GRDadof3

40 structures to be demolished in the city

25 posts in this topic

This is part of a statewide blight removal program. I can see some of these taken down, like that vacant party story on Wealthy Street near the roundabout. But some of the others, like the buildings on South Division (that are covered in siding) may have some strong character behind them.

 

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/03/blight_elimination.html

 

So what's to become of the then empty lots?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Just give all the money to Detroit.  They really need it!!  Let some of these building go through the usual process.  Some of them look salvagable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems more worthy of the "urban renewal" tag than what's going on at Martha's.  Some of these buildings don't even seem worthy of demolition, especially when there's no plan to replace them with anything in particular.

 

"The money comes from a $97 million settlement Michigan received last year as part of a lawsuit with banks accused of questionable foreclosure practices during the housing crisis."

 

These questionable foreclosure practices may have sent decent people paying their bills into homelessness.  The homeless also sometimes depend on abandoned buildings like these to keep from the rain.  It seems to me instead of demolishing them, this money would be MUCH better spent going towards additional housing on already vacant property, or converting some of these buildings into actual livable spaces.

 

A building should never be demolished unless it's structurally dangerous or if there's a definitive plan for the property that requires demolition for a better purpose.  Otherwise it's just wasting money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This really saddens me.   There are definitely salvageable buildings here and I seriously hope they don't get demolished. 

 

Do we really want another empty lot?  

 

 

If someone just gave me the opportunity, I personally would love to repurpose a few of these buildings.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The movie theatre kills me especially, Like I said in another thread, once these old buildings are gone, they're gone forever. History wasted. :(

 

Joe

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's to be sad about?

 

Some old run down buildings, too far gone to be useful, and in the way, are being turned into glorious flat expanses of nothing to make the neighborhood "better".

 

Dont ask how. Questioning this type of thing doesn't get far.

 

I mean, isnt that the new urban philosophy in GR? Building preservation and urban spaces are out.

 

New parking lots and holes in the built environment are the new hot thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if I'd go that far.

 

Joe

 

I mean, isnt that the new urban philosophy in GR? Building preservation and urban spaces are out.

 

New parking lots and holes in the built environment are the new hot thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


GR Urbanist, it's not an all-or-nothing mentality.  Just because some of us aren't complaining about Martha's doesn't mean we should be okay with this, too.  Everything's subjective.  Martha's is taking old buildings that were too costly to do anything with and repurposing them to solve an existing problem.  This is demolishing buildings that could be rehabbed to do nothing with them and solve a problem that doesn't really exist.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The former party store at Wealthy and Prospect is also on the list, which peeves me a bit, as to Bradford's rather suspect comments.  With all due respect to ICCF, which has done some great things, they have been sitting on that party store and the real estate around it on Wealthy at Prospect for far too long, and doing nothing with it.  They have a huge parcel locked up there.  ICCF and the City own everything between Prospect and Lafayette three lots deep with the exception of the first house in on Lafayette and a 10' wide strip behind the party store that technically belongs to that house (driveway access).  If the party store is "dilapidated" I suspect it is due, in no small part, to ICCF's own failure or refusal to market or allow its use because of some grand scheme they have for this corner.  Too bad they have never shared that scheme.  Personally, I would like to see them at least attempt to sell or rent the place before running it through with the wrecking ball.  So far as I know, they managed to buy all of that stuff pre-market and have let it all sit, so whether there actually is a viable user is completely unknown.  I just find it hard to believe that a relatively recent concrete block structure is truly that ruined.  As for "what's around it" making it not work--riddle me this--you've got a hospital and some of the most expensive houses in the whole city right there, along with a big parking lot and high traffic counts.  How does that "not work"?  What doesn't appear to work so far are the rents on new construction buildings at Division and Wealthy....Ahem.

Edited by x99
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The former party store at Wealthy and Prospect is also on the list, which peeves me a bit, as to Bradford's rather suspect comments.  With all due respect to ICCF, which has done some great things, they have been sitting on that party store and the real estate around it on Wealthy at Prospect for far too long, and doing nothing with it.  They have a huge parcel locked up there.  ICCF and the City own everything between Prospect and Lafayette three lots deep with the exception of the first house in on Lafayette and a 10' wide strip behind the party store that technically belongs to that house (driveway access).  If the party store is "dilapidated" I suspect it is due, in no small part, to ICCF's own failure or refusal to market or allow its use because of some grand scheme they have for this corner.  Too bad they have never shared that scheme.  Personally, I would like to see them at least attempt to sell or rent the place before running it through with the wrecking ball.  So far as I know, they managed to buy all of that stuff pre-market and have let it all sit, so whether there actually is a viable user is completely unknown.  I just find it hard to believe that a relatively recent concrete block structure is truly that ruined.  As for "what's around it" making it not work--riddle me this--you've got a hospital and some of the most expensive houses in the whole city right there, along with a big parking lot and high traffic counts.  How does that "not work"?  What doesn't appear to work so far are the rents on new construction buildings at Division and Wealthy....Ahem.

 

Are you talking the commercial rents? I heard the apartments are full (from Bradford).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you talking the commercial rents? I heard the apartments are full (from Bradford).

Yes.  At least there's a Subway sign up now... I think this will actually go, but the mess with the proposed grocery store does not give me much confidence in ICCF's demo plans.  You've gotta be kidding me if you think you can rent on Divison and Wealthy but need to demo that former party store because it is "useless."  I was disappointed to see the Heritage Hill Association supported the demo request.  I suspect this was because the structure is not "historic" and the prior occupants had a rather ugly history.  I suspect they think ICCF will build a nice new building like those on Division and Wealthy.  For the immediate future, though, that vision is pie in the sky. 

 

If you ask me, "parking lotting" this building is a complete failure of vision and foresight.  I drove by the place today--it doesn't really appear to be bad at all.  It has nice plate glass windows, great visibility, a decent looking roof, and good parking access.  Since it was a party store, it presumably has good electic service and other mechanicals (unless they were in a slab and froze solid).  Even if just short term, I suspect someone would rent it at the right price and do something with it until ICCF has a real plan.  If the "lack of funding" continues for, say, another decade, we've lost a space that could have served the community for no good reason. I want to support what ICCF is doing, but here I just don't understand it.  It seems more a quest by the City, the HHA, and ICCF to eradicate some bad memories than to follow a rational development plan...  If the building truly has major problems, I'm all ears, though...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes.  At least there's a Subway sign up now... I think this will actually go, but the mess with the proposed grocery store does not give me much confidence in ICCF's demo plans.  You've gotta be kidding me if you think you can rent on Divison and Wealthy but need to demo that former party store because it is "useless."  I was disappointed to see the Heritage Hill Association supported the demo request.  I suspect this was because the structure is not "historic" and the prior occupants had a rather ugly history.  I suspect they think ICCF will build a nice new building like those on Division and Wealthy.  For the immediate future, though, that vision is pie in the sky. 

 

If you ask me, "parking lotting" this building is a complete failure of vision and foresight.  I drove by the place today--it doesn't really appear to be bad at all.  It has nice plate glass windows, great visibility, a decent looking roof, and good parking access.  Since it was a party store, it presumably has good electic service and other mechanicals (unless they were in a slab and froze solid).  Even if just short term, I suspect someone would rent it at the right price and do something with it until ICCF has a real plan.  If the "lack of funding" continues for, say, another decade, we've lost a space that could have served the community for no good reason. I want to support what ICCF is doing, but here I just don't understand it.  It seems more a quest by the City, the HHA, and ICCF to eradicate some bad memories than to follow a rational development plan...  If the building truly has major problems, I'm all ears, though...

 

 

I had this big long post and I lost it. In essence, I think you're right. The party store lot and the one to the West that hugs the roundabout are pretty narrow. You probabaly wouldn't get a development like Wealthy & Division on them. Where would you put the parking? Or garage access? ;) A house with a narrow footprint maybe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, you could do it, but good luck getting it by the Heritage Hill Association.  ICCF at Wealthy/Prospect owns the house next to the party store, plus an empty lot next to that.  On Wealthy/Lafayette they own two lots, but there is a house in the middle of their lots that was a foreclosure that ICCF either didn't have funding for or missed.  Unfortunately, that spot is far more likely since Lafayette is only quasi-residential, and those space border on a large 10 purpose-built multi-unit.  The challenge?  Demoing any of thoses houses.  It will just never happen--they would have to be moved at substantial cost--which is why demoing the existing building makes no sense.  As for residential... yeah, right.  ;)  Ask everyone that has tried just how well that went for them...

 

If ICCF wanted to do that neighborhood a favor, they would pull the demo permit and sell off or rent that convenience store to the highest bidder with use restrictions.  If there are no bites, then you have real evidence of infeasibility.

 

I had this big long post and I lost it. In essence, I think you're right. The party store lot and the one to the West that hugs the roundabout are pretty narrow. You probabaly wouldn't get a development like Wealthy & Division on them. Where would you put the parking? Or garage access? ;) A house with a narrow footprint maybe.

Edited by x99

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Relocate one house and have a development opportunity that is worth much more than the ugly party store.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Nice concept. And welcome back civitas, it's been a while!

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the idea, although it would be nicer to see retail all along Wealthy right here rather than rowhouses.  The challenge is getting it past napkin stage and coming up with the money. And the house that would need to be moved?  ICCF doesn't own it, and its history is somewhat significant, which could pose an obstacle.  The question to me is one of feasibility--the party store is feasible in the near term.  So far as anyone has been made aware, this is not.  It would be nice though, and if anyone ever has a feasible plan to pull this off, I'll be first in line to cheer them on.  I just don't want to see another vacant lot for the next decade.

 

Relocate one house and have a development opportunity that is worth much more than the ugly party store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The plan is well beyond the napkin stage (hard line drawings don't look nice), but such things still aren't easy in this economy.

The existing concrete block party store may attract a marginal business that will lease for 3-5 years plus renewal options. Such a lease would prevent the better plan from happening for many years. Sometimes vacant land/buildings are a benefit because lease rights are very hard to develop over.

Demolishing the building with grant money also helps the economics of the better plan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Relocate one house and have a development opportunity that is worth much more than the ugly party store.

 

That plan looks great. When do we start? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The plan is well beyond the napkin stage (hard line drawings don't look nice), but such things still aren't easy in this economy.

The existing concrete block party store may attract a marginal business that will lease for 3-5 years plus renewal options. Such a lease would prevent the better plan from happening for many years. Sometimes vacant land/buildings are a benefit because lease rights are very hard to develop over.

Demolishing the building with grant money also helps the economics of the better plan.

 

Looking at that drawing, I was thinking, "that ain't no napkin." Along with, "yes, please!"

Edited by Veloise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The plan is well beyond the napkin stage (hard line drawings don't look nice), but such things still aren't easy in this economy.

The existing concrete block party store may attract a marginal business that will lease for 3-5 years plus renewal options. Such a lease would prevent the better plan from happening for many years. Sometimes vacant land/buildings are a benefit because lease rights are very hard to develop over.

Demolishing the building with grant money also helps the economics of the better plan.

BTW, how is "the economy" when it comes to financing projects like these? Are banks still tight with lending to development projects? Are there any investors jumping back in?

 

There's obviously demand, a lot of it. At what point does the dam break?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The townhouses look too suburban.  There must not be much demand for anything but this style in town.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The townhouses look too suburban.  There must not be much demand for anything but this style in town.  

Adjacent homes on Prospect...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The townhouses look too suburban.  There must not be much demand for anything but this style in town.  

 

Where did you see the front facade of these townhouses?  I'm not sure I can say that they are too suburban from what I see.  Like the plan, bring it on!  Welcome back civitas!

Edited by mpchicago

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a beautiful plan.  I would have to assume then, that the non-ICCF house in the middle of it must be optioned up or perhaps owned by a related party, because that's a pretty big potential snag in the middle of it all.  By "napkin stage" I was referring precisely to what you mentioned--getting the funds to make it a reality. 

 

Now, in a perfect world, that townhouse on Wealthy would go away for more ground floor retail, Prospect would dead end about 200' in for more parking to support the additional retail, with Existing House also removed for parking to alleviate neighborhood street parking.  Pizza Hut and a Smitty's West will go in,and it will be like I never left Eastown.  But I'm the eternal optimist and prefer to ignore reality when in my retail dreaming mode...  Here's to the power of crossed fingers :thumbsup:

 

The plan is well beyond the napkin stage (hard line drawings don't look nice), but such things still aren't easy in this economy.

The existing concrete block party store may attract a marginal business that will lease for 3-5 years plus renewal options. Such a lease would prevent the better plan from happening for many years. Sometimes vacant land/buildings are a benefit because lease rights are very hard to develop over.

Demolishing the building with grant money also helps the economics of the better plan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.