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Calder Plaza Building to get makeover


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The bad news is that it lost its biggest tenant. The good news is that it's the perfect time to invest $millions into it. 

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I wonder why in the headline they say "Firm plans... " instead of "CWD plans..." ??

http://www.grbj.com/articles/83361-firm-plans-renovation-of-downtown-landmark

What's the vacancy rate of CWD's properties now? Have they gotten any new tenants in 50 Monroe? 

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And if you want the Calder to sit on grass rather than concrete you've got to move it around a few times, that seems to fool the Calder Foundation people. Here's a Calder that was in Fort Worth o

Well actually...the split ring was first part of an exhibition of large outdoor sculpture at the Vandenberg Center in the early 70s, and it was placed...right in front of 300 Ottawa. Maybe it was desi

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I feel like GRBJ's headlines never tell you specifics.  I have to say I do click on more stories that way...tricksters.

Hard to tell from the rendering, but it looks like the front on Monroe will be greatly enhanced over what's currently there.  Now time to get rid of that Calder Plaza wall....  =)

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The rendering makes it look liked it's wrapped in shrink-wrap. LOL. 

Would be great to see them push the building out to Monroe instead of the current setbacks. These comments are encouraging:

“Our primary goals were to improve how it addresses the street, increase its ability to contribute to the street front and thereby increase its retail space and dramatically improve the lobbies (and) common areas, bringing natural light into the building and upgrading mechanicals

I hope there is a concerted effort to push leasable space (ie. the Calder wall) up to MSU and make it not feel like your walking down a canyon from Michigan to Lyon...

Joe

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The bad news is that it lost its biggest tenant. The good news is that it's the perfect time to invest $millions into it. 

20917399813_4aaba059ab_o.png

 

I wonder why in the headline they say "Firm plans... " instead of "CWD plans..." ??

http://www.grbj.com/articles/83361-firm-plans-renovation-of-downtown-landmark

What's the vacancy rate of CWD's properties now? Have they gotten any new tenants in 50 Monroe? 

 

Someone I either missed or overlooked that they bought this thing.  I remember going through it a few years ago and being singularly impressed by how utterly free of any sort of character or visual interest this building was.  It is quite literally just a warehouse with windows on the walls.  What they need is a very large office tenant like ... oh ... the law firm that moved out of it.  I'm starting to wonder just how far the appetite for ever more "Class A" office space goes without some serious fresh blood.  In the Renewal Zone Wasteland, I suspect it's going to have to be priced like property on the Beltline to find a tenant.   That whole area is horrible.  Maybe a downtown shopping center would be a better fit... :)  

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Someone I either missed or overlooked that they bought this thing.  I remember going through it a few years ago and being singularly impressed by how utterly free of any sort of character or visual interest this building was.  It is quite literally just a warehouse with windows on the walls.  What they need is a very large office tenant like ... oh ... the law firm that moved out of it.  I'm starting to wonder just how far the appetite for ever more "Class A" office space goes without some serious fresh blood.  In the Renewal Zone Wasteland, I suspect it's going to have to be priced like property on the Beltline to find a tenant.   That whole area is horrible.  Maybe a downtown shopping center would be a better fit... :)  

I rough sketched a mall a few years ago like Salt Lake City's, that tied the Lyon and Ottawa site with the 5/3 parking lot and the Calder Plaza Building. Fun times.

Orange would be towers of some sort, the red would be a mix of open air and ground floor street front shopping. 

 

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I rough sketched a mall a few years ago like Salt Lake City's, that tied the Lyon and Ottawa site with the 5/3 parking lot and the Calder Plaza Building. Fun times.

Orange would be towers of some sort, the red would be a mix of open air and ground floor street front shopping. 

 

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You do realize that would be awesome, right?  :)  It's not quite as large-scale a plan as the SLC mall, but it is probably the only viable location for a downtown retail project, which is the final component needed to really increase occupancy and sustain downtown growth.  I appreciate CWD's efforts to rejuvenate these office buildings, but I'm not sure how they or anyone else will ever repair the giant disaster that is everything north of Lyon.  The amount of vacant space in these buildings is frightening.  

If you could find a way to repurpose some of these other buildings so that downtown (and this area, in particular) became more of a destination, some good things could probably happen. But when someone is trying to give away 30,000 square feet of space for $8 a foot at 300 Ottawa, something is extremely wrong.  http://mls.carwm.com/listing/28686704/300-OTTAWA-AVE-NW-Grand-Rapids-MI-49503.   There has to be a story here, but how $24 a foot for just slightly more space across the street at Calder (http://mls.carwm.com/listing/29661408) makes any sense in light of that $8 listing, I don't know.  It's bizarre.  I wonder if the $8 lease is a sublease that shows just how bad the leasing situation is when a very large landlord is not able to manage the supply and sustain the losses that come with empty space?

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You do realize that would be awesome, right?  :)  It's not quite as large-scale a plan as the SLC mall, but it is probably the only viable location for a downtown retail project, which is the final component needed to really increase occupancy and sustain downtown growth.  I appreciate CWD's efforts to rejuvenate these office buildings, but I'm not sure how they or anyone else will ever repair the giant disaster that is everything north of Lyon.  The amount of vacant space in these buildings is frightening.  

If you could find a way to repurpose some of these other buildings so that downtown (and this area, in particular) became more of a destination, some good things could probably happen. But when someone is trying to give away a 30,000 square feet of space for $8 a foot at 300 Ottawa, something is extremely wrong.  http://mls.carwm.com/listing/28686704/300-OTTAWA-AVE-NW-Grand-Rapids-MI-49503.   There has to be a story here, but how $24 a foot more more space across the street at Calder (http://mls.carwm.com/listing/29661408) makes any sense in light of that $8 listing, I don't know.  It's bizarre.  I wonder if the $8 lease is a sublease that shows just how bad the leasing situation is when a very large landlord is not able to manage the supply and sustain the losses that come with empty space?

 

Of course I know, that's why I drew it up! :) 

It would inject quite a bit of life into that area of downtown, and it's two big parcels (Lyon/Ottawa and 5/3) that are just begging for something big, broad and tall. The two towers could be residential, 25 - 30 floors. The residential location would be highly desirable, particularly as condos, IMHO. One tower would overlook Calder Plaza (Calder View?) and the other would be right in the center of the city, with sweeping views all around. 

Plus my thought was that it would stretch to Monroe Avenue with a glass atrium that could draw conventioneers into the "mall." 

The blue arched thing is a rudimentary bridge, lol. 

 

Edited by GRDadof3
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Oh.  Did it get any less "someone scooped out the corner with a spoon" looking?  I'm glad someone's trying something with the building.  It's just hard for me to get that excited because Its. Just. So. Weird. I don't see how this really improves the marketability.  But, hey, maybe it will be better in person.  Shiny and new, and all that.  Even if something only a mother could really love.  It's a challenging building, and it doesn't seem to me this design quite rises to that challenge.

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^Are we sure this was a Daverman Associates Building? I did some extensive research of this area during my Masters thesis, and unfortunately don't have my notes around, but I remember the only Daverman buildings in the Vandenberg Center being:

1. Post Office

2. Michigan Title Building

3. Old Kent Building

4. Grand Rapids Press Building

5. Michigan Consolidated Gas Building

Although they did create the master plan that laid out the rest of the center. Federal Building and State of Michigan Buildings might look a little like their work, but were done by other local architects. I remember the Calder Plaza Building being the least well documented, because frankly, I think it was sort of a boring, efficient building from the start, and no one was all that interested in it, whereas building like Old Kent and City Hall were cutting edge for the city 20 years earlier.

Edited by andrew.w
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I'll dig up my stuff too, because I definitely found other firms attached to those two building, but I can't remember the source. I think what might have been confusing is that they were the Master plan architects, so their name might appear on things that they themselves didn't create.

I do remember for certain that 300 Ottowa was designed by WBDC (of Steelcase Pyramid fame) and 200 Ottawa was designed by a New York firm who also worked on the Empire State Plaza. The demolished Hall of Justice was by SOM, and the original Grand Center was Harry Weese, both out of Chicago.

 

A little plug: anyone interested in reading some of my findings can read it here (you might even find images from some of the same brochures you referenced): https://etd.ohiolink.edu/pg_10?0::NO:10:P10_ETD_SUBID:4693. I was going to insert and appendix with more information and history on the individual buildings, but never got around to it.

Edited by andrew.w
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This isn't the Calder Plaza building I know, but it's a building by Calder Plaza and I couldn't find a topic thread for it, so I'm just dropping these here.  This is the building next to the Chase building, I can't honestly say I ever remember actually seeing this building before the entry renovation even though I've walked by it probably a hundred times.  So kudos to the architect for drawing at least one persons attention.

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Edited by mielsonwheels
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3 minutes ago, mielsonwheels said:

This isn't the Calder Plaza building I know, but it's a building by Calder Plaza and I couldn't find a topic thread for it, so I'm just dropping these here.  This is the building next to the Chase building, I can't honestly say I ever remember actually seeing this building before the entry renovation even though I've walked by it probably a hundred times.  So kudos to the architect for drawings at least one persons attention.

 

 

 

This was formally known as the Frey Building, and served (at least partially) as back office for the former Union Bank, now Chase.  Frey started Union Bank, and Foremost Insurance. DP Fox owns this building and the Chase building, and I think CDW manages the two.  Concept Design drew up the new entrance, in an effort to make the building more visible, and I assume help with vacancies.  I want to say the Chase building was suppose to get a minor face lift too. I do like the work that Concept Design did. 

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^The Chase Building got a whole new plaza and landscape design a few years back (2012 I believe).

 

I appreciate that this design actually looks like it belongs with the building. A lot of these entrance modernization end up looking tacked on. I suspect that the Calder Plaza renovation will not look half as natural...

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