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State Street

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I turned up State Street on my daily walk today for the first time in a long time and had to walk in the street because of construction going on blocking the sidewalk at 311 State. It looks like someone is doing some serious renovating. This is a building that years ago was a hospital supply store but most recently was I believe a charter school. Anybody know what’s going on?

There are some old pictures of the building in this thread, I would have just posted to the thread but it is so old it has been archived:

http://www.urbanplan...1-311-state-st/

It also looked like there may be signs of life the next block up at the old GMAC building at 345 State. Again anybody know? I found an old thread for that address too:

http://www.urbanplan...2-345-state-st/

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AFAIK 311 State is the office for Third Coast Development. Now 3CDP's website doesn't even mention this building, but then again the website still lists 545 Michigan as their office even though I know that Spectrum Health moved into that space. But who knows, maybe they moved out of 311 and someone else is moving in. From your description it sounds like that could be happening.

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So there is now a volunteer group working toward improving State Street:

 

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/02/neighborhood_volunteers_hope_b.html#incart_river

 

This is soooo badly needed! St. Street could be the unofficial 5th business district of Uptown, but it is just hampered by so many problems.

 

Clark's: A potentially great grocery (used to be one) that has become a trash liquor/junk food shack. Rehabbing the place will take care of the homeless loitering in the park across the street.

 

Stuyvesant Apartments: Has some ground floor space for businesses that look to be under-utilized. Needs to be made into a mixed-income apartment. The Section 8 status has just turned it into a drag right in the middle of Heritage Hill.

 

Park professional building: An eyesore that can use a real makeover. Perhaps a couple of extra floors.

 

The series of commercial buildings past the G.R.P.D (excluding the one on the SE corner of Lafayette and State): All look horrible. They were obviously built between 1970-1995 and waste additional land for parking lots, far beyond the size of the building themselves.

 

St. Mary's: Ripped up the last few buildings at the W. End. Uses the space for even more parking. Fronted with a hideous concrete wall.

 

The road can also use some serious repair. Biking down it is a gamble on some days.

Edited by GR_Urbanist

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Keep in mind that it's mainly a "visioning" exercise, to get people to envision that corridor with more actual businesses and activity on it. It's really cool, but hopefully businesses follow suit and take a gamble on that street. Having another low-income healthcare facility may make it better, or maybe worse.

 

Clarification, I should add they will be seeking businesses that would be willing to do "pop-up" shops along State.

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If it weren't for a church in the way, my vision would be to cut Monroe Center through to join with State St.

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If it weren't for a church in the way, my vision would be to cut Monroe Center through to join with State St.

 

They used to. State Street and Monroe Center used to be an old indian trail from Heritage Hill (not called that back then obviously) down to the river.

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This is soooo badly needed! St. Street is could be the unofficial 5th business district of Uptown, but it is just hampered by so many problems.

 

Clark's: A potentially great grocery (used to be one) that has become a trash liquor/junk food shack. Rehabbing the place will take care of the homeless loitering in the park across the street.

 

Stuyvesant Apartments: Has some ground floor space for businesses that look to be under-utilized. Needs to be made into a mixed-income apartment. The Section 8 status has just turned it into a drag right in the middle of Heritage Hill.

 

Park professional building: An eyesore that can use a real makeover. Perhaps a couple of extra floors.

 

The series of commercial buildings past the G.R.P.D (excluding the one on the SE corner of Lafayette and State): All look horrible. They were obviously built between 1970-1995 and waste additional land for parking lots, far beyond the size of the building themselves.

 

St. Mary's: Ripped up the last few buildings at the W. End. Uses the space for even more parking. Fronted with a hideous concrete wall.

 

The road can also use some serious repair. Biking down it is a gamble on some days.

I agree with you completely. I have always thought that this business district has more potential than any of the other uptown districts due to it's proximity to downtown. revitalizing the area would pay huge dividends for heritage hill as well.  What I would like to see is the park professional building be turned into a urban format grocery with a bakery and a deli.  there seems to be plenty of parking and the fact that it is on two levels shouldn't be too much of an obstacle. getting rid of clarks, making Stuyvesant apts. market rate and converting all their storefronts back into stores would go a long way towards revitalizing the district as well as improving home values in the surrounding blocks of heritage hill.

 

The crappiness of the district effectively cuts the neighgboorhood in half. I was talking to some friends that were looking for a home. they checked out some south of there but when they went to walk downtown were turned off by walking past the area.  they evenetually moved out past east beltline.

 

Running Monroe center to state street would improve the connectivity between downtown and state street immeasurably. it is only two blocks but feels like much more. you would be undoing the great work though on the WMCAT building. I was looking at it a couple of days ago and it seems like it is going to turn out really nice.  

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. . . The series of commercial buildings past the G.R.P.D (excluding the one on the SE corner of Lafayette and State): All look horrible. They were obviously built between 1970-1995 and waste additional land for parking lots, far beyond the size of the building themselves.

 

A bit off-topic I suppose but that building you like on the SE corner of Lafayette and State, the garage converted to a law office, is a relatively recent addition to that location.  Grace Episcopal Church had been on that corner (you know the one where Jerry Ford got married) until it burnt down sometime in the fifties.  The church then moved to East Grand Rapids.  After that it was a fifties style Sinclair Gas Station for years.  The garage was somewhere else in the neighborhood and I believe Saint Mary's had it moved to that corner on some kind of land swap deal involving parking lots.  The newest building just up the block was built about 1960 at the latest.  I know because I went to an orthodontist who was one of the original tenants there when I was in junior high.  Later in the early seventies Grand Valley had an urban outreach program in the same building (the orthodontist's building, not the garage) and I took a couple of courses there on urban planning that first got me interested in the stuff we talk about here.  I rented an apartment in a house on Madison just north of State back then.  A young lawyer, John Logie, and his wife lived in the apartment upstairs from me.      

Edited by walker

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They used to. State Street and Monroe Center used to be an old indian trail from Heritage Hill (not called that back then obviously) down to the river.

On old maps State Street extends all the way to what is now Kalamazoo. The same diagonal. I can only guess that the development and re-platting of heritage hill interrupted that idea. 

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They used to. State Street and Monroe Center used to be an old indian trail from Heritage Hill (not called that back then obviously) down to the river.

I had always assumed they might have since Monroe Center points straight to it, but never knew it actually was the case.  I never saw it like that on any maps, anyway, unless the connection was purely in the trail only before the plotting of streets.

 

I would have never guessed that it once connected to Kalamazoo, however.  Where are the old maps which show this?

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I had always assumed they might have since Monroe Center points straight to it, but never knew it actually was the case.  I never saw it like that on any maps, anyway, unless the connection was purely in the trail only before the plotting of streets.

 

I would have never guessed that it once connected to Kalamazoo, however.  Where are the old maps which show this?

 

I had to go back and look. here is an 1855 plat map that has Kalamazoo extending on a diagonal to what looks like College & Cherry -- I think this must be  what I was thinking of.

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I had to go back and look. here is an 1855 plat map that has Kalamazoo extending on a diagonal to what looks like College & Cherry -- I think this must be  what I was thinking of.

 

Wow, in a lot of ways, it's amazing how little has changed since 1855.

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I had always assumed they might have since Monroe Center points straight to it, but never knew it actually was the case.  I never saw it like that on any maps, anyway, unless the connection was purely in the trail only before the plotting of streets.

 

I would have never guessed that it once connected to Kalamazoo, however.  Where are the old maps which show this?

 

I dug around in some old research. There is an 1855 plat map that has Kalamazoo extending on the diagonal to College & Cherry. That's what I was remembering. By 1863 plat map, that road had disappeared, so it either was a trail or some idealisation. 

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I dug around in some old research. There is an 1855 plat map that has Kalamazoo extending on the diagonal to College & Cherry. That's what I was remembering. By 1863 plat map, that road had disappeared, so it either was a trail or some idealisation. 

 

That's really cool!  Thanks.

 

The Kalamazoo Plank Road was completed in 1855, so my guess is that's what made the old trail obsolete so fast.  Hence Division became the main thoroughfare south, and not Kalamazoo Avenue.

Edited by RegalTDP

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