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joeDowntown

It's a Fight!

15 posts in this topic

Looks like Bob Sullivan, owner of the Days Inn Downtown is starting "Taxpayers Against Waste" to combat the Alticor hotel:

A local hotel owner is leading a campaign to pull the plug on government assistance for a rival's hotel plan, saying a tax break worth millions of dollars is "corporate welfare."

There Is plenty of room at local inns, argues Bob Sullivan, so government should not provide millions of dollars to help Alticor Inc. build a downtown Marriott, according to his new group, Taxpayers Against Waste.

I know we have discussed this before, but there a couple of things that annoy me.

1) His hotel is becoming an eyesore. Maybe a little facade work and re-branding of his hotel would help him more than forming T.A.W.

2) He has already stated that the Marriott Tower would block his view of the river (sour grapes?) from his condo in Plaza Towers.

3) His hotel is off the beaten path. I wouldn't want to walk that stretch as a convention goer in early January.

Bob Sullivan also sued the city when the Public Museum went up, saying it ruined his view of the river (I believe they settled with him). Instead of fighting progress, why doesn't he join it. Bob, make your hotel a viable option through upgrades. Competition is good. Join the battle.

I know that there are issues with the way the DDA is funding the streetscape/seawall, but this seems a bit like a schoolyard tiff where he is threatening to hold his breath until he turns blue. Try it Bob. ;)

Joe

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I think this is a crusade motivated primarily by self interest. that said, I'll put myself out on a limb by saying Sullivan has some good points.to that end my objections to the new hotel are as follows:

first of all, the construction of a hotel will offer benefits to downtown primarily in the form of short-term construction jobs, then a large amount of low-paying hospitality operations jobs. when was the last time a grand plaza employee spun off his own hotel or business? not recently, since most of the employment at grand plaza is low-paying and low-skilled.

secondly I believe the design of the hotel, though striking, is anti-urban. the designers want to create a self-contained service cluster out of the convention center, devos hall, and the grand plaza hotel. they propose to eliminate the need for movement in the city by creating a helistop for elite guests. they propose to invalidate the streets through skywalks. they propose to emasculate their building's neighborhood appearnace through a fortified street-level approach. the last great riverfront project like this was detroit's renaissance center, self-contained and grandiose, once chronically bankrupt and now under a multimillion dollar renovation which attempts to return the facility to the city from which it came. I don't see why the DDA should throw money at a project like this in GR - it is a self-serving structure with no city benefits, at least as alticor presently proposes to build it.

all the same, density of people and activity downtown are great. mr. sullivan is using suburban tactics - "he's blocking my view," - to stall riverfront high rise development that must happen in order for downtown grand rapids to reach a critical mass for a self-sustaining economy. this objection is invalid.

I think the hotel design is stupid, pretty from miles away but ugly in close-up. if I were the DDA I would insist upon true urbanist standards for its design and construction before I extended EVERYONE's taxpayer money to finance its construction. competition with the day's inn is good; greater availability of downtown hotel stock is good; dense development is good. a grand structure by the river, however, financed by public money, ought to benefit everyone and not just marriott corporation and the elites who propose to build the structure with our dollars.

let's look closer at this hotel, I'd say. time spent in conscientious evaluation and cooperation is not time wasted, but time invested in the future. why give these rich men carte blanche with our money when we can tell them what we want them to do with it instead?

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I think Bob Sullivan is wasting his time. Joe makes some good points. There is nothing special about his hotel and it's appearance is quite bland. It's basically a big box. It definately needs some facade work. I wouldn't want to make the walk either in the winter. Sullivan claims there is plenty of rooms at local inns. First of all, what inns is talking about and how far away is he considering "local". It's a well known fact that businesses that have thought about using the convention center said they couldn't use it, because there wasn't enough hotel space for the number of guests and vistors. Also, we need the hotel for jobs, taxes and is essential for downtown growth. Sullivan will go no where with this. Does he actually think the city's gonna stop downtown growth for his precious views of the river. Don't get me wrong, having a hotel room with a view of the river is nice, but the city isn't gonna stop development just because of him. I disagree with Dan though. I think the hotel is a great design except for the height, I was hoping it would at least match Amway's height. Like any design we have to wait to see what it'll look like after it's been built, before we make any final conclusions. I do agree with Dan that the helistop is a bad idea. It's an interesting idea, but it doesn't really fit with the hotel.

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I don't really like the design of the hotel. But, the sad result of todays lazy society is that to build a first class hotel it has to have everything they want - and it has to be a self sustaining environment. Sorry, but that is just how it is.

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Love, hate or dislike the new hotel, one fact remains. It will add vibrance, jobs and density to our great city. With thta being said, that is the DDA's focus. This is not out of line with what the DDA does for the city. That is there job, hence the name downtown DEVELOPMENT authority.

Joe

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I'm sorry, but if Sullivan thinks his beloved Ho-Jo's out on 28th and Buchannan is a great place for conventioneers to stay- his idea of Grand Rapids must SUCK!

That is a crummy part of town- I really do not want to hear him complaining he will lose convention business there. Possibly the Days Inn, but the Howard Johnson on 28th is not a key hotel in GR.

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I just read WZZM's website and it looks like Alticor got the tax breaks needed. Maybe big Bob can sell some carpet to the new Mariott.

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I'm sorry, but if Sullivan thinks his beloved Ho-Jo's out on 28th and Buchannan is a great place for conventioneers to stay- his idea of Grand Rapids must SUCK!

That is a crummy part of town- I really do not want to hear him complaining he will lose convention business there. Possibly the Days Inn, but the Howard Johnson on 28th is not a key hotel in GR.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Did you read the letter in today's press from the general manager (and T.A.W. officer) at Howard Johnston? He claims that the new hotel wouldn't create any new jobs and that recent feasibility studies show that GR is far over-built with hotels. That's funny, I thought we were still several hundred rooms behind what the convention center would demand.

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And amazingly, this will be the first hotel in the history of the world to be completely built and operated by robots. :)

Wouldn't create any jobs? That is just silly.

Did you read the letter in today's press from the general manager (and T.A.W. officer) at Howard Johnston?  He claims that the new hotel wouldn't create any new jobs and that recent feasibility studies show that GR is far over-built with hotels.  That's funny, I thought we were still several hundred rooms behind what the convention center would demand.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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IN REGARD TO ALL OF THIS MARRIOTT TOWER DRAMA, ANYONE THAT KNOWS ME KNOWS THAT I AM SITTING BACK, SIGHING AND DOING THIS UNTIL IT HURTS ----> :D

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I'm also very happy :D that it is progressing very quickly now, even with all the complaints and resistance. It will be exciting to watch it go up along the river bank along with River House fairly soon. In today's Press, it said hotel construction could start in one month. That is awesome. :thumbsup:

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What is the outlook of convention center bookings for the upcoming years? Hotel occupancy has been lower than expected with the addition and hopeful promise of the new convention center, last I heard.

One viable location I anticipate a hotel soon is on East Beltline, near the I-96 interchange. Hotel guests would be minutes away from regional attractions such as the Meijer Gardens and Celebration Village, plus benefit from close access to the expressway to reach downtown attractions. I know there have been a few failed attempts to get a hotel in that area, but I think it will just be a matter of time. Of course, that all depends on the course of development and excitement on those two attractions.

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Hotel, bank headquarters OK'd for Duba's site ; City commissioners gave their OK to the project after resolving concerns over sewage overloads and traffic jams.; [All Editions]

Jim Harger / The Grand Rapids Press. The Grand Rapids Press. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Sep 22, 2004. pg. E.1

People: Rabaut, Lynn, Williams, Chuck

Companies: Northpointe Bank

Section: Business

Text Word Count 431

Document URL:

Abstract (Document Summary)

Grand Rapids city commissioners approved the plan after being persuaded traffic tie-ups on East Beltline Avenue NE at Int. 96 and worries about sewage overloads will be handled as the 10-acre site is developed in phases.

Plans for the first phase -- building a new headquarters for Northpointe Bank -- will include an attempt to resolve some of the area's traffic congestion by preventing cars ...

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