trongrr

DeVos Place North

11 posts in this topic

I searched around and didn't find any posts around the future plans for any sort of a DeVos Place expansion across Michigan Street.  I've been to quite a few conference venues as part of my job, and find that in comparison to other places, DeVos would not be suited for conference when you have over 3,500 attendees that also have many breakout sessions.

 

In other location, the conference facilities can host quite a few more concurrent onsite breakout sessions that DeVos Place.  The few times I've attended large events with concurrent sessions at DVP, we ended up having to walk down the long hall to the Amway Grand and attend sessions there because DVP doesn't have enough rooms.

 

Perhaps those sort of conferences are not part of the vision of DVP and that's that, but I wonder if anyone has heard/seen plans on creating a DeVos Place North?  Obviously that would involve:

 

  • Demolishing the USPS (after they move out - if that can happen at all)
  • Building a overhead walkway to get to the north building
  • Figuring out how to incorporate Olds Manor into the plan

We've seen the plans for the new Embassy Suites further up Monroe, and I keep thinking that having a larger convention/conference center would be a great draw to increase their bookings, and make GR a much more compelling conference venue for groups that passed us over because we're too small of a space.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


why not rehab Olds manor, placing the breakout session rooms there and a hotel above them. I think that there would be room for a decent sized hotel, maybe 100 rooms above a good number of smaller rooms that could be used for breakout sessions.  the only issue for conference use would be ceiling height.  I think that you would want at least 10-12 feet ceilings at minimum for a good sized projection screen.  they may be able to combine floors and then add on to the top.  You could finish off the project with retail on the ground floor. a walgreens or something along those lines would be perfect (as long as there is parking)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it is needed / possible  being thought about, I'd like to see them go east. I know the federal building is pretty crowded and is probably outdated due to age / new security rules. Maybe take out that building and expand across Monroe. 

 

I think it'd be a shame to lose more river frontage to the Convention center. While it is a nice building and serves it's purpose, it turns its back on the river. We need more developments that embrace the riverfront. 

 

Joe

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it is needed / possible  being thought about, I'd like to see them go east. I know the federal building is pretty crowded and is probably outdated due to age / new security rules. Maybe take out that building and expand across Monroe. 

 

I think it'd be a shame to lose more river frontage to the Convention center. While it is a nice building and serves it's purpose, it turns its back on the river. We need more developments that embrace the riverfront. 

 

Joe

exactly what I was thinking, what ever is done with the post office/olds manor lot I hope utilizes the river moreso than the convention center does. It would be nice to see OM rehabbed into something usable and I even like the post office facade on MI, from the satellite view the property looks larger than from the street view and there are a lot of possibilities 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that having some ability to have river views would be ideal.  Perhaps the lowest level facing the river could have a variety of eateries (and probably a Starbucks :rolleyes:  ...) with outdoor cafe seating.  It's not the nicest example, but I'm thinking something like Andiamo's on Atwater St in Detroit.  I'm always surprised that when DVP was built, that they didn't do that on the west side of the building along the river.

Edited by trongrr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the difference between walking from the main gallery of DVP to the Amway Grand hotel for breakouts, to walking to the Olds Manor site? It's about the same distance.

 

I think the convention business representatives in Grand Rapids (which includes SMG, DVP, AGP, JWM, EXPGR and the Courtyard) all work together on getting conferences, and then plug them into whatever space they think will work best. Business conferences like the ULI/UM conference go in the Amway Grand because there are a lot of breakout sessions. Not the case for 15,000 quilters. That's why there is a lot of consternation from these folks about the Embassy Suites and its conference space. It takes them out of the decision making process (other than the hotel tax for which they will happily cash those checks).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it is needed / possible  being thought about, I'd like to see them go east. I know the federal building is pretty crowded and is probably outdated due to age / new security rules. Maybe take out that building and expand across Monroe. 

 

I think it'd be a shame to lose more river frontage to the Convention center. While it is a nice building and serves it's purpose, it turns its back on the river. We need more developments that embrace the riverfront. 

 

Joe

Couldn't agree more - if they do have to expand, east over Monroe would be the direction to go. It could be a win, win, win situation - we get a more competitive convention center, we get rid of that horrible Federal building and maybe in the process, lose that field stone wall on the west side of City Hall that blocks easy access to Calder Plaza from the DeVos Center. (If you dig deep enough, GRDad, you might remember a plan you came up with to do just that soon after the convention center opened.) And, we would get a new Federal building that might add something architecturally to the city rather than something that has made me cringe every time I've gone by it for the last 40 (?) years. (There's that big empty space fronting Ionia and Division just north of Lyon - prime location.)  

 

Maybe something like this - 

 

http://www.heery.com/portfolio/oklahoma-federal-building-campus.aspx

Edited by jwazzz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couldn't agree more - if they do have to expand, east over Monroe would be the direction to go. It could be a win, win, win situation - we get a more competitive convention center, we get rid of that horrible Federal building and maybe in the process, lose that field stone wall on the west side of City Hall that blocks easy access to Calder Plaza from the DeVos Center. (If you dig deep enough, GRDad, you might remember a plan you came up with to do just that soon after the convention center opened.) And, we would get a new Federal building that might add something architecturally to the city rather than something that has made me cringe every time I've gone by it for the last 40 (?) years. (There's that big empty space fronting Ionia and Division just north of Lyon - prime location.)  

 

Maybe something like this - 

 

http://www.heery.com/portfolio/oklahoma-federal-building-campus.aspx

 

I did that? I'll have to see if I can dig it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


More convention space is not the highest and best use for that block -- or any other area for that matter. If hotels want to provide the service, then by all means do it, but the day of the convention center has past. Convention centers are grand edifices of outdated economic development strategies that don't produce but every city "needs". Cities all across the country are still expanding their convention spaces despite the fact that convention demands are shrinking (as are revenues).  How many conventions does GR really host in a year that are a net permanent positive impact to the community that an equal of public investment in another manner couldn't exceed?  As much as I love quilting and boat shoes, these types of conventions do little for GR's economic engine. 

 

Rather than more convention space, I would imagine the northern block of office, retail, residential with a river-focused design. I would also look at reactivating the convention block. Keep most of the convention space, but let's put some permanent activity along the river and sell the air rights above the convention center (okay, give it away for free) for hotel, residential, office etc. I would doubt that downtown hotels and restaurants are basing their decisions on the convention business. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More convention space is not the highest and best use for that block -- or any other area for that matter. If hotels want to provide the service, then by all means do it, but the day of the convention center has past. Convention centers are grand edifices of outdated economic development strategies that don't produce but every city "needs". Cities all across the country are still expanding their convention spaces despite the fact that convention demands are shrinking (as are revenues).  How many conventions does GR really host in a year that are a net permanent positive impact to the community that an equal of public investment in another manner couldn't exceed?  As much as I love quilting and boat shoes, these types of conventions do little for GR's economic engine. 

 

 

do you have any evidence to support this statement because it seems like bringing in 3000 or 10000 visitors and exhibitors every week or every other week would provide quite a bit of economic impact.  While I can't speak broadly, for all industries, in my field there has been an explosion of associations that all have at least one annual meeting along with several smaller meetings throughout the year. the need for meeting and convention space has dramatically increased, not decreased.

 

that being said, I do think that the water is an underutilized downtown feature.

Edited by jas49503

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are two numbers to consider: local booster and actual, academic credible numbers. I would challenge the 3,000-10,000 visitors per week number for two reasons: one, I don't think the average amount is that high. two, the only numbers that really matter are those coming from out of West Michigan that hotel in the city and therefore purchase food. Someone from Holland going to a convention in GR is going to return home and a high percentage of them will also eat at home. Even if they do eat out in downtown GR, there is no net positive economic impact to the regional economy, because he/she has simply shuffled existing disposable income dollars from one place within the region to another.

 

The decline in the number of conventions and attendees is well documented. Further, the total square footage of convention space nationally is still increasing despite the decline (stagnant at best) demand for space. As such, there is more square footage chasing fewer quality shows.

 

Conclusion, does the convention center have a positive effect downtown? yes. it certainly brings dollars downtown, but I think its value is oversold and should be considered in context of what a similar amount of investment in other causes would create. There is certainly a demand for conventions and convention centers, but it would be unwise to invest more public dollars into more convention space. I would let the market dictate additional space in hotels, and refocus public investments in improving quality of living, attracting additional tenants and higher-ed education space downtown, and diversifying the consumer experience -- those types of investments will be the ones that bring lasting and permanent change to GR. 

 

 

 

do you have any evidence to support this statement because it seems like bringing in 3000 or 10000 visitors and exhibitors every week or every other week would provide quite a bit of economic impact.  While I can't speak broadly, for all industries, in my field there has been an explosion of associations that all have at least one annual meeting along with several smaller meetings throughout the year. the need for meeting and convention space has dramatically increased, not decreased.

 

that being said, I do think that the water is an underutilized downtown feature.

2 people like this

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.