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GRDadof3

New projects on the West Side

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5 hours ago, GRwestsider said:

Speaking of Steepletown, I had a chance to take a few snapshots of the neighborhood the other day while I was passing through. I thought I'd share them here in case anyone doesn't get a chance to head down that way too often. So many hidden architectural gems in that neighborhood! 

They've recently redone the basilica complex as well as the 5th Street Hall / St. Adalbert's Fraternal Aid Society building, which you can barely recognize. One street up you have the 6th Street Hall / Polish Armory building, which could still use a bit of a facelift. You can tell that with a little love, that building would look fantastic. A lot of history and character in that area. :)

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I've always loved the gothic architecture of the rectory (?) at St Adalbert's. 

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5 hours ago, GRwestsider said:

They've recently redone the basilica complex as well as the 5th Street Hall / St. Adalbert's Fraternal Aid Society building, which you can barely recognize. One street up you have the 6th Street Hall / Polish Armory building, which could still use a bit of a facelift. You can tell that with a little love, that building would look fantastic. A lot of history and character in that area. :)

Thanks for the pics, they bring back a lot of memories. My grandparents, uncle, mom, brother, and I all graduated from St. Adalbert’s. A lot of family history at that church, school, and 5th Street Hall. 

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Consumers Energy project sounds like it's going to be a Spring 2020 start now. They were apparently "retooling" what functions and staff were going to be working there. They own the land so they're still moving forward. 

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Updated photo of the former Red Lion site project. All of the windows are in and the balconies appear to be finished. Glad to finally see some progress on this project. 

Does anyone know if the city fines developers for projects taking too long? Particularly if they are impeding traffic/pedestrian flow? This project has made for a dangerous no-sidewalk/no-shoulder situation on Bridge for well over a year. 

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5 hours ago, thebeerqueer said:

Updated photo of the former Red Lion site project. All of the windows are in and the balconies appear to be finished. Glad to finally see some progress on this project. 

Does anyone know if the city fines developers for projects taking too long? Particularly if they are impeding traffic/pedestrian flow? This project has made for a dangerous no-sidewalk/no-shoulder situation on Bridge for well over a year. 

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I'm almost certain projects are charged for blocking lanes of traffic.  This is based on the length of time the project takes..

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On 10/16/2019 at 7:54 AM, GRDadof3 said:

Consumers Energy project sounds like it's going to be a Spring 2020 start now. They were apparently "retooling" what functions and staff were going to be working there. They own the land so they're still moving forward. 

The question is are they scaling back or scaling up?   S...L...O...W moving project.

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Here are a few more Bridge Street photos to add to the mix!

You're definitely right that there's been some visible progress on the old Red Lion site within the last few weeks. The businesses next door must feel so relieved. It couldn't have been easy having the sidewalk blocked off this long, especially given the project's open-ended completion date. 

On an even more positive note, everything's moving along swimmingly with the Stockbridge Apartments down the street! It's a really impressive sight to see in person--it adds a lot to the street-level density and makes the area feel truly urban. Can't wait to see all of the extra foot traffic and activity on that corner once everything's finished. :)

 

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Edited by GRwestsider
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1 hour ago, ctpgr34 said:

Found this on Facebook- A permit is under review for a mixed-use building that would replace three existing buildings along Leonard St. between Broadway and a public alley. This new development will be a three-story building, and will include onsite parking in the back.

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Wow, great find! West Leonard is really taking off.

How do we feel about that design aesthetic in this neighborhood though? I'm feeling a little ambivalent about it. As far as contemporary designs go, I think this is definitely on the higher end of what we can expect to see (just compare this to the Red Lion site design, for example, and there's no question this is superior). That being said, I'm sad to see that this project is replacing much older buildings. Even though they're only one-story tall, at least they have some character to them. 

Sometimes when I look at the Ada Village page on this forum and see the fantastic, quality, historically-influenced designs being produced there, I wonder to myself--"if they can have high standards for their neighborhoods, why can't we?" If you look at the Ada Village development page, it describes toward the bottom the standards/principles that community has mandated for its future buildings. One in particular caught my eye: "#5: Encourage building types that preserve the quaint, historic, small-scale feeling of the Village."  

Do we think this same sort of guiding principle that Ada Village uses should be mandated in historic neighborhoods on the West Side like West Leonard, Bridge Street and the intersection of Stocking and Fourth? Is this even a realistic hope? Who would need to get involved to make this sort of thing happen?

Again, I don't mean to pick on this particular project; I'm so glad to see there's a lot of growth and development in the area.  I just wonder if it's worth taking a moment to step back and consider how to go about encouraging GR developers and designers to take a cue from Ada and produce aesthetically-pleasing and historically-influenced buildings in older neighborhoods like this one. 

Does anyone else feel this way sometimes? Here's one Ada Village design I nabbed from the other page as an example of what could be on the West Side:

image.png.15597c85f6638f4388802282e4a6e12f.png

 

Edited by GRwestsider
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9 hours ago, GRwestsider said:

Wow, great find! West Leonard is really taking off.

How do we feel about that design aesthetic in this neighborhood though? I'm feeling a little ambivalent about it. As far as contemporary designs go, I think this is definitely on the higher end of what we can expect to see (just compare this to the Red Lion site design, for example, and there's no question this is superior). That being said, I'm sad to see that this project is replacing much older buildings. Even though they're only one-story tall, at least they have some character to them. 

Sometimes when I look at the Ada Village page on this forum and see the fantastic, quality, historically-influenced designs being produced there, I wonder to myself--"if they can have high standards for their neighborhoods, why can't we?" If you look at the Ada Village development page, it describes toward the bottom the standards/principles that community has mandated for its future buildings. One in particular caught my eye: "#5: Encourage building types that preserve the quaint, historic, small-scale feeling of the Village."  

Ambivalent is a good word.  Felt the same way looking at the rendering.  Getting rid of the façade on the old building on the right in the present view would be a good idea but getting rid of the whole block will eliminate a block of westside history.  Is that good or bad?  I don't know.

I’m not sure Ada is a good model though.  While I’m not bitter like Wingbert (but then I don’t live anywhere near there and I think he may,) I’m not crazy about their new fuax old style architecture.  Too Disneyesque and artificial for me.  I’d rather have seen a more organic development, a mix of old buildings and businesses and complimentary new ones that don’t pretend to be from the nineteenth century.    
 

Edited by walker
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14 minutes ago, walker said:

I’m not sure Ada is a good model though.

I can see that, definitely. Maybe a better example to emulate would be the New Holland Brewing Company / Barley Flats development on Bridge. It definitely has a more organic feel to it and blends contemporary design aesthetics with historical elements that are respectful to the neighborhood, its history and vibe. If that were held as the standard/bar for future developments, I would be a happy camper. 

Edited by GRwestsider
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1 hour ago, GRwestsider said:

I can see that, definitely. Maybe a better example to emulate would be the New Holland Brewing Company / Barley Flats development on Bridge. It definitely has a more organic feel to it and blends contemporary design aesthetics with historical elements that are respectful to the neighborhood, its history and vibe. If that were held as the standard/bar for future developments, I would be a happy camper. 

Honestly I’m ok with the design.  Especially if it helps spur investment though the rest of that strip.  Yeah it’s not spectacular, but I don’t think it will damage the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood.  I think West Leonard has the most promising infrastructure for a truly walkable/urban node outside of downtown, compared to any other neighborhood in the city.  I know I tend to value progress over preservation more than most people on here. I just don’t think the original intent of historic preservation was ever to freeze time, but help retain character, while allowing for neighborhoods to continue to adapt and grow.  

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I suppose the horse is sort of out of the barn already with the building that went up at Leonard & Alpine as far as modernizing architecture along Leonard vs. preserving the look of the previous structures.  

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Is it just me or does West Leonard feel like a really good place to have a large collection of neon signs? I've always felt this way, and buildings like this I think will interfere with that feeling.

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19 hours ago, GRwestsider said:

Wow, great find! West Leonard is really taking off.

How do we feel about that design aesthetic in this neighborhood though? I'm feeling a little ambivalent about it. As far as contemporary designs go, I think this is definitely on the higher end of what we can expect to see (just compare this to the Red Lion site design, for example, and there's no question this is superior). That being said, I'm sad to see that this project is replacing much older buildings. Even though they're only one-story tall, at least they have some character to them. 

Sometimes when I look at the Ada Village page on this forum and see the fantastic, quality, historically-influenced designs being produced there, I wonder to myself--"if they can have high standards for their neighborhoods, why can't we?" If you look at the Ada Village development page, it describes toward the bottom the standards/principles that community has mandated for its future buildings. One in particular caught my eye: "#5: Encourage building types that preserve the quaint, historic, small-scale feeling of the Village."  

Do we think this same sort of guiding principle that Ada Village uses should be mandated in historic neighborhoods on the West Side like West Leonard, Bridge Street and the intersection of Stocking and Fourth? Is this even a realistic hope? Who would need to get involved to make this sort of thing happen?

Again, I don't mean to pick on this particular project; I'm so glad to see there's a lot of growth and development in the area.  I just wonder if it's worth taking a moment to step back and consider how to go about encouraging GR developers and designers to take a cue from Ada and produce aesthetically-pleasing and historically-influenced buildings in older neighborhoods like this one. 

Does anyone else feel this way sometimes? Here's one Ada Village design I nabbed from the other page as an example of what could be on the West Side:

image.png.15597c85f6638f4388802282e4a6e12f.png

 

All (or most) of the buildings in the new Village of Ada are owned by Amway or Amway subsidiaries (the families). I don't think they're as sensitive to costs of construction as most developers  are who need to make a profit for themselves and their investors. 

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14 hours ago, tSlater said:

Is it just me or does West Leonard feel like a really good place to have a large collection of neon signs? I've always felt this way, and buildings like this I think will interfere with that feeling.

Any street where you can get hit up by a homeless person, get a tattoo, drink a craft beer, or savor some barbecue .. all in the same block .. gets my vote.

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West Leonard still has a lot of that old west side grittiness that one cant tell if it is a deliberate look or just because the area is still very "low rent", not that I say that disparagingly, it just has a look of being someplace you wont want to walk down at night as opposed to what you see on Bridge St.. There are several buildings with ugly wood planks still on the old windows, a totally out of place strip mall, lots of unkempt structures, and fairly large building that have bricked-up street frontages. There are also some really good rehabs that have taken place that dont get a lot of press too. Leonard is definitely a clash of cultures!


I think the project proposed there will be good in the long run for the street even though I'm too a bit ambivalent over the buildings that will be demolished to do it. There are many parcels that are almost empty lots, so I dont know why this is the spot they aimed for other than it's in that part of W. Leonard nearest to the highway.

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6 hours ago, GR_Urbanist said:

West Leonard still has a lot of that old west side grittiness that one cant tell if it is a deliberate look or just because the area is still very "low rent", not that I say that disparagingly, it just has a look of being someplace you wont want to walk down at night as opposed to what you see on Bridge St.. There are several buildings with ugly wood planks still on the old windows, a totally out of place strip mall, lots of unkempt structures, and fairly large building that have bricked-up street frontages. There are also some really good rehabs that have taken place that dont get a lot of press too. Leonard is definitely a clash of cultures!


I think the project proposed there will be good in the long run for the street even though I'm too a bit ambivalent over the buildings that will be demolished to do it. There are many parcels that are almost empty lots, so I dont know why this is the spot they aimed for other than it's in that part of W. Leonard nearest to the highway.

Totally agree! I think, once again, the New Holland / Barley Flats project is a comparable development. It took over a comparably gritty (one could even say very seedy area, given the adult theaters in the neighborhood) strip of Bridge Street and they were forced to knock down a Victorian Era red brick building on the corner to do it. But, in its place, they put new buildings that matched the style of the surrounding area and included contemporary design elements, which make the whole thing pop.  I think Rockford Construction proved it's not a Herculean task to put together designs that are both forward-thinking and rooted in history. And, lo and behold, they've gifted us with a building we can all truly be proud of that's become a of place-maker for the Westside. The ICCF also does a fantastic job with these types of projects (see the Stockbridge Apartments going up down the street). 

Full disclosure: I've been living on-and-off in Washington DC for the last decade, and it's very common to see historical elements incorporated into new, large-scale developments down there. It adds to the city's vibrancy and encourages further development. It doesn't freeze time. My initial post was simply a wonder-out-loud sort of thing--it would be great to see those types of designs pop up more often in GR's Westside neighborhoods. From my perspective, there's no reason it shouldn't happen; it's just a matter of interest in it from the local community.

Edited by GRwestsider

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21 hours ago, tSlater said:

Is it just me or does West Leonard feel like a really good place to have a large collection of neon signs? I've always felt this way, and buildings like this I think will interfere with that feeling.

I don’t know if West Leonard is the best place, but I am totally on board with more neon and unique signage. Neon is  kind of a lost art. Letterpress stuff is awesome too. 

If your sign is memorable, people will remember you and hopefully come back often. 

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Anna’s House filed a lawsuit against Meritage, saying it stole their concept (during negotiations to acquire or franchise the concept). On of the interesting parts of the article was that Morning Belle is working on a 2nd location, on Bridge Street:

“... on 434 Bridge St. NW in the former site of Esquire Hair Salon adjacent to Butcher’s Union”. 
 

Joe

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40 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

Anna’s House filed a lawsuit against Meritage, saying it stole their concept (during negotiations to acquire or franchise the concept). On of the interesting parts of the article was that Morning Belle is working on a 2nd location, on Bridge Street:

“... on 434 Bridge St. NW in the former site of Esquire Hair Salon adjacent to Butcher’s Union”. 
 

Joe

Ironically someone I know who works for Meritage recently told to me in regards to Morning Belle that “they pretty much stripped the entire concept of Anna’s House and replicated it.”

Edited by TheLonesomeHobo

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Driving by the place on the Beltline and it's plainly obvious from the road that they nicked the idea from Anna's House.

Re: Neon on West Leonard, are we liking the idea of neon there becuase we are channeling the old Neon Ameircana shop that was on West Leonard?

https://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/2009/11/neon_americana_owner_holding_f.html

 

 

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