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GRDadof3

New Downtown Hotel at Monroe and Louis

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OMG, but where will we park for TGIF!!! :)

 

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/02/cwd_real_estate_investment_unv.html

 

The "re-skinning" look of 50 Monroe on the right hand side is not set in stone yet, according to the article. They could also add the new Silver Line station in the foreground, if they wanted to provide scale. Pretty cool design, IMO.

 

12287106325_415bb6a803_o.jpg

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Holy... :blink: !

 

I have NO clue how they will make it look just like that, but please do!!

 

Infill FTW!

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Haha. I just read one of the comments about the downtown Grand Rapids parking conspriracy: fill in the parking lots with buildings, raise the rates on the rest of parking, and the city makes more revenue. Riiiiggghhhhtttt.......

 

I'm not a fan of the rates downtown, and I do think that Ellis is gouging the public, but c'mon, a conspriracy? :)

 

Sorry, I won't dredge up that beaten dead horse.

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It's fantastic! Perfect infill and I think this will look fantastic when driving south on Monroe. Very cool!

 

Glad to hear the re-skinning is still on the table.

Joe

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The Davenport University building is missing from the rendering.  Is this new hotel stretching across the entire block?

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I don't like the design and the plan which does not provide for parking.
Yes, the design fits for the area location, but I think they could do much better.
A hotel without onsite parking?
Oh never mind, it's downtown. lol

FAIL

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With this news that this hotel - going in at the parking lot directly adjacent to the Monroe/Louis BRT Station site no-less - is going to be 5-7 stories, it makes one wonder if the total number of stories for the entire mixed-use building will be limited to the hotel component's 5-7 stories; especially since the unnamed hotel brand is planned to be accompanied by components including restaurants, retail space and residential units.  I'm wondering is there flexibility in their plan to keep with the profile/roofline of 50 Monroe or to go more vertical with the other non-hotel components?  Either way, it could be a REALLY impressive urban space.  SIDE QUERY: Thoughts on the consideration of Amway Hotel Corporation as the operator? 

Edited by metrogrkid

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The Davenport University building is missing from the rendering.  Is this new hotel stretching across the entire block?

 

I doubt it. The article only mentions the parking lot that CWD owns, and the design rendering looks like a cube to me. But you never know.

 

I find the only way to combat parking availability is with actual statistics.

 

Monthly card availability/openings:

Ottawa Fulton ramp (the one across from Davenport/Van Andel Arena): 366

Louis Campau ramp (the one right across Monroe Ave): 84

Gallery on Fulton ramp: 81

Monroe Center ramp: 2

 

535ish permit spots within a stone's throw.

 

The hotel could easily purchase 100+ spots in one of these ramps for its visitors.

 

http://grcity.us/enterprise-services/Parking-Services/Pages/Monthly-Cards-Available.aspx

 

Then you have visitor parking availability in those ramps:

 

Ottawa Fulton ramp: 200

Louis Campau ramp: 141

Gallery on Fulton: 75

Monroe Center (free one hour parking every day): 214

 

600 something. So a total of 1135ish available parking spots.

 

I have noticed it's getting harder and harder to find a space in the Monroe Center ramp (I have to go up and up a few floors when you used to find one on the 2nd floor), which is a good thing.

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I don't like the design and the plan which does not provide for parking.

Yes, the design fits for the area location, but I think they could do much better.

A hotel without onsite parking?

Oh never mind, it's downtown. lol

FAIL

 

John, the only hotel downtown that technically has "on-site" parking is the Holiday Inn. All the others are connected to ramps or have access to ramps within 50 yards.

 

The Louis Campau ramp is exactly 113 feet away from this spot:

 

12289505305_e2d80232bf_c.jpg

 

 

A typical parking spot at Meijer is 318 feet from the front door. A typical trip around the new Knapp's Corner Meijer layout is 2315 feet:

 

12289925444_c469449e59_c.jpg

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I find it preposterous that anyone would think this project would fail based solely on Parking. This project is surrounded by parking. If they have valet, and also taking into account that many business travelers take a cab into the city, it seems like a non-issue. 

 

Joe

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Cool design.  Doesn't look like anything else downtown.  It'll be a nice vista point when traveling south on Monroe. 

 

I'm a little disappointed that they are using Amway Corp as part of this project. 

 

That'll be great if this hotel, the one on north Monroe and the one on Michigan all get built.  That'll open it up for bigger conferences.

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The article said they were hiring the architect that did GRAM to do the design,  which left me with the impression that it hadn't been designed yet.  I would think the rendering you see is more of a concept than what we would actually see should they actually follow through and develop.  Also I am not surprised at all that they would reach out to Amway hotel corp for management since the D in CWD stands for Devos.

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I am reluctant to judge this building without having a better rendering, but based on what is there, I am not encouraged. 

 

I am starting to find it a bit depressing that the designs of some of our newer parking ramps (such as the Monroe Center and Ellis ramps), at least to my eyes, are more attractive than a lot of recent proposed and/or built buildings.  Sorry to be a party pooper, but I predict this new design will look old and dated in no time.  Our forays into Brutalism and other "fad of the moment" architectural styles has never gone all that well.  It's trendy looking now, but in 30 years?  People are going to ask who gets to drive the bulldozer. 

 

Interestingly enough, when Yantrasat designed the GRAM, he never really "finished" the building.  In some flash of either brilliance or sheer folly, the walls were intentionally left as blank unfinished slabs of concrete so that the building could, in theory, at some point be re-skinned to whatever was then-current.  That reskinning will probably never happen--I doubt few people are even aware of this--and instead the unfinished concrete will likely continue to age and become dirty and soiled.  It looked ugly when it was built, and I suspect it will never get much better, even if the potential is there (although perhaps not much--despite all of its LEED points, it apparently proved more expensive to operate than the building it replaced).

 

Unfortunately, this building makes no similar concession to future potential.  It pays no heed to thousands of years of time-tested Western architecture, but instead elects to dispatch with it wholesale and replace it with, well, this thing--this lump of discordant lines and harsh textures.  It screams, "I AM MODERN!  I AM DIFFERENT! LOOK AT ME!" without making much, if any, concession to the people who will walk the streets around it or look up at it.  Too bad, though, that it isn't truly different at all.  It is the same vulgar garbage that every aspiring architect thinks will get his name on the map.  This is not a beautiful building, an uplifting building, or an inspiring building--all principle classical architecture was designed to honor.  It is simply design to shock and be bold and noticeable.  It is simply Brutalism rehashed, Miley Cyrus personified in a building.

 

If you ask me, a building should be designed so that in 100 years, people say, "Now that's a beautiful building" and not "Well ... they were trying to be different..."  I won't claim to know what the future holds, but I don't think it will have merciful judgment on this crude building, should it be built.  Unfortunately, I think that is probably true of a lot of the garbage come out of architectural studios for Grand Rapids' consumption these days.

 

Perhaps they will mercifully redo the whole thing in brick with some beautiful columns, arches, and softer lines.  Perhaps someone will have a revelation and call Allan Greenberg or Thomas Beeby or Peter Pennoyer--heck, even Waybe Visbeen if you want to go local--and say, "Design us a hotel".  But I won't hold my breath. "Flash in the pan" rather than "enduring beauty" seems to be the architectural meme of the moment.

 

Okay.  Rant over.

 

Okay, not quite.  Found another of this architect's beautiful designs (in addition to our delightful art museum): 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/92/L_%26_M_Arts%2C_Venice%2C_California.jpg  The building on the right is an old power plant.  A power plant!  The one on the left is something that, apparently, this architectural genius put together for expansion of an art gallery.  Pretty sad when a power plant has more artistic merit and interest as art than a gallery expressly conceived for the display of art.  Kinda like GR where an old post office... And now this guy is designing a hotel?  We have to have TWO of this guy's atrocious designs in our city?  Color me disgusted.

Edited by x99

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If you ask me, a building should be designed so that in 100 years, people say, "Now that's a beautiful building" and not "Well ... they were trying to be different..."

 

That has never happened. We only pretend to do so today in severe hindsight because some architectural movement that came after it didnt quite look as nice. Or that that city stupidly eradicated all of their old buildings for less than stellar new stuff. In this case this building is going up on a 30 year old parking lot.

 

The City Hall (old one) is beloved today only after it was demolished, in the 1960s it was hideous, ugly, ornamental, and stuffy. in the 1990s the current city hall was boring, cold, isolated, windswept and too modern. Today that same building is seen as mod, hip, retro-futuristic and Mad Men cool. 

 

You can even look at what was said about the "decadent"  Art Deco as an example. Today people go to the mat to save any loose example of that style.

 

While I like some nice classical buildings, the idea that everything has to be brick, Doric columns, pediments, and the sharpest of sharp right angles is almost demanding faux-traditionalism because it is comfortable and that it is the style with the smallest chance of being rejected in the future. Chasing that result gives you a really boring city that's trying too hard to look old.

 

The L&M art gallery is nice and all, but it makes you want to take a nap after you look at it. It has a huge brick box with a slot in it. Why look at that and think anything other than "it looks stuffy and pricey"?

 

Nothing wrong with historical inspiration, but its just sometimes overkill in the other direction.

Edited by GR_Urbanist

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Interestingly enough, when Yantrasat designed the GRAM, he never really "finished" the building. In some flash of either brilliance or sheer folly, the walls were intentionally left as blank unfinished slabs of concrete so that the building could, in theory, at some point be re-skinned to whatever was then-current. That reskinning will probably never happen--I doubt few people are even aware of this--and instead the unfinished concrete will likely continue to age and become dirty and soiled. It looked ugly when it was built, and I suspect it will never get much better, even if the potential is there (although perhaps not much--despite all of its LEED points, it apparently proved more expensive to operate than the building it replaced).

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

While I'm still not 100% in love with the GRAM design, it has grown on me a bit over the years. This is the first I have ever heard that that building was "unfinished." I recall that the process for building those smooth concrete walls was a difficult and intentional process.

I don't think we are looking at the final rendering of this new hotel, but I do like the direction they are going. I like the amount of glass.

Edited by GRDadof3

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I am reluctant to judge this building without having a better rendering, but based on what is there, I am not encouraged. 

 

I am starting to find it a bit depressing that the designs of some of our newer parking ramps (such as the Monroe Center and Ellis ramps), at least to my eyes, are more attractive than a lot of recent proposed and/or built buildings.  Sorry to be a party pooper, but I predict this new design will look old and dated in no time.  Our forays into Brutalism and other "fad of the moment" architectural styles has never gone all that well.  It's trendy looking now, but in 30 years?  People are going to ask who gets to drive the bulldozer. 

 

Interestingly enough, when Yantrasat designed the GRAM, he never really "finished" the building.  In some flash of either brilliance or sheer folly, the walls were intentionally left as blank unfinished slabs of concrete so that the building could, in theory, at some point be re-skinned to whatever was then-current.  That reskinning will probably never happen--I doubt few people are even aware of this--and instead the unfinished concrete will likely continue to age and become dirty and soiled.  It looked ugly when it was built, and I suspect it will never get much better, even if the potential is there (although perhaps not much--despite all of its LEED points, it apparently proved more expensive to operate than the building it replaced).

 

Unfortunately, this building makes no similar concession to future potential.  It pays no heed to thousands of years of time-tested Western architecture, but instead elects to dispatch with it wholesale and replace it with, well, this thing--this lump of discordant lines and harsh textures.  It screams, "I AM MODERN!  I AM DIFFERENT! LOOK AT ME!" without making much, if any, concession to the people who will walk the streets around it or look up at it.  Too bad, though, that it isn't truly different at all.  It is the same vulgar garbage that every aspiring architect thinks will get his name on the map.  This is not a beautiful building, an uplifting building, or an inspiring building--all principle classical architecture was designed to honor.  It is simply design to shock and be bold and noticeable.  It is simply Brutalism rehashed, Miley Cyrus personified in a building.

 

If you ask me, a building should be designed so that in 100 years, people say, "Now that's a beautiful building" and not "Well ... they were trying to be different..."  I won't claim to know what the future holds, but I don't think it will have merciful judgment on this crude building, should it be built.  Unfortunately, I think that is probably true of a lot of the garbage come out of architectural studios for Grand Rapids' consumption these days.

 

Perhaps they will mercifully redo the whole thing in brick with some beautiful columns, arches, and softer lines.  Perhaps someone will have a revelation and call Allan Greenberg or Thomas Beeby or Peter Pennoyer--heck, even Waybe Visbeen if you want to go local--and say, "Design us a hotel".  But I won't hold my breath. "Flash in the pan" rather than "enduring beauty" seems to be the architectural meme of the moment.

 

Okay.  Rant over.

 

Okay, not quite.  Found another of this architect's beautiful designs (in addition to our delightful art museum): 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/92/L_%26_M_Arts%2C_Venice%2C_California.jpg  The building on the right is an old power plant.  A power plant!  The one on the left is something that, apparently, this architectural genius put together for expansion of an art gallery.  Pretty sad when a power plant has more artistic merit and interest as art than a gallery expressly conceived for the display of art.  Kinda like GR where an old post office... And now this guy is designing a hotel?  We have to have TWO of this guy's atrocious designs in our city?  Color me disgusted.

 

 

That's pretty harsh. I think it's awesome. Those ramps are designed to blend into the city so that people don't see them or notice them, because they're parking ramps. Never have I heard in all my days someone say "design a hotel to look like a parking ramp. It'll be fab."

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Being a building by Yantrasast I figured that what I'm seeing is polished concrete.  The glass walls are the areas that project out and you can see into.

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Gr_Urbanist:  Actually, the City Hall was rather beloved when it was torn down, too.  There was quite a fight to save it.  The backlash was so strong that Heritage Hill was the eventual result.  If the current City Hall went to the wrecking ball, I don't think you would see much of a fight to save it. 

 

And don't get me wrong--not everything has to be columns and balustrades.  However, for hundreds if not thousands of years a very robust urban architectural vernacular arose.  It was, ultimately, an architecture that was design to be friendly to people and interesting to look at when strolling down the street.  There were clearly-defined doorways with entryways that invited you in from the street.  There were durable stone materials on the street level, with texture to them.  There were windows, set well back into the facade that acted as "eyes" of the building and provided some variation to the surface.  There was a clear demarcation of the street level and that above, and a pediment on top to demarcate the top of the building. There was some degree of interesting ornamentation and detail to look at and which was pleasing to the eye.  Here's a firm that has done some good work:  http://assets7.artprize.org/venues/2013/002589/002589-000003.P.jpeg  The buildings aren't all the same, but they aren't offensive.

 

This simply does not strike me as a particularly good building.  It looks sort of neat on a page, and might be neat out in a field somewhere, but it isn't particularly good urban architecture.  Good urban architecture starts at the street, and pays respect to the pedestrians walking on it.  This building does not appear to get even that right.  It takes a certain talent to design a pedestrian and urban-friendly building that this architect simply does not seem to have developed yet. Oh--and let's be clear.  This is not a "major" architect as the Press would have you believe.  His portfolio is not only diminutive, but is focused almost entirely on the inside of art museums.

Edited by x99

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Grand Rapids was getting a lot of criticism at one point for having a lot of parking ramps, so they started building ramps to look like nice buildings.  For a long period, there were probably more parking ramps built than actual new buildings.  The fact of the matter is, the ramps look nicer than this building.   The Monroe Center ramp http://assets7.artprize.org/venues/2013/002589/002589-000003.P.jpeg would make a magnificent hotel, with a little extra pizzazz here and there.  The Ellis ramp was designed by Rich & Associates, who have won a lot of awards for their ramps.  My take is that it's rather sad when a company designing buildings for cars has a lot to teach companies designing buildings for people...  Rich's portfolio is shockingly good, actually.

 

That's pretty harsh. I think it's awesome. Those ramps are designed to blend into the city so that people don't see them or notice them, because they're parking ramps. Never have I heard in all my days someone say "design a hotel to look like a parking ramp. It'll be fab."

Edited by x99

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i personally feel they should tone it down. i dont mind trying something new, but this just screams of too much. 

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Grand Rapids was getting a lot of criticism at one point for having a lot of parking ramps, so they started building ramps to look like nice buildings.  For a long period, there were probably more parking ramps built than actual new buildings.  The fact of the matter is, the ramps look nicer than this building.   The Monroe Center ramp http://assets7.artprize.org/venues/2013/002589/002589-000003.P.jpeg would make a magnificent hotel, with a little extra pizzazz here and there.  The Ellis ramp was designed by Rich & Associates, who have won a lot of awards for their ramps.  My take is that it's rather sad when a company designing buildings for cars has a lot to teach companies designing buildings for people...  Rich's portfolio is shockingly good, actually.

I'm sorry, were you under the impression that I just moved here? :) I'm very well aware of every project that the dda had its hands in going back to the 80s. The ramps don't look nicer than this building design, they look like nice parking ramps. It was a departure from the dda's frustration with the Pearl Ionia city ramp and Ellis ramp on Pearl that covered up the butterfly mural. Neither have any great street presence. Look at the wall next to the Chamber offices. Holy yuck.

If the Monroe Center ramp was made into a hotel, it'd look like any other Comfort Suites in Downtown Anywhere USA. Is that what we're going for? In addition, I don't think you can assess how this addresses pedestrian activity at all from this rendering. If it's transparent glass with activity inside, it will accomplish that. It doesn't have to have finials to excite people.

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I like it. I hope they bring a new brand to town with this as well, Aloft? I had a pipedream that there would be a really tall building 500'+ built on that site, it would be a great spot for the tallest building to even out the skyline! oh well. 

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Being a building by Yantrasast I figured that what I'm seeing is polished concrete.  The glass walls are the areas that project out and you can see into.

I would find it hard to believe you could have long concrete walls like that with hotel rooms and/or condos. I think it might be less transparent glass than the other areas.

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If you look at the caption on Mlive's article it says (Courtesy Rendering)  This hotel hasn't been designed yet, we have no idea what it will look like. 

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