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About acarlton

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    Unincorporated Area
  1. While the space downtown is certainly beginning to diminish. The bigger issue with urban retail is getting the retail itself to agree to come downtown (as opposed to Rivertown, 28th, Knapp and now "the Village"). They really need to see a catalyst to view the area as a viable entrepeneural opportunity and a huge flux in condos is not going to cut it. Unfortunately, if "the Village" is a go then all those stores will never agree to come downtown (until their lease is up) because of the proxmity. We then have a tougher challenge of finding alternatives. If I were to do a shopping district, I would put it behind the vanAndel arena along 131 between Oakes and Cherry. This way it has a presence from the highway, link to the GR skyway, connection to Ionia corridor and the monroe center corridor. I would use existing buildings and connect them with indoor/outdoor courtyards. All underground parking too with a trolley or streetcar to bring folks to other parts of the city.
  2. I agree GRDadof3 in terms of the economical reasoning behind BDR's plan. I don't really blame them, in fact I know Kevin Einfeld really well and he is a good guy with a realistic/smart business sense. He has found a niche in the Forest Hills/Cascade market and made a successful company from it. But the fact that I like Kevin, doesn't diminish the frustration I have with the city being in competition with the susburban retail market for substantial stores. I realize that development is not marketable for the "common good" ...there needs to be an economic incentive. Do I wish GR developers would "get off their asses?" of course, but changing the perception that DT can sustain retail is far more difficult than adding a Banana Republic to Cascade. So what is the solution? (we should really switch this conversation to the "Downtown Retail Thread") I am not sure, but I believe we will get there. Its just frustrating playing the waiting game.
  3. I just read this section for the first time and I feel like I am going to throw-up. I just started working on the Downtown Branding Proposal from the city with suggestions to bring this sort of thing downtown. Basically all of the suggestions from UP forumers for downtown are being used in "The Village." Now we cannot bring the same stores downtown too. It sucks because any downtown projects of this nature would take years of city legislation approvals, but in the suburbs...anyone with money and an idea can build without difficulty. While the outdoor structure of "The Village" mirrors some prinicpals of New Urbanism, where is the regional mindset that is so important to wise planning? The problem with GR (and its metro areas) retail is lack of density based on population. We can't remedy that by building yet another destination to drive cars to. As much as businesses are out to compete with one another for our hard-earned dollars, there is a certain level of interdependence on the synergy created by density. It makes me sick to think that all the efforts to further develop downtown could be stifled by this suburban draw. There has been so much discussion about urban retail and its importance to a successful city, yet there is little we can do to thwart the ignornace of local developers. What ever happened to long-term thinking? Maybe I am making too big of a deal about this, but I had such grand hopes for GR in 5-10 years. Developments like this make it tough to be an idealist. I may have to give Kevin at BDR a call...I thought they were moving in the right direction with their waterfront project in Grand Haven...I guess not. -anne
  4. My husband and I are huge fans of 'Marie Catribs' breakfast. They serve these stuffed crepes with cream cheese, carmelized bananas and walnuts--damn good! I am glad it is almost 5:00, because I am getting hungry. Good topic. I am always up for trying new places to eat.
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