GRDadof3

42 story building coming to downtown GR

381 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, MJLO said:

 

Downtown really needs a new big player to continue its existing momentum anyway.  A 42 story class A office tower without tenants would kill the Kendall Building,  quickly emptying 50 Monroe,  and leave an empty 5 story building at  Lyon and Monroe (unless it were built there).  A mixed used including a hotel would likely kill the Suburban Inns hotel without a big player.  Not to mention the CWD concept rumored to be an AC Marriott. 

 

I agree 100% about it killing a lot of projects that have been hanging out there for a while. But, that is what happens when you announce a project, get the approvals and tax breaks, and then sit on them for years.

Not sure why these projects haven't started yet (lining up financing, waiting for market conditions to be perfect, etc...). But just because you announced a new project years ago doesn't give you the corner on the market for that type of development. In a competitive world, it's put up or shut up. We need to keep the deveopment ball rolling in downtown, and not wait around for half baked pipe dreams to materialize. 

Anyways, that's my two cents on it. 

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43 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

Uh-huh.  We'll see.  This is unexpected out of Hinman.  I hope Roger got himself a really good historic consultant and isn't just planning on spitballing it in front of the historic commission with his architect.  That probably won't end well.  Now if he was really thinking and hired Robert A.M. Stern, it might go really well.  Just a tip.

There is probably some room for a 42 story building here, if it is designed appropriately.  And that could be a real challenge unless Roger is willing to fund this thing as a monument to himself.  That last glass castle was never actually approved.  It was more like a rather flummoxed HPC took a bye on it with some mealy-mouthed economic necessity nonsense.

As for why Hinman would do this... you got me.  Must be sitting on a big, fat cash pile that he wants to light a match to?  It's very exciting, but color me a bit skeptical yet.  

Edited by x99

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Uhhh. Holy tamoly. 

 

Fingers crossed on this one.

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Even though the article says it will only be slightly taller than Riverhouse, it will sit at a higher elevation than it, so it will visually be even taller.

"The plans still require approval from the Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission"

Well that was fun while it lasted. The HPC will screw this up as bad as they seem to muck up most things they get their hands on. They would assume keep a goofy-looking parking lot than sully the historic look of....whatever it is that is remotely historical around this spot.

 

Edited by GR_Urbanist
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Soooo we can expect maybe 20 stories by the time the city rejects the height and Hinman realizes the cost to engineer a 42-story building in a footprint that small. So much inherently wasted space with a wedge shape, too but I'd still love to see it.

They'd definitely have to add levels to that parking garage. My office used to be in the Michigan National Bank Building (that Hinman owns) and we rented parking spaces in that ramp for company cars and employee cars and it was already always almost full then. There's no way a four or five story ramp can support this project and the MNB building. 

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20 minutes ago, GRapcity said:

Soooo we can expect maybe 20 stories by the time the city rejects the height and Hinman realizes the cost to engineer a 42-story building in a footprint that small. So much inherently wasted space with a wedge shape, too but I'd still love to see it.

They'd definitely have to add levels to that parking garage. My office used to be in the Michigan National Bank Building (that Hinman owns) and we rented parking spaces in that ramp for company cars and employee cars and it was already always almost full then. There's no way a four or five story ramp can support this project and the MNB building. 

There was a post earlier in this thread that said that Hinman planned to cantilever over to their parking garage, I assume to add floors since there wouldn't be much other reason to go through that expense. So Louis would be like a tunnel under the building, or give that impression. That would be cool. 

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So here's an old postcard photo of the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis.

Mpls%20skyline%20Foshay%20Tower%201930.j

It's about the best example I could find of a really narrow completely free standing building sited in a "historically appropriate" context like Hinman has to deal with.  

Of course, even the 80x80 Foshay would not fit on Hinman's little triangle, assuming the tower itself would be confined to the triangle.   The hypotenuse of the Foshay's sides is about 120 feet, so that's what you see from this vantage point.  This tower narrows to about 50x50 as it goes up.  Hinman could squeeze out about 113 feet to 160 feet on each side of his little triangle.  It's actually more space than you would think, with nearly 10,000 square feet of space per floor, if you built it all the way out to the little point of the triangle.

My point (to the extent I have one) is that it is possible to do this and still be historically appropriate.  If the proposal is for a lass tower on top, he'll probably be back to the drawing board.  I hope they came up with something good.  

Edited by x99

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The building that once stood here was one of the taller buildings in the city for its time, they can likely use that to leverage the HPC for a tall building on this lot.  That and the odd shape and small size of the lot necessitating height to make the site profitable, as was argued for the Class-A on Weston that the HPC approved.

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2 hours ago, x99 said:

Of course, even the 80x80 Foshay would not fit on Hinman's little triangle, assuming the tower itself would be confined to the triangle.   The hypotenuse of the Foshay's sides is about 120 feet, so that's what you see from this vantage point.  This tower narrows to about 50x50 as it goes up.  Hinman could squeeze out about 113 feet to 160 feet on each side of his little triangle.  It's actually more space than you would think, with nearly 10,000 square feet of space per floor, if you built it all the way out to the little point of the triangle.

 

I don't see this being confined just to the triangle.  That wouldn't make much sense.  There are plenty of examples of buildings that cantilever over streets like Louis.  Hotel lobby and valet under it, covered parking across the street.  

I do not see this happening.  There is a need for hotel space downtown,  aside from the finance aspect they would need a flagship brand like Hilton or Marriott.   I don't see (fill in the name downtown hotel monopoly) letting this happen without a behind the scenes fight.  

EDIT:  Just finished reading the article.  10 floors of hotel,  amenity floor, the rest apartments.  31 floors of apartments?  Don't get me wrong I want this too happen.  It just seems there are too many ambitious apartment projects on the books right now.   I wish the original post was referring to another project and this was coincidental :)

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1 hour ago, MJLO said:

I don't see this being confined just to the triangle.  That wouldn't make much sense.  There are plenty of examples of buildings that cantilever over streets like Louis.  Hotel lobby and valet under it, covered parking across the street.  

I do not see this happening.  There is a need for hotel space downtown,  aside from the finance aspect they would need a flagship brand like Hilton or Marriott.   I don't see (fill in the name downtown hotel monopoly) letting this happen without a behind the scenes fight.  

 

Yes, It cantilevers over Louis. 

Nope, It's a Hilton.   

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Do the boundaries of the HPC extend to this lot? It's in the same general vicinity of the Fulton Ottawa ramp and the Venue tower (which have no historical significance), unless the lines are all crazy at that intersection. 

EDIT: Just read that triangle of Louis falls in the historic district. The only thing historic about that sliver is that it's a prime example of urban renewal. ;)

I don't know why Hinman would have to make it "look historic" x99?! It sounds like an issue of height, probably setbacks etc. I worked in the top floor of 38 W. Fulton (San Chez) and I can't imagine they could fight that it is ruining sight lines. And with Gallery on Fulton, can't they argue the bar has already been set relatively low in a historic area?

Also, why the heck wouldn't they do it if they thought they can make the numbers work.  Isn't that what all real estate investors do? Hinman has owned this land a long time, and a large building (not quite this large, but 17-20 stories) has always been floated around.

I can imagine that they could argue that the parking lot is at the end of it's useful life (much like they do the lot at Division). I have to imagine this is a pretty old ramp and a little tight by today's standards (I've driven a car in that lot and thought I was going to scrape my roof on the ceiling. Can't imagine a monster SUV). 

A little disappointed that it is mainly residential (was hoping it was a sign of a bigger office tenant coming downtown). I don't want to kill the momentum of some of the smaller infill buildings in the works (or totally over-saturate the market in one spot). I've always said it's the interaction with the street level that counts as opposed to a few towers that are self-contained. Agree on some of the hotel projects that have been coming "any second now" for years. If they can break ground first, they win. :) 

Joe

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57 minutes ago, urbanland said:

Yes, It cantilevers over Louis. 

Nope, It's a Hilton.   

Wow that's interesting. Does this spell trouble for the double branded hilton in Monroe North? Or yet another Hilton brand?

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1 hour ago, GRDadof3 said:

Wow that's interesting. Does this spell trouble for the double branded hilton in Monroe North? Or yet another Hilton brand?

It shouldn't necessarily cause trouble for the Monroe North hotel.  I'm pretty certain Hilton pulled the flagship moniker off of the now Double Tree by the airport because they wanted their flagship in the trendy core.  They have been looking for a more strategic location for the brand.  The Homewood Suites and the Hampton in Midtown are also Hilton Brands.  I do think Downtown can sustain both the MoNo dual brand project and this one.  At 10 floors you're not talking an over glut of rooms.  The current downtown inventory is in demand, usually booked solid.

Again the part that seems intangible to me is the 30 floors of residential apartments.  That would be a crap ton more of apartments.  I suppose if they break ground quickly they could be competitive.  I'd be worried that it would cause 616 to scale back on their 140 million dollar project by the arena, which I think is pivotal.  I'd love to see this get built though, I'd love to see the current concept.  I wonder if they chose the 40 floor threshold because of profitability maybe?  20 stories wouldn't be enough to make the investment worthwhile?  I need to learn more about how all of that works.  After I reviewed some of Hinman's portfolio I realized they are a lot bigger than I thought.  This would definitely be the most ambitious project they've done.  That location is ideal for a project like this so they have that going for them.  That building would be a bridge between the entertainment district, and the rest of downtown. 

I do feel we are going to see a scale back or an abandonment of a few of the more ambitious projects that have come out lately. 

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8 hours ago, MJLO said:

It shouldn't necessarily cause trouble for the Monroe North hotel.  I'm pretty certain Hilton pulled the flagship moniker off of the now Double Tree by the airport because they wanted their flagship in the trendy core.  They have been looking for a more strategic location for the brand.  The Homewood Suites and the Hampton in Midtown are also Hilton Brands.  I do think Downtown can sustain both the MoNo dual brand project and this one.  At 10 floors you're not talking an over glut of rooms.  The current downtown inventory is in demand, usually booked solid.

Again the part that seems intangible to me is the 30 floors of residential apartments.  That would be a crap ton more of apartments.  I suppose if they break ground quickly they could be competitive.  I'd be worried that it would cause 616 to scale back on their 140 million dollar project by the arena, which I think is pivotal.  I'd love to see this get built though, I'd love to see the current concept.  I wonder if they chose the 40 floor threshold because of profitability maybe?  20 stories wouldn't be enough to make the investment worthwhile?  I need to learn more about how all of that works.  After I reviewed some of Hinman's portfolio I realized they are a lot bigger than I thought.  This would definitely be the most ambitious project they've done.  That location is ideal for a project like this so they have that going for them.  That building would be a bridge between the entertainment district, and the rest of downtown. 

I do feel we are going to see a scale back or an abandonment of a few of the more ambitious projects that have come out lately. 

It's 30 floors but a relatively small footprint. Sort of like the Venue tower or River House, you might only be able to get 6 or 8 units per floor (and even less as you add larger units up higher) which would probably be 250 at the most.

Maybe we're all too pessimistic and every one of these projects can be sustained. :) 

I have heard of people abandoning plans to do a job transfer here because of lack of housing supply. 

Also, sidenote, the tower portion of the theater project was part of a phase 2. That might be 5 - 7 years down the road, while the rest is being finished up. 

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6 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

Maybe we're all too pessimistic and every one of these projects can be sustained. :) 

I have heard of people abandoning plans to do a job transfer here because of lack of housing supply. 

That.  And there were those projections that we will need to add how many units downtown to meet demand over the next decade?  Last I recall, we weren't even coming close to that.  I've a hunch all of them can do well, other circumstances willing.

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MIBiz.com wrote "The documents did not list an architecture firm for the project.". Any anyone know who the architect is?

I like what you're saying GRDad - it is a narrow lot, wonder how many apartments will fit per floor. Also, they said the hotel was 100,000 sq. ft. but I wonder how many rooms it'll have. If your projections are true (250 apartments?), I don't think this would flood the market, which in my opinion would make this a win-win-win. 

I wonder how much of a setback this building could have (not much, it would seem). I wonder if that'll be an issue. 

Can't wait to see the renderings! Really intrigued with that they'll do to cantilever this across Louis (which I would love to see happen).

Joe

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12 minutes ago, MJLO said:

So it does seem as if it will be mostly confined to the triangle lot.  I wonder what the cantilever portion will be.  Is the word that they will tear down the MNB garage and build something to accommodate this?

27264235324_3e5e458468_n.jpg

27264234594_8b6e908dfd.jpg

Nice find. It doesn't quite look like the obelisk I thought it would. 

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So far so good...the triangle (or "pizza" shape) will make it pretty unique.  Like others were saying, with that small a footprint I don't see it flooding the market with rooms or apartments. Basically a similar model to Plaza Towers but probably 1/4 the width.  Hope this goes up - seems like they're big enough to pull it off.

I was searching for more info online, but I guess I didn't look in the right place.  =)

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Flatiron_crop.jpg

 

Grand Rapids very own Flatiron Building.

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1 minute ago, GRDadof3 said:

Nice find. It doesn't quite look like the obelisk I thought it would. 

No, and it looks like they might have actually used at least some degree of structural cladding all the way up. I'll reserve judgment until I see a rendering.  

12 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

I don't know why Hinman would have to make it "look historic" x99?! It sounds like an issue of height, probably setbacks etc. I worked in the top floor of 38 W. Fulton (San Chez) and I can't imagine they could fight that it is ruining sight lines. And with Gallery on Fulton, can't they argue the bar has already been set relatively low in a historic area?

Because judging by the allowed infill, no one would have any clue that this is a historic district.  It's an "anything goes" district, judging from the drive down Division.  Something like Gallery did incalculable amounts more damage to the historic fabric of Heartside than even the cheapest, ugliest, and nastiest piece of vinyl siding could ever hope to do.  

For comparison sake, here's an elevation of the NYC Flatiron: 

c-flatiron-windows-01.jpg

You could add 150 feet to that building and it's just as compatible with everything else around it at the time, which wasn't really any taller than Grand Rapids is now.   But turn it into a glass tower and it's quickly an incompatible eyesore that stands out like a bad tie on a nice suit.

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It's not the 1920s any more. Some buildings look old, some are glass towers. Nothing wrong with glass towers. Many look nice.

 

You have to get over yourself. 

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