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arcturus

Wish a bit of Seattle would rub off here

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Just passed through Seattle and am astonished at the amount of downtown construction going on.  Even adjusting by a factor of 10 to account for population differences Grand Rapids aches for the type of growth this city has.  It makes me wonder if there's simply a critical mass an urban area finally hits where things take off.  Of course having Amazon and Microsoft (to name a few) in your backyard helps, but what's stopping an employer of that size for setting up shop here?  Or is it more a cultural or geographic thing where we need to lower our expectations, go for slow and steady, and just be glad we have growth of any kind wedged between 2 major metro areas?

 

http://www.downtownseattle.com/resources/development-and-construction-projects/

 

http://seattletimes.com/html/sundaybuzz/2018525024_sundaybuzz24.html

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Just passed through Seattle and am astonished at the amount of downtown construction going on.  Even adjusting by a factor of 10 to account for population differences Grand Rapids aches for the type of growth this city has.  It makes me wonder if there's simply a critical mass an urban area finally hits where things take off.  Of course having Amazon and Microsoft (to name a few) in your backyard helps, but what's stopping an employer of that size for setting up shop here?  Or is it more a cultural or geographic thing where we need to lower our expectations, go for slow and steady, and just be glad we have growth of any kind wedged between 2 major metro areas?

 

http://www.downtownseattle.com/resources/development-and-construction-projects/

 

http://seattletimes.com/html/sundaybuzz/2018525024_sundaybuzz24.html

 

 

I think there's a certain critical mass that happens after you cross the 1.1 Million mark. That seems to be the magic number for some reason. You usually have at least one major sports team by then, major high end retailers, major national promoters (like LiveNation) take notice of you, major Fortune 500's take notice of you, larger airport serving as a major hub, national homebuilders and national developers take notice. It all acts as catalysts.

 

We're still around 800,000. Kent County had a growth spike in 2011 of almost 6000 people, the most in over a decade, but still not the pace of 1990 - 2000 where it grew by nearly 100,000 people (on pace with some pretty fast growing metros). It might return to that if the overall economy rebounds. Maybe even faster. I think GR has built up quite a reputation as a destination "boutique" city.

 

Obviously there are some exceptions to the 1.1 Million theory (Cleveland, St Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee), but they're generally in the Midwest/Great Lakes area where growth has slowed.

 

I think GR could see the pace pick up a bit if credit markets get better and the housing industry continues to rebound. We'll see some more housing projects downtown, for sure, over the next 5 years.

 

Downside: most of the growth will continue on the peripheries and in Ottawa County.

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I think there's a certain critical mass that happens after you cross the 1.1 Million mark. That seems to be the magic number for some reason. You usually have at least one major sports team by then, major high end retailers, major national promoters (like LiveNation) take notice of you, major Fortune 500's take notice of you, larger airport serving as a major hub, national homebuilders and national developers take notice. It all acts as catalysts.

 

We're still around 800,000. Kent County had a growth spike in 2011 of almost 6000 people, the most in over a decade, but still not the pace of 1990 - 2000 where it grew by nearly 100,000 people (on pace with some pretty fast growing metros). It might return to that if the overall economy rebounds. Maybe even faster. I think GR has built up quite a reputation as a destination "boutique" city.

 

Obviously there are some exceptions to the 1.1 Million theory (Cleveland, St Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee), but they're generally in the Midwest/Great Lakes area where growth has slowed.

 

I think GR could see the pace pick up a bit if credit markets get better and the housing industry continues to rebound. We'll see some more housing projects downtown, for sure, over the next 5 years.

 

Downside: most of the growth will continue on the peripheries and in Ottawa County.

 

I was forwarded this article about a little bit of a political rivalry forming between Chicago and Seattle.  

 

http://seattlebikeblog.com/2013/02/20/mayor-mcginn-to-rahm-emanuel-seattle-will-keep-its-bikers-thank-you/

 

In his State of the City address Tuesday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn responded to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s threat to lure Seattle’s tech jobs to his city by creating a world-class bike lane network.
...
For some background on the mayoral bike lane battle, we wrote a post back in December praising Chicago for seemingly slicing through red tape and building miles and miles of protected bike lanes in a very short period of time.

At the opening of the city’s newest cycle track in the Loop, Rahm Emanuel cited our post and said, “I expect not only to take all of their [seattle and Portland's] bikers but I also want all the jobs that come with this, all the economic growth that comes with this, all the opportunities of the future that come with this.”

Unfortunately for Chicago, the Illinois DOT has stepped in and started blocking protected bike lanes from being installed. Their excuse? They want three years of studies before they continue. I suppose decades of studies from cities around the world isn’t going to cut it for them, is it? Yeesh.

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Downside: most of the growth will continue on the peripheries and in Ottawa County.

 

Ironically, as of current Census methodology, all that growth funneling towards Ottawa wouldn't be counted towards GR metro's population.

 

You may have noticed, but I never pass up an opportunity to point out how stupid I think that is. :rolleyes:

Edited by RegalTDP

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I think a lot of us would like some Seattle to rub off on our cities :) It's probably the most underestimated building boom in the country right now. I have to laugh at Emmanuel's "taunt" towards Seattle. Chicago has far more bigger issues to tackle right now. Like all the gun violence in the city for starters. He needs to worry about that first. 

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I think a lot of us would like some Seattle to rub off on our cities :) It's probably the most underestimated building boom in the country right now. I have to laugh at Emmanuel's "taunt" towards Seattle. Chicago has far more bigger issues to tackle right now. Like all the gun violence in the city for starters. He needs to worry about that first. 

 

 

And the further closing of inner city schools, about 129 recently announced for 2013. The downtown and near North areas are growing, but the rest of the city is emptying out almost like Detroit.

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And the further closing of inner city schools, about 129 recently announced for 2013. The downtown and near North areas are growing, but the rest of the city is emptying out almost like Detroit.

 

I'm not so sure that's a bad thing.  School closings are symptomatic of how bad some areas have become that no amount of $ will solve.  With some areas emptying out it at least offers a fresh start to new residents without inheriting the burdens of the past.  

 

Didn't I read about certain schools in the East Hills/Eastown area that recently opened because parents didn't want to move away? 

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This may seem silly to some, but I think there is something about this whole craft beer movement in Grand Rapids, that may put the city on the map more so than Amway or furniture ever did.  To me this craft beer scene is very Seattle, Portland or Austin. craft beer tourism is growing, and when you have folks like New Holland say - "I think we need to be in Grand Rapids," that says something too.  Grand Rapids also has somewhat of a national reputation for being Green, which I think continues to grow.  That to me is very Seattle.  Artprize is another example in my opinion.

 

The biggest concerns I have about Grand Rapids are its neighborhoods. Some of the business districts in town are really taking off, but the neighborhoods seem to be deteriorating.  It seems that more and more middle and upper middle class people continue to flock to the suburbs.  I grew up in a neighborhood near Knapp and Diamond. People took pride in their homes/yards, and we knew all our neighbors.  We had block parties every summer.  Just in the time my parents move away 10 years ago, people don't seem to care as much about taking care of their homes/yards.  The area seems more run down.  I think that when I was growing up that one of the things that kept a lot of families in the city was the Catholic and Christian schools.  I attended a Catholic school k though 12.   Now families, it seems, don't value or can't afford that type of education.    We continue to see consolidation of those schools in the city.  I would like to see a more concerted effort to value living in the city, vs. just visiting the city.  I know public schools remain the big issue for parents.  

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