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ctpgr34

GVSU Expansion

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Sounds like they dont have any immediate plans in the interview he said it was part of the 50 year vision for the university.

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The city needs to insist on a binding NO parking lots agreement.This is residential territory they are aiming at when they should be keeping it along Michigan, although there may be no place left to expand.

 

If they build, it needs to be structures not expansion parking for students and staff.

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I'm a bit squeamish about this announcement. 196 has historically served as the downtown border. This feels a lot like 1960s-style urban renewal. Buying up 5 full blocks inside a fully intact and established residential neighborhood, historically buffered from encroachment by the adjacent highway. Leaping across the highway in such a significant way really needs to be fully vetted by the community. 

 

The response of course will be: "have you seen those houses? they are not nice, its blight!"  But that was the whole point of 60's-style renewal efforts. Eliminate the affordable housing stock and replace it was "higher and better uses". And let's be honest about this. If these were upper to middle-income residential blocks, there is no way GVSU would dare touch that political lighting rod. 

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I'm a bit squeamish about this announcement. 196 has historically served as the downtown border. This feels a lot like 1960s-style urban renewal. Buying up 5 full blocks inside a fully intact and established residential neighborhood, historically buffered from encroachment by the adjacent highway. Leaping across the highway in such a significant way really needs to be fully vetted by the community. 

 

The response of course will be: "have you seen those houses? they are not nice, its blight!"  But that was the whole point of 60's-style renewal efforts. Eliminate the affordable housing stock and replace it was "higher and better uses". And let's be honest about this. If these were upper to middle-income residential blocks, there is no way GVSU would dare touch that political lighting rod. 

 

Of course not, but then again it would probably be a lot of owner occupied housing in a middle income neighborhood and much more difficult to assemble 80 parcels. Probably impossible actually, without eminent domain. My guess is in this area that GVSU is looking to buy, it's predominantly rentals, and probably the number of landlords could be counted on 1 or 2 hands.

 

edit: scratch that, there are quite a few different owners. I still would guess it's a high percentage of rentals.

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Downtown is at a point where expansion of this type has no where to go but into the residential areas surrounding it. Bordered by Heritage Hill, Uptown, the housing SW of 131, and the Westside. Of the areas surrounding DT this are was probably the least expensive, and also it backs right up to the hospital and their

med school.

Edited by dbrock1046
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Downtown is at a point where expansion of this type has no where to go but into the residential areas surrounding it. Bordered by Heritage Hill, Uptown, the housing SW of 131, and the Westside. Of the areas surrounding DT this are was probably the least expensive, and also it backs right up to the hospital and their

med school.

 

Or up, if financially viable.

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Sounds like they dont have any immediate plans in the interview he said it was part of the 50 year vision for the university.

 

I thought it said 5 years?

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Downtown is at a point where expansion of this type has no where to go but into the residential areas surrounding it. Bordered by Heritage Hill, Uptown, the housing SW of 131, and the Westside. Of the areas surrounding DT this are was probably the least expensive, and also it backs right up to the hospital and their

med school.

 

There are actually huge swaths of available land for downtown to grow without encroaching into established residential neighborhoods.

  • The wedge south of downtown between Division and 131, to about Hall. (266 acres)
  • The area west of 131 around Wealthy (400 acres)
  • North of 196 along the river/Monroe (170 acres)
  • significant amounts of land on the near West Side (80 acres)
  • Corridor along Front Avenue north of 196 (between 131 and river)  (85 acres)
  • The whole Michigan corridor east of Med Hill (95 acres)

Fully building-out the areas above could increase the number of jobs and population of the entire city of Grand Rapids by 50%, so the argument that downtown can now only expand into residential neighborhoods does not really sway my opinion. Either does the fact that they are only rentals. That is the original argument of urban renewal. "These are substandard units. This is blight. We need to elevate the housing stock for these poor folks." Laying bare block after block for misguided attempts to inject life back into the neighborhoods, and dismissing that they were actually quite successful to begin with. They served a critical purpose.  

 

I am not vehemently against the proposed expansion...just "squeamish," and not yet convinced that this is the proper direction for the future of Grand Rapids. My initial inclination is that we should hold the line of intense downtown-type development at 196 and focus development efforts the areas above. Based on my past posts, I am clearly a pro urban development kind of person, but I just desire quality and appropriate development and planning.

 

FYI: 

The sum of the areas described above is about 1100 acres x 4 FAR  = 192 million square feet of development. If split equally between commercial and residential, then: 

  • 55,000 residential units (82,000 people at 1.5 people per unit [1750 gross sf per unit)
  • 191,000 additional jobs (500 square feet per job [office, retail, common space, etc])

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I thought it said 5 years?

 

The quote from the GVSU Rep said it was their 50 year vision, on channel 8 last night.  I'm sure they'd have some more immediate plans,  but all for 4 blocks being part of the university I cant imagine being used right away.  

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There are actually huge swaths of available land for downtown to grow without encroaching into established residential neighborhoods.

  • The wedge south of downtown between Division and 131, to about Hall. (266 acres)
  • The area west of 131 around Wealthy (400 acres)
  • North of 196 along the river/Monroe (170 acres)
  • significant amounts of land on the near West Side (80 acres)
  • Corridor along Front Avenue north of 196 (between 131 and river)  (85 acres)
  • The whole Michigan corridor east of Med Hill (95 acres)

Fully building-out the areas above could increase the number of jobs and population of the entire city of Grand Rapids by 50%, so the argument that downtown can now only expand into residential neighborhoods does not really sway my opinion. Either does the fact that they are only rentals. That is the original argument of urban renewal. "These are substandard units. This is blight. We need to elevate the housing stock for these poor folks." Laying bare block after block for misguided attempts to inject life back into the neighborhoods, and dismissing that they were actually quite successful to begin with. They served a critical purpose.  

 

I am not vehemently against the proposed expansion...just "squeamish," and not yet convinced that this is the proper direction for the future of Grand Rapids. My initial inclination is that we should hold the line of intense downtown-type development at 196 and focus development efforts the areas above. Based on my past posts, I am clearly a pro urban development kind of person, but I just desire quality and appropriate development and planning.

 

FYI: 

The sum of the areas described above is about 1100 acres x 4 FAR  = 192 million square feet of development. If split equally between commercial and residential, then: 

  • 55,000 residential units (82,000 people at 1.5 people per unit [1750 gross sf per unit)
  • 191,000 additional jobs (500 square feet per job [office, retail, common space, etc])

 

 

 

I'd love to see this mapped and tagged, because I'm scratching my head on some of it. Just because it doesn't have a built structure on it doesn't mean a piece of land is "available" to assemble into a larger parcel.

 

For instance, the area "West of 131" around Wealthy? That's pretty much filled in with businesses, other than that large mostly vacant warehouse that was rumored for a casino a few years ago.

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I also agree with others on here that 196 should be the border to the Medical Mile, Who owns the parking lot next to Cook-DeVos? Or what about the properties facing Michigan St. between Lafayette and Prospect?  It seems as though a lot of properties right around Cook-DeVos could be reused if the university and other stakeholders are willing to be a little flexible and creative.

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I disagree. I don't think the freeway should dictate the borders of downtown, the "medical mile", etc. GVSU has done a good job extending downtown West of 131 with (unfortunately) minimal impact on the neighborhood directly to the west. I personally think this could strengthen the housing stock in Belknap and possibly lead to a more cohesive connection between Michigan St. and the neighborhoods to the north.

 

It would be nice if they could save/move some of the more architecturally significant structures in the planned development area.

 

Joe

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I also agree with others on here that 196 should be the border to the Medical Mile, Who owns the parking lot next to Cook-DeVos? Or what about the properties facing Michigan St. between Lafayette and Prospect?  It seems as though a lot of properties right around Cook-DeVos could be reused if the university and other stakeholders are willing to be a little flexible and creative.

That was my first thought too. But AFAIK it is all owned by Spectrum, who may not want to give it up. The cost to do so may have been out of Grand Valleys price range. I can't think of a major area Spectrum is missing, but it is good to have land if you need it.

I don't really like expanding into the neighborhood, but it seems they may have been backed into it to stay somewhat contiguous.

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I disagree. I don't think the freeway should dictate the borders of downtown, the "medical mile", etc. GVSU has done a good job extending downtown West of 131 with (unfortunately) minimal impact on the neighborhood directly to the west. I personally think this could strengthen the housing stock in Belknap and possibly lead to a more cohesive connection between Michigan St. and the neighborhoods to the north.

 

It would be nice if they could save/move some of the more architecturally significant structures in the planned development area.

 

Joe

 

My thoughts too. Belknap is already getting some attention. The new development is bracketed by College and Lafayette, both ending in the Creston Heights neighborhood, an area with some decent housing stock (some great views) and potentially a very nice shopping district.

 

While it would be nice to "bury" I-196 the best we can probably hope for is at least one serious pedestrian bridge across the highway.

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That was my first thought too. But AFAIK it is all owned by Spectrum, who may not want to give it up. The cost to do so may have been out of Grand Valleys price range. I can't think of a major area Spectrum is missing, but it is good to have land if you need it.

I don't really like expanding into the neighborhood, but it seems they may have been backed into it to stay somewhat contiguous.

 

They're collaborating on creating a Spectrum-specific MBA, so you'd think they could collaborate in creating some joint facilities...just a thought. 

 

I guess you and some of the other posters are right, though: the expansion seems inevitable. My biggest fear is that whatever they build will look somewhat distasteful. As long as some good design is presented, I won't mind supporting this and watching the area grow.

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I disagree. I don't think the freeway should dictate the borders of downtown, the "medical mile", etc. GVSU has done a good job extending downtown West of 131 with (unfortunately) minimal impact on the neighborhood directly to the west. I personally think this could strengthen the housing stock in Belknap and possibly lead to a more cohesive connection between Michigan St. and the neighborhoods to the north.

 

It would be nice if they could save/move some of the more architecturally significant structures in the planned development area.

 

Joe

 

 

 

I would think think the slow impact of GVSU's west side campus has more to do with the stubborn and at times down right ignorant defiance of west side residents to allow any form of change.  Spectrum should open a west side campus to handle panic attacks of the residents when they hear the words "change" or "new".   From what i've seen the lookout residents don't seem all that more welcoming. 

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I also agree with others on here that 196 should be the border to the Medical Mile, Who owns the parking lot next to Cook-DeVos? Or what about the properties facing Michigan St. between Lafayette and Prospect?  It seems as though a lot of properties right around Cook-DeVos could be reused if the university and other stakeholders are willing to be a little flexible and creative.

 

All of those lots East of Cook-Devos are owned by Butterworth Hospital-Spectrum Health. The properties surrounding the bagel place at College are all owned by MSU. The only lot GVSU owns in that area is the one at Lafayette that's marked as Faculty-Staff parking. It's not very big.

 

I can't imagine in a million years that Spectrum would part with that land on Michigan St that they own. So the only options left are North of I-196.

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You mean towards the Heritage Hill area....?? No way possible, Historic status of almost all the homes in that

area would stop that in its tracks.

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All of those lots East of Cook-Devos are owned by Butterworth Hospital-Spectrum Health. The properties surrounding the bagel place at College are all owned by MSU. The only lot GVSU owns in that area is the one at Lafayette that's marked as Faculty-Staff parking. It's not very big.

 

I can't imagine in a million years that Spectrum would part with that land on Michigan St that they own. So the only options left are North of I-196.

 

Bingo.  GVSU can't expand except to the north.  And it would be silly for the school to relocate and expand its health sciences programs in an area separate from the "medical mile."

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One area I've always wondered about is the area south of Michigan from Ionia to Division. The Law Building, OAK, Catholic Diocese(?) building, plus the big Ellis lot and the old bar. That seems like a good chunk of land that would be ideal for the medical use. It's close to VAI, Spectrum and everything else trickling down the hill. 

 

Joe

 

^ What about south of Michigan towards GRCC

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I assume the Van Andel Institute is already thinking ahead for expansion as they have quietly gobbled up land to its south and a couple parcels across Division.

 

qoa8.jpg

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You mean towards the Heritage Hill area....?? No way possible, Historic status of almost all the homes in that

area would stop that in its tracks.

 

I meant down the division area. 

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