we exclude the cost of the land because we own it outright, we are still looking at $225-$250K sales prices for 1,300-1,500/sf homes. This brings me to modular. I will try to use as much restraint and grace as I can in this next comment. The KCLBA had a lot of hope with Bossardet's modular concept. All we were told was that his concept would deliver to the urban in-fill market a price that would fit the neighborhood. The $249K sales price blew our hair back. Frankly we wish we were not mentioned in the article about his project as we don't want to be associated with it...Oh well. Here is the good news. The KCLBA has partnered with Champion Homes, one of the largest modular home builders in the country. They have vast experience in the urban environment using modular for in-fill new construction at a neighborhood level. They are working on specific designs finishes, and floor plans for the KCLBA. I posted a draft rendering of one design here. [Side note on the photo: A3 -before you tear into this design or use of materials we are making some substantial changes so it does not look so suburban, changes to pitch, gables, porch post materials, etc.] What you see here is a 1,400 square foot 3 bed, 2.5 bath. We also have a couple of REALLY cool long narrow front to back ranch homes. Based on substantial meetings last week with the Champion executive team, we are pretty confident we can deliver these completely finished with appliances at the $159-$189K price point and not lose money. To be fair, the KCLBA does not have to worry about cost of land, and we do not need to build in huge mark up due to our funding model. That being said, I do not think there is a neighborhood in GR that couldn't support these price points. Now that I understand costs for modular, it leaves me a significant question about the price point on the Race Street modular home. The land was purchased for a very low cost. What I see looks like two very simple modular boxes stacked on top of each other. I find it hard to not imagine there is a rather hefty mark up on this project at $249K. Although, there was one little pearl in the article that did make me pause a bit. The manufacturer that built this home state they did 77 homes last year. Champion has two plants making our homes and each plant produces 350 units a month! Stay tuned, there is a lot more to come from the KCLBA on this front. I am hoping it will be a game changer when it comes to affordable home ownership in the City. As we get more details, I will post them here.
  9. KCLBADave

    Wealthy Street Needed Renovations

    Seeing it last night, I was really impressed at how much is new and how many historic elements have been maintained inside. I spoke with the builder last night and he told me about the incredible amount of work that went into reclaiming the terrazzo floor alone, and it is impressive. Plus the open kitchen is really impressive and I cannot believe the amount of work that took.
  10. KCLBADave

    Wealthy Street Needed Renovations

    I was able to take part in Georgina's soft opening last night. I believe their grand opening is today. In the spirit of this forum, let me say what an amazing transformation of this building. I also think it is pretty darn cool that Chef Tony, the owner will be living in one of the apartments upstairs. Let me also add that our meal was probably one of the top 5 meals I have ever eaten in our fine dining City. This is certainly a welcome addition to our restaurant scene. Chef Tony is a bit nervous about this new venture as it is a huge investment, I hope people support him. Latin/Asian Fusion, seriously good!
  11. KCLBADave

    New projects on the West Side

    Overall, I am pretty concerned about the incredible overuse of metal panels as an exterior application on many of the new developments around town. I am not sure how they will hold up over time. I believe one of the first uses was Metropolitan Park Apartments on Ionia (photo attached). I drive/walk by this development multiple times a day as my office close. These have not held up well at all. They look pretty weathered and grungy.
  12. KCLBADave

    People talking about Grand Rapids

    With an average sales price of $249,000 and the fact that it costs about $250,000 to build a reasonably sized home it means we are not going to be able to build our way out of the housing shortage any time soon. On another, somewhat related note, I was told by a VERY credible source that the rental market in GR is softening very fast. To quote my source: "The rental market is down, various sectors of the rental property business have rising vacancies and good tenants are getting harder to find forcing the to reduce rents and re-think their requirements for an applicant." We should watch this closely.
  13. KCLBADave

    New projects in Monroe North

    You are brave. I am deathly afraid of heights. Looking through those photos made my stomach queasy.
  14. KCLBADave

    The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

    Jeff, I could not agree with you more. The housing recommendations are live now, we finished them up this AM. Potentially even more impactful is the recommendations from the Rose Fellowship. As I just stated in the morning commission meeting, if one understands the full implications of many of these recommendations, they have the potential to be incredibly controversial and impactful (the latter is my personal opinion. Here is a link: http://s3.amazonaws.com/downtowngr.org/general/Rose-Center-Presentation-to-City-Commission-11.14.17.pdf?mtime=20171114104222
  15. KCLBADave

    The "Affordable Housing" Discussion in GR

    Back story, I got a call on Friday from someone telling me that they saw that I was on this panel. That was news to me! . Since my mug was already distributed for the event and I had the evening open, I participated. Frankly, it was kind of hard for me to answer some of the questions because they were so pointed as it relates to the City Commission. Regardless, I was open and blunt and will own what I said. The room was packed.