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John E

158 Weston SW - Arena Place Mixed-Use Development

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I'm surprised a developer hasn't bought the Ellis Parking lot on Ionia where the old downtown transit used to be. Would be a great location for a Medical Mile Residential Tower with a ground floor gym facility and health food center.

 

Dont get me going haha

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a couple thoughts here..... people always complain about the parking, I just dont see it yet. Go to a big city then come back here and complain about walking 3 blocks, maybe this will increase the demand for a new ramp on the south side of dt?

 

And I might be alone here but I actually DONT like the increased height. I really liked the original design and thought that was perfect fit size wise in relation to the surrounding buildings. One reason is simply the view you get from northbound 131. I do think its a good sign that they did increase it due to demand even at the expense of the Calder building. Its been a pipe dream of mine that someday the whole Calder plaza can be overhauled. I would actually keep the 5/3 building and City Hall and tear the rest down including the Federal building and the Calder building. It would be a prime location for an iconic tallest tower in the city, something in the 500-700' range. Maybe this is the start of that? 

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Whoever drew this building needs to hire some guys who can draw better than a four year old with a crayon.  Recently constructed Ellis and City parking ramps look better than this.  That's a sad commentary when parking ramps are more attractive than your new building.

 

I get it, this is some sort of "modern" look.  Too bad it's going to wear about as well as the federal building or any number of the other "trendy" projects.

 

So far as the law firm moving, there must be factors at play other than location, and I doubt it has much to do with attracting talent.  In today's legal market, all it takes to attract good talent is a job opening with a salary and a basement office.  Far, far more talent than jobs.  Somehow, some way, it seems this must be saving a truckload of money or resolving some sort of internal power struggle.  From county and state records, it looks like the building is a condo building and possibly owned by some older Miller Johnson attorneys.  Tough to say.  I think everyone is scratching their heads saying "Why?" other than the people responsible for making the decision.  From the outside looking in, this new building is something that doesn't need to be built, and probably shouldn't be with vacancy rates how they are.

 

Some really simple design changes to emphasize the vertical lines from top to bottom would do a lot to tie the whole 3 layers together. Who is the design architect? At the first announcement press conference back in the Fall, I believe Concept Design Group was there. I assume it's still them.

Edited by x99

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Class A vs Class B offices quality. We have plenty of available land close-in, but people still sprawl outwards. People and businesses make decisions for their own well-being, and I think this will further compel property owners on the north side of Fulton to shuffle the mix/value/quality of their product.  Thankfully GR is not a depressed city, or some of these buildings would be in serious trouble. They will be upgraded and readapted. 

 

Meanwhile, the proposed building still looks "challenged". I wonder if this is the same design firm that designed the equally distasteful and thankfully doomed Meridian Apartments?  I know plenty of bakers that can make an attractive and integrated three-tiered cake. Why is it so hard for Grand Rapids to receive the same? It takes all of a minute to find comparable projects with significantly better designs. I really wonder if those involved are proud of the design.  

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Class A vs Class B offices quality. We have plenty of available land close-in, but people still sprawl outwards. People and businesses make decisions for their own well-being, and I think this will further compel property owners on the north side of Fulton to shuffle the mix/value/quality of their product.  Thankfully GR is not a depressed city, or some of these buildings would be in serious trouble. They will be upgraded and readapted. 

 

Meanwhile, the proposed building still looks "challenged". I wonder if this is the same design firm that designed the equally distasteful and thankfully doomed Meridian Apartments?  I know plenty of bakers that can make an attractive and integrated three-tiered cake. Why is it so hard for Grand Rapids to receive the same? It takes all of a minute to find comparable projects with significantly better designs. I really wonder if those involved are proud of the design.  

 

 

It's Concept Design Group. You know, the table and chairs from the first ArtPrize? :)

 

http://www.conceptgr.com/projects/

 

I do hope they are open to some constructive criticism, or that someone in the planning department feels the same way we all do. (or most of us).

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Or maybe their lease was up and they wanted a new setting/new dynamic?

 

People are tossing around vacancy rates. I'd question how GOOD the available space is? 99 Monroe is doing a great job attracting tenants with a newly rehabbed building.

 

I'd be interested to see how many quality buildings with the type of floor plans companies desire are vacant. I bet it is a much smaller number than the ~20% number being tossed around.

 

Joe

 

 

 

So far as the law firm moving, there must be factors at play other than location, and I doubt it has much to do with attracting talent.  In today's legal market, all it takes to attract good talent is a job opening with a salary and a basement office.  Far, far more talent than jobs.  Somehow, some way, it seems this must be saving a truckload of money or resolving some sort of internal power struggle.  From county and state records, it looks like the building is a condo building and possibly owned by some older Miller Johnson attorneys.  Tough to say.  I think everyone is scratching their heads saying "Why?" other than the people responsible for making the decision.  From the outside looking in, this new building is something that doesn't need to be built, and probably shouldn't be with vacancy rates how they are.

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Or maybe their lease was up and they wanted a new setting/new dynamic?

 

People are tossing around vacancy rates. I'd question how GOOD the available space is? 99 Monroe is doing a great job attracting tenants with a newly rehabbed building.

 

I'd be interested to see how many quality buildings with the type of floor plans companies desire are vacant. I bet it is a much smaller number than the ~20% number being tossed around.

 

Joe

 

No matter how you cut it Joe, the national (and Midwest) average vacancy rate for downtown office space is about 13%. You have to "assume" that every downtown market has usable class A, B, and C space like downtown GR does. To be in the 20% range is high. The absorption rate in Cascade was way higher than downtown.

 

http://www.colliers.com/en-us/westmichigan/insights

 

http://www.colliers.com/en-us/westmichigan/insights/research

 

There are definitely a lot of great businesses relocating downtown, but most of them are moving into renovated spaces (ones that weren't counted before). The traditional CBD is suffering.

It's the Do More Good logo. I think.

 

co_mitt-header.jpg

 

 

Aha, I wondered what that heart was all about.

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Then this happened. I hope, hope, hope to see some real tower cranes on this project. :thumbsup:

 

14411605373_fd34301c7f_b.jpg

 

 

Arena to the right in this picture for those unfamiliar with this location:

 

14391433015_13fc9cdb98_b.jpg

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I was hoping this would break ground soon.  Maybe this will be a catalyst for other parking lots in that area.  Not only south of the Arena but over by Grand Woods and Charleys Crab.

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Franklin Partners, who now owns the building seem to be really smart folks when it comes to re-imagining buildings (downtown and the suburbs). I'm excited to see what they announce.

 

And I'm really excited to see dirt moving on Arena Place. Yes!

 

Joe 

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I really don't think that the building is terrible, maybe not perfect.  I really do think it'll create great density for that little intersection.   I like the viewpoint they put them in. 

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I really don't think that the building is terrible, maybe not perfect.

Clearly the fellow wearing the black T-shirt and appearing to be taking a photograph of the building in each rendering seems to LOVE it.

Edited by Kib
  • Like 2

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I really like the design. I think it fits in well and should add a whole new dynamic to that side of the arena - Also helps bridge the gap between the Arena and Founders / Intersection. 

 

I really hope Rockford Construction responds with a development on the other side (on the lot they own/have optioned next to Hopcat). But this rivalry might be all in my head. I just imagine Rockford (which John Wheeler started) and Orion (where John Wheeler works) as being a really big, dramatic rivalry. :)

 

Joe

  • Like 1

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I really like the design. I think it fits in well and should add a whole new dynamic to that side of the arena - Also helps bridge the gap between the Arena and Founders / Intersection. 

 

I really hope Rockford Construction responds with a development on the other side (on the lot they own/have optioned next to Hopcat). But this rivalry might be all in my head. I just imagine Rockford (which John Wheeler started) and Orion (where John Wheeler works) as being a really big, dramatic rivalry. :)

 

Joe

 

LOL. I think you might end up correct, except for the specific location.

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Reading online comments (always a bad idea) people were complaining about the parking garage. Judging by the renders, I don't think it looks bad. I do not understand why so many people complain about parking. I have never found parking an issue. The ellis lot next to the Mckay tower is always open. Right off Pearl. Easy in and easy out. Every garage I have ever parked in has been half full.. Only MLIVE readers would make bad of a small parking lot leaving the arena district lol 

 

My rank of the day is done hahaha

Edited by SupercityGR
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