joeDowntown

Heritage Hill / Cherry Hill / Wealthy Street Updates

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On 11/19/2018 at 10:07 AM, GRDadof3 said:

That church has been for sale for a couple of years I believe? Not too bad of a price but to turn it into something like residential would be pricey. 

https://mls.carwm.com/listing/30181466/200-Madison-Ave-SE-Grand-Rapids-MI-49503

It has no parking whatsoever.  Not even a single, lonely space.  They would be doing well to clear a quarter million.  The old Christian Scientist church had a huge parking lot, and it went for, what--$600k or something (for continued use as a church)?  Since this is in a historic district, it's unusually difficult to repurpose something like this.  I cannot imagine what anyone would ever do with this.  I'm a little afraid to find out.

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1 hour ago, x99 said:

It has no parking whatsoever.  Not even a single, lonely space.  They would be doing well to clear a quarter million.  The old Christian Scientist church had a huge parking lot, and it went for, what--$600k or something (for continued use as a church)?  Since this is in a historic district, it's unusually difficult to repurpose something like this.  I cannot imagine what anyone would ever do with this.  I'm a little afraid to find out.

But if you look at the link Morris provided you will see that it is up for auction with a starting bid of only $10,000.  So it looks like they are ready to accept much less than the listed price.  (Although by the rules of the auction the seller can reject the high bid.)

MORRIS LINK - the auction

EDIT: and besides, Janet Jackson never got married in the Christian Science Church. 

Edited by walker
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Maybe this is one of those buildings where part will have to be sacrificed in order to make it usable.

 

Take out the 1948 expansion, and let a modern one story addition with a parking deck on top. I know that's blasphemy, but this is simply a very bad bet for any future development as it is.

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15 hours ago, wmrharris said:

That Janet Jackson wedding would have been when the building was occupied by Bethel Pentecostal.

Yes, this was Rev. William Abney’s church at the time before Bethel Pentecostal moved to the larger church building on Lake Dr.  If you look closely you can see his signature is on the certificate too.  He is the uncle of all the singing DeBarge kids.   He is also the Abney that started the Abney Academy.   

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20 hours ago, Pattmost20 said:

The links not working for me. Any photos?

Oh it's probably her personal page. I don't have any. Looks like a retro Colorado mountain lodge. Hang on..

Opens next wednesday

 

FB_IMG_1542822016156.thumb.jpg.eba50babe4885a6ae486be4f9e4ae802.jpg

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20 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

Oh it's probably her personal page. I don't have any. Looks like a retro Colorado mountain lodge. Hang on..

Opens next wednesday

 

FB_IMG_1542822016156.thumb.jpg.eba50babe4885a6ae486be4f9e4ae802.jpg

Very cool! Excited to check it out.

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Not as big a deal as the Ramblewood sale in the burbs but the Waters House Apartments on East Fulton has changed hands for the first time since it was built in 1961.  It was built by Chris Sarafis who was a big name in real estate around here in the fifties and sixties.  The Sarafis family has held on to it ever since.  Sarafis also developed the Waters Tower Apartments (now condos) directly to the south on College.  His daughter, Eileen Sarafis, was a very good and very popular pop and jazz singer around West Michigan in the sixties and seventies. 

MIBIZ: family owned apartment building near downtown gr sells for 10.25 million

Maybe you are wondering where the water is if it’s called the Waters House Apartments.  There’s no water, it was built on the estate of Mr. Dudley Waters whose actual house (really a mansion) still stands behind the Waters House Apartments and to the east of Waters Tower condos.

1849566933_WatersPicture1.png.a3bd6390b52f953b5b67dd99c7f82562.png

Since I dropped a celebrity factoid in this thread a few posts ago, here’s another one for this post: Jerry Ford’s mother lived her last years in the Waters House Apartments in a nice but relatively modest apartment at the far south end of one of the wings.  When I was eighteen, I worked for a small grocery store in Eastown called Norwoods that delivered.  I delivered groceries to her.  This was in 1965.  Of course, Ford was only a congressman then.  

Edited by walker
fixed typo
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10 hours ago, walker said:

Not as big a deal as the Ramblewood sale in the burbs but the Waters House Apartments on East Fulton has changed hands for the first time since it was built in 1961.  It was built by Chris Sarafis who was a big name in real estate around here in the fifties and sixties.  The Sarafis family has held on to it ever since.  Sarafis also developed the Waters Tower Apartments (now condos) directly to the south on College.  His daughter, Eileen Sarafis, was a very good and very popular pop and jazz singer around West Michigan in the sixties and seventies. 

MIBIZ: family owned apartment building near downtown gr sells for 10.25 million

Maybe you are wondering where the water is if it’s called the Waters House Apartments.  There’s no water, it was built on the estate of Mr. Dudley Waters whose actual house (really a mansion) still stands behind the Waters House Apartments and to the east of Waters Tower condos.

1849566933_WatersPicture1.png.a3bd6390b52f953b5b67dd99c7f82562.png

Since I dropped a celebrity factoid in this thread a few posts ago, here’s another one for this post: Jerry Ford’s mother lived in her last years in the Waters House Apartments in a nice but relatively modest apartment at the far south end of one of the wings.  When I was eighteen, I worked for a small grocery store in Eastown called Norwoods that delivered.  I delivered groceries to her.  This was in 1965.  Of course, Ford was only a congressman then.  

Nice history! I've always liked the Waters House with all of its brick chimneys sticking up in the air. Is it used for residential or office now? 

https://goo.gl/maps/kbD2AhGo9Ko

I had to look up what the Waters family did again:
http://waterscenter.com/history/

 

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I have friends who lived there up until ~12 months ago. They were very pleased with the owners. Hope the new owners maintain the same level of service.

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On 11/21/2018 at 12:25 PM, GRDadof3 said:

New restaurant The Commons is open in Oakwood Manor. Rachael Ruiz checked it out, looks pretty cool and retro.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10217369456057972&id=1521001641

Well, I just found their menu on Facebook and it looks like they've got avocado toast.  Wasn't sure if I should post this here or in the People Talking about Grand Rapids thread:

FACEBOOK: Commons Menu   

WOODTV says they serve seventies comfort food but other than cheeseburgers I don't see much else I ate in the seventies on the menu:

WOODTV: grand-rapids/grand-rapids-restaurant-serves-up-70-s-feel-comfort-food

Edited by walker
for typo as usual

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1 hour ago, walker said:

Well, I just found their menu on Facebook and it looks like they've got avocado toast.  Wasn't sure if I should post this here or in the People Talking about Grand Rapids thread:

FACEBOOK: Commons Menu   

WOODTV says they serve seventies comfort food but other than cheeseburgers I don't see much else I ate in the seventies on the menu:

WOODTV: grand-rapids/grand-rapids-restaurant-serves-up-70-s-feel-comfort-food

The only restaurants we went to in the 70's were Big Boys, and that was a fancy night out. ;) I bet this will be better. 

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The spot The Commons in occupying is the former office before Oakwood was purchased. I lived there a couple years between 11 - 13, it’ll be interesting to see if this takes off because prior to the current renovations of the front drive of the building it was always a very awkward space to access even as a tenant. Curious if curstomers have open access to the front door (which you’d need a key / access code for) or if you can only access through the west side old office entrance.

 

Edit: as a chef, after reviewing this menu it strikes me as putting an attempted old touch on menu items you can find across Grand Rapids easily these days. Granted, I wasn’t alive in the 70’s but I’ve seen a lot of rehashed versions of these items frequently throughout the west Michigan culinary scene / especially GR. I’m not ever one to insult other establishments, but this honestly feels like a feeble attempt at originality.

Edited by TheLonesomeHobo

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8 hours ago, TheLonesomeHobo said:

The spot The Commons in occupying is the former office before Oakwood was purchased. I lived there a couple years between 11 - 13, it’ll be interesting to see if this takes off because prior to the current renovations of the front drive of the building it was always a very awkward space to access even as a tenant. Curious if curstomers have open access to the front door (which you’d need a key / access code for) or if you can only access through the west side old office entrance.

 

Edit: as a chef, after reviewing this menu it strikes me as putting an attempted old touch on menu items you can find across Grand Rapids easily these days. Granted, I wasn’t alive in the 70’s but I’ve seen a lot of rehashed versions of these items frequently throughout the west Michigan culinary scene / especially GR. I’m not ever one to insult other establishments, but this honestly feels like a feeble attempt at originality.

This is the door into the restaurant, if that helps. It does seem like they were trying to create a certain "ambience" first and foremost and then backfill with food.  

47060083_10156638673945619_8111787191585

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13 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

The only restaurants we went to in the 70's were Big Boys, and that was a fancy night out. ;) I bet this will be better. 

Bill Knapp's?

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1 hour ago, ProtoSapien said:

There was always the Dutch Big Boy otherwise known as Russ'.

LOL we didn't have those in Lansing. 

More pics of The Commons:

http://www.grnow.com/grand-new-the-commons-brings-retro-flair-to-grand-rapids/?fbclid=IwAR3t_f-SNiLL59O9f9gLNtYamQ052fkohvG_g5BlBBP1z3Nk77WTuK2-zVs

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On 11/29/2018 at 1:04 AM, TheLonesomeHobo said:

The spot The Commons in occupying is the former office before Oakwood was purchased. I lived there a couple years between 11 - 13, it’ll be interesting to see if this takes off because prior to the current renovations of the front drive of the building it was always a very awkward space to access even as a tenant. Curious if customers have open access to the front door (which you’d need a key / access code for) or if you can only access through the west side old office entrance.

You’re right that in recent years Oakwood had their offices there but for most of the building's existence there have been restaurants in that space.  Here’s a list of the restaurants I just found: T.J. Benedict, Bit of Europe, The Heritage Room, Oakwood Manor Buffet, Cecil's Buffet, and Oakwood Manor Cafe.  Never went there but I think Cecil’s Buffet was pretty popular back in the fifties and early sixties.  The same owner had another popular restaurant, Cecil’s Ranch House, out on West River Dr. where Shots on the River is now. 

This story has nothing to do with the new Commons restaurant that I’m sure will be great.  However, I had the most uneatable meal I ever had in that location in 1981 when I believe it was the Bit of Europe restaurant.  By uneatable I don’t mean it tasted bad, I never got that far.  I ordered their cordon bleu chicken.  I couldn’t get a knife in it.  It was rock solid.  I think at one point it slipped off the table as I struggled to cut it.  I have no idea what they did to it to make it like that.  All I can figure is that it was some kind of frozen entrée from some wholesaler like Sysco and they didn’t follow the cooking instructions on the box.  Didn’t pay for it of course and never went back.    
 

Edited by walker
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13 minutes ago, GVSUChris said:

I love when they blame maintenance...

 

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Hoping someone swoops in fast and opens a new restaurant. It is a great building and location.

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