JRich2425

Comerica Building Facelift

33 posts in this topic


http://www.mlive.com...t_river_default

Interesting piece of news this morning on MLive. Any speculations on this project? The owner claims the facelift will "bring a much more contemporary feel" but I don't see a whole lot of options to freshen up this short brick box.

Wow, another distressed sale, 1/2 off the purchase price in 2004. Now is the time to buy commercial buildings in downtown GR apparently.

The ground floor does have a bunch of glass block wall (?) that could probably stand to be replaced. A restaurant on the ground floor would add interest, but can downtown support another restaurant?

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I always thought the Comerica building was one of the better looking buildings downtown... relatively speaking. Still, anyone willing to invest in the downtown deserves some credit.

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I agree, Wingbert. I wasn't bashing the building, but merely saying I don't see many options to alter the appearance. The poor occupancy rate was a bit surprising. Let's hope new ownership brings prosperity.

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So is it a common PR technique for real estate owners to announce the possibility of a "facelift" to make a just-purchased building more of a news story? Because that's all I feel is going on here. I really do think 99 Monroe looks fine. So does 50 Monroe, for that matter.

Or is the "historic building" commercial market killing the "modern building" market? It's certainly true that on this forum, we tend to celebrate when a firm relocates into an old downtown building, but we haven't really paid attention to what's happening inside the skyscrapers.

Edited by RegalTDP

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It'd be nice to see them get rid of the glass block on the ground floor and get a little more transparency on the street level. If I were the new owner, I'd consider building something on the small lot that sits to the south of the building. I used to work in this building and it was always an odd little lot that seemed like it could be put to better use. Maybe a ground-floor restaurant / better lobby would give it better exposure? :)

Joe

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Judging from the article, I think that the facelift will be mainly focused on the interior. That's where 80's-era styles would really hurt this building's competitiveness, I would think. I don't see how they could make much of a change to the exterior (other than removing the glass block at the ground level that GRDad mentioned) without spending a ton of money, for little benefit. The article mentions improvements to the common areas, as well as mechanical upgrades.

Or is the "historic building" commercial market killing the "modern building" market? It's certainly true that on this forum, we tend to celebrate when a firm relocates into an old downtown building, but we haven't really paid attention to what's happening inside the skyscrapers.

If this trend is occurring, I doubt that the trendiness of old buildings is the main cause. The historic buildings that are selling well have received significant upgrades, and therefore have new (or newly refurbished) mechanicals and interior designs. They've leapfrogged the newer buildings, causing them to need to play catch-up.

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I hope they leave the brick alone. No cladding over it or painting it. Please do remove the glass block though.

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So is it a common PR technique for real estate owners to announce the possibility of a "facelift" to make a just-purchased building more of a news story? Because that's all I feel is going on here. I really do think 99 Monroe looks fine. So does 50 Monroe, for that matter.

Or is the "historic building" commercial market killing the "modern building" market? It's certainly true that on this forum, we tend to celebrate when a firm relocates into an old downtown building, but we haven't really paid attention to what's happening inside the skyscrapers.

I think you nailed it. They all know that MLive/Grand Rapids will run with any story about downtown redevelopment. And frankly I think UrbanPlanet has helped fuel that news angle for about 5 or 6 years.

Downtown has predominantly been filled with large law firms, commercial bankers and investment bankers. All 3 have taken a beating over the last few years. Now the new office users are tech companies, but tech firms want to be in loft offices, not cube farms with oak paneling and Times New Roman fonts on the elevator signs.

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I think the big circles on the top of the building scream of the 80's. Other than that and the ground floor, I think it's a pretty decent building. Will be interesting to see what they do (if anything).

Also, I don't think "new development" articles are a new thing. I could rattle off 20 or 30 projects I've read about (that either happened or didn't) dating way back. People are proud of downtown Grand Rapids. Why not keep the public informed?

I don't necessarily think UP helps fuel it. I think this type of news story has always been here but now there are forums, news sites and social networks where even small news travels fast. Heck, I remember joining UP when there were 2 people in the GR forum (one from Detroit), and I thought it was amazing that anyone had the same interest in downtown that I did. In the real world, people looked at me cross-eyed when I'd discuss some derelict building that "might, maybe, potentially" get renovated. ;)

Joe

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Hopefully skywalk deli moves to a bigger and better location

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Now there's a petition. How exactly does that work? Petitioning a private building owner as to who their tenants should be?

http://www.change.org/petitions/franklin-partners-llc-stop-the-eviction-of-skywalk-deli-in-grand-rapids-mi?utm_campaign=share_button_mobile&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=25708476

This town has gotten loopy.

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Now there's a petition. How exactly does that work? Petitioning a private building owner as to who their tenants should be?

http://www.change.or...m_term=25708476

This town has gotten loopy.

...Is this gonna be on a ballot initiative in November? :whistling:

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Now there's a petition. How exactly does that work? Petitioning a private building owner as to who their tenants should be?

http://www.change.or...m_term=25708476

This town has gotten loopy.

I dunno, what better outlet is there for loyal customers to show their disapproval? It's not like it's binding. I'm not sure this is "a major hit to Grand Rapids' tradition and culture", but I think it's great that people are showing their support for the local business and telling Franklin that they don't want to see the business forced out.

I don't recall such fervent support for My Bar & Grill when they were forced out of their location.

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I dunno, what better outlet is there for loyal customers to show their disapproval? It's not like it's binding. I'm not sure this is "a major hit to Grand Rapids' tradition and culture", but I think it's great that people are showing their support for the local business and telling Franklin that they don't want to see the business forced out.

I don't recall such fervent support for My Bar & Grill when they were forced out of their location.

They probably should have shown their support by making Skywalk Deli more successful (and more desirable as a tenant).

The building's assessed value will probably be appealed, since it sold recently for half of what it was worth in 2004. That's half the tax revenue for the city. If Panera brings in more tenants, overall that's better for the city than Skywalk Deli staying there (which could move to 20 other spaces downtown).

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Is Skywalk even interested in relocating? The MLive article implied that they were shutting down altogether. It could certainly be a misinterpretation by the journalist, but if Skywalk is content with shutting down, any discussion about alternative locations for them is a bit moot. I certainly like the support for local businesses, but I stand along side of GRDad in saying dollars are more supportive than signatures.

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Im still sad about my bar and grill. Never had the pleasure of going to skywalk deli. Didnt even know it was there

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I don't blame Franklin Partners or Panera for their actions at all, but this is still a cautious reminder of what you're up against when you own a small business.

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While I'm pro local business, I can see why the new owners would try to court a national chain that has long hours (breakfast, lunch, dinner and beyond). I've heard great things about Skywalk deli and actually think they might do better with increased visibility outside of the skywalk.

I had heard Panera was moving into the former Sami's spot (ie. the dentist office that never happened). Prime location for a good deli and a bit of a land swap. ;)

Joe

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I don't blame Franklin Partners or Panera for their actions at all, but this is still a cautious reminder of what you're up against when you own a small business.

It sounds like they got quite a few breaks along the way. They apparently missed rent payments with the previously landlord, and weren't evicted. Then Franklin Partners invited them to put together a proposal to take over the ground floor space themselves, but ended up going with Panera (supposedly, it hasn't been confirmed by Franklin yet).

I had never even heard of skywalk deli before this, or maybe I recall going by it once while walking through the skywalk (??) And I eat lunch downtown a lot. They probably would be better served in a new location. And they should keep the name.

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It's assessed at $18.7mm. They paid $11.8mm. By my back of the napkin, that's another $170k up in smoke each year. The City only gets a fraction of that, but still ... Panera going in isn't going to make a huge dent, but it'll help.

As for Skywalk, I've been there quite a few times. They make a fine grilled sandwich. Quit possibly some of the best sandwiches downtown. I will still welcome a Panera, though. People hate chains, but if you actually have chains other than Subway, it means your downtown is at least marginally better than "crappy hole in the wall" shops trolling for cheap rent. No offense to local shops of course--I love them and they're great--but the quality and consistency is often sketchy, and they tend to have limited lifespans. A chain is a much better draw.

The building's assessed value will probably be appealed, since it sold recently for half of what it was worth in 2004. That's half the tax revenue for the city. If Panera brings in more tenants, overall that's better for the city than Skywalk Deli staying there (which could move to 20 other spaces downtown).

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I agree, chains do have a bit more traction. TGI Friday's has been there for quite some time, right? Also, anyone know how Buffalo Wild Wings is doing? Anecdotal at best but whenever I go by it seems pretty busy.

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B-dubs is in a great location I imagine they do pretty good. We'll see how they do in the first full football season :)

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I think Bw3 is doing fine... Or maybe it's just the phenomal weather that made getting a seat outside a long wait pushing us somewhere else.

I gotto imagine a pan era bread snapping up a lot of convention business.

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