joeDowntown

Waters Building to add Hilton Homewood Suites/market-rate apartments

76 posts in this topic


It really is a massive building. One of the largest office buildings downtown. I wonder how the company's leasing space inside feel about this? Would they get any say? 

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How has this one gone without much comment?  This is absolutely huge news for downtown, and explains a lot of what has been going on with this building.  Waters is a massive building in an ideal location with a tremendous amount of office space in it.  If this news is accurate, it appears we'll have a very large building that can continue to provide some much-needed competition in the market. 

 

Suffice to say that at the moment, Waters appears to be in real trouble so far as occupancy, but market rate apartments could help to fill a gap.  It might be a little challenging with all of the interior space, but if they make it work, they could do it and have some affordable market rate units.  Last I recall, they were renting space in this building for gross leases at $10 to $14 a square foot, and doing some build-out allowances.  That's a 1000sf apartment for about $1000 a month or less, heat included.  The biggest challenge and expense they will have is presumably doing the plumbing, which is far more extensive than for office use, but that shouldn't be all that bad.  If they don't go overboard, they good put decent units smack dab in the middle of downtown at a very nice price.  Interesting...

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How has this one gone without much comment?  This is absolutely huge news for downtown, and explains a lot of what has been going on with this building.  Waters is a massive building in an ideal location with a tremendous amount of office space in it.  If this news is accurate, it appears we'll have a very large building that can continue to provide some much-needed competition in the market. 

 

Suffice to say that at the moment, Waters appears to be in real trouble so far as occupancy, but market rate apartments could help to fill a gap.  It might be a little challenging with all of the interior space, but if they make it work, they could do it and have some affordable market rate units.  Last I recall, they were renting space in this building for gross leases at $10 to $14 a square foot, and doing some build-out allowances.  That's a 1000sf apartment for about $1000 a month or less, heat included.  The biggest challenge and expense they will have is presumably doing the plumbing, which is far more extensive than for office use, but that shouldn't be all that bad.  If they don't go overboard, they good put decent units smack dab in the middle of downtown at a very nice price.  Interesting...

 

There's always a lot of "talk" around buildings like this as they are going through changes of ownership. I think people are just getting tired of visions that never become reality.

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I guess the only thing holding me back on believing this project is how the building is so deep that there would be no interior windows. 

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I guess the only thing holding me back on believing this project is how the building is so deep that there would be no interior windows. 

 

Liner living areas with windowless bedrooms and supporting interior areas.  Same thing they did over at Union Square, for the most part.  Interior office space at Waters rents for next to nothing, so this could be a real win for affordable pricing of the end product, and a good solution for using up some empty space.  I suppose if the residential was on the top floor, they could put in skylights, but that adds a lot of cost.

 

It's easy to forget just how huge this building is--around 300,000 square feet spread across only 6 floors.  The best use for this building is really as a giant department or furniture store (its original use), but good luck making that fly...

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Or consider putting in an internal courtyard to provide some light access to the more internal portions of the building. 

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Liner living areas with windowless bedrooms and supporting interior areas.  Same thing they did over at Union Square, for the most part.  Interior office space at Waters rents for next to nothing, so this could be a real win for affordable pricing of the end product, and a good solution for using up some empty space.  I suppose if the residential was on the top floor, they could put in skylights, but that adds a lot of cost.

 

It's easy to forget just how huge this building is--around 300,000 square feet spread across only 6 floors.  The best use for this building is really as a giant department or furniture store (its original use), but good luck making that fly...

 

Like the Carson Pirie Scott department store in Chicago. Huge floorplates even by Chicago standards, or so I heard. When they did the renovation, it was apparently difficult to find office users for the big floors and only two walls had windows. Target ended up taking the bottom two floors.

 

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8531/8500458311_60b453ff30_o.jpg

 

The Waters Building has such weird underutilized space. The lobbies on each floor are way too big and could totally be hollowed out. Plus accessing the lobby from either Pearl or Lyon is an adventure.

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Interesting comment - 'The developer said he believes not all of the proposed hotel projects are viable and that the incremental addition of 

residential units should not affect the marketability of his project.'

 

It's not unsual for developers to poo poo the competition. :)

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It's not unsual for developers to poo poo the competition. :)

That is exactly what I was thinking.

 

"In Kent County, hoteliers reported three consecutive years of record-setting revenues, according to data from Experience Grand Rapids, which projects 5-percent growth in revenue for 2014.

Typically, hotel operators can raise occupancy by cutting rates, but occupancy at Grand Rapids hotels has remained above 60 percent even as rates have gone up, Small said."   -  http://mibiz.com/news/real-estate/item/21402-room-to-grow?-hotel-projects-to-add-more-than-700-rooms-across-west-michigan#sthash.tJZP9Cfa.dpuf

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I think apartments are fine... They aren't coming online that fast and there are no hotels being built so if they are first then they will have no problems.

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107-room Hilton Homewood Suites (extended stay) + 42 market rate apartments.

 

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/04/waters_building_will_become_a.html

 

'Parking for the hotel guests and apartment tenants will be provided by parking decks in the neighborhood, Finkelstein said. “We had to satisfy Hilton on the parking and they are satisfied,” he said.'

 

The boom in parking demand continues.

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The Kent County Land Bank Authority is on the 5th floor.  We moved in about 18 months ago.  There was a clause in our lease that stated the owner could relocate us within the building should they need our space for redevelopment.  They have to give us between 90%-125% of our current space and would pay for all the costs of the move, including new business cards and stationary.

 

We continue to meet with them but there are more questions then answers at this point in time for the current tenants.  Seems like building a plane in flight at this point in time...I will post more when I know it.

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http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/10/hotel_and_apartment_plan_for_w.html#incart_river

 

Update on this.   DDA puts in $1.5million in support, not sure what that means exactly.    

 

This is a big chunk of office space evaporating.   Is it just that the Waters Building couldn't compete with the downtown market?  I know Arena Place has office space,  but is the demand for such office space still pretty low?   I feel like downtown will truly be healthy when more office firms and retail begin firmly taking hold,  and it just doesn't seem to be quite at that point yet.   Thoughts?

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It seems that there is not a lot of energy in the area of the Waters building.  There are much more pedestrians, restaurants, bars, entertainment south of Pearl.  I always assumed it was because of what Urban Renewal did north of Lyon but that would not include the Waters building.  I never find myself near there when I'm downtown.  Even when I used to work in the Waters building, I'd always walk south of Pearl during lunch and after work.  I hope that something is done to help that area.  I'd love to see it become a retail district that way Ionia south of Fulton seems to be the bar district.

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It seems that there is not a lot of energy in the area of the Waters building.  There are much more pedestrians, restaurants, bars, entertainment south of Pearl.  I always assumed it was because of what Urban Renewal did north of Lyon but that would not include the Waters building.  I never find myself near there when I'm downtown.  Even when I used to work in the Waters building, I'd always walk south of Pearl during lunch and after work.  I hope that something is done to help that area.  I'd love to see it become a retail district that way Ionia south of Fulton seems to be the bar district.

 

Yeah the buildings around Calder Plaza  really are a suburban style office park with mid rises.   What a great job and vision the city had in the 60's.  The horrible thing is that it won't change anytime soon, with the HPC declaring the city and county buildings as a precious piece of history.  It's bound to stay a mediocre downtown deadzone for decades to come.  

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http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/10/hotel_and_apartment_plan_for_w.html#incart_river

 

Update on this.   DDA puts in $1.5million in support, not sure what that means exactly.    

 

This is a big chunk of office space evaporating.   Is it just that the Waters Building couldn't compete with the downtown market?  I know Arena Place has office space,  but is the demand for such office space still pretty low?   I feel like downtown will truly be healthy when more office firms and retail begin firmly taking hold,  and it just doesn't seem to be quite at that point yet.   Thoughts?

 

"not sure what that means exactly"

 

Here ya go, from the article:

 

"The biggest chunk of support - $1.484 million – will allow the developers to be reimbursed for the costs of installing new elevators and barrier-free entries in the 116-year-old building. Those funds will be collected from new tax revenues generated by the $35 million project."

 

 

I took a picture of the display case in the Waters Building of the recent plans. Not the greatest. Can't recall if I posted this before?

 

post-2672-0-20532500-1412859548_thumb.jp

 

The second image is pretty cool, it looks like they're going to blow open that lobby area up a few floors to the skylights on the top, to make the hotel lobby nice and bright.

 

 

Office vacancy downtown is still on the high side of being healthy. A lot of office users downtown are moving around lately to get into newer, more modern facilities (99 Monroe, Arena Place, 38 Commerce, etc).  I think I heard that Bridgewater is almost full, after being almost half empty at one point during the downturn.

It seems that there is not a lot of energy in the area of the Waters building.  There are much more pedestrians, restaurants, bars, entertainment south of Pearl.  I always assumed it was because of what Urban Renewal did north of Lyon but that would not include the Waters building.  I never find myself near there when I'm downtown.  Even when I used to work in the Waters building, I'd always walk south of Pearl during lunch and after work.  I hope that something is done to help that area.  I'd love to see it become a retail district that way Ionia south of Fulton seems to be the bar district.

 

I think if there was enough office demand downtown to fill the Ellis lot and the lot next to 5/3 with office towers, that area and Monroe Center would be bursting with activity all day. Just need some bigger advocates at the city who are actively involved in attracting businesses to the city, I guess?

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Yeah the buildings around Calder Plaza  really are a suburban style office park with mid rises.   What a great job and vision the city had in the 60's.  The horrible thing is that it won't change anytime soon, with the HPC declaring the city and county buildings as a precious piece of history.  It's bound to stay a mediocre downtown deadzone for decades to come.  

 

The only thing that will help Calder "Plaza" will be for every building around it to be demolished and rebuilt with a sober architect at the head, and that includes putting something on top of the parking lot/garage directly to the south.

 

But the State of Michigan building and Ford federal building, along with the two bank structures will have to go. Good luck with that! I hope no one tries to get some sort of historical status for them or else the entire area will be really screwed.

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I was once told that the parking structure between the Fifth Third building and Calder Plaza was of a different construction than the government parking garage and that it can't even support large crowds which is why you never see tents, etc. on it during festivals.  That could be a bunch of hooey but I've always sort of wondered.

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