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GVSU Downtown Development


GRDadof3

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GVSU reaches deal with owners (MLive)

...For 4 million dollars, or an additional $1.7 million over the last offer. Not bad for Mr. DeVries. I don't think GVSU really wanted to move on eminent domain that badly.

I think the eminent domain threat was more to give DeVries a kick in the pants and get him to stop dickering so that things could move forward. I'm just glad something will happen with that eyesore on our major downtown highway. One question: Does GVSU inherit obligations vis a vis the cell phone tower on the roof?

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... One question: Does GVSU inherit obligations vis a vis the cell phone tower on the roof?

On the UP tour of Waterworks Place a few years back, the messrs DeVries indicated that the cell tower lease has a termination clause. It was designed to provide temporary cash flow. If the building will be torn down, the tower will come down first. If GVSU somehow decided to rehab the building, the tower will come down first.

Presumably the lawyers have contacted the tower owner (starts with a "V") and advised them that they need to inform their subtenants of the site's pending removal.

The company I worked for (starts with an "A") is installed atop Plaza Towers. AFAIK that is not a temporary structure. When my RF engineer asked, "why can't we go on there?" meaning the cell tower building's monstrosity, I answered, "because I live here."

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That's the DeVries' plan. That rendering won't happen.

GVSU hired Bobby Stern. Something is out there. I suspect it won't be very long...

"RAM Stern," as he is known in the trade? Very impressive. Stern has become something of the house architect as the University of Michigan, designing both the Ford School and North Quad. Not exactly at the sharp end of modernism, but he has a way with historicism.

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That's the DeVries' plan. That rendering won't happen.

GVSU hired Bobby Stern. Something is out there. I suspect it won't be very long...

Ah yes, the article today says the building will be demolished.

Stern has some nice projects in their portfolio. Let's hope we don't get a dud for such a high visibility site.

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The ironic thing is that it's for the business school. The first thing you learn is to "buy high, sell low," right?

Yeah, plus a lighter D*V** vault could spell less chance for endowments to fund other GVSU college buildings.

Don't want to get those geeky IT majors too upset :)

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Some of their academic stuff is actually incredibly attractive for "modern" designs. It's hard to tell if they got the minor details right, but the University of Kentucky Law School and the Harvard business school building are great in photos, as is the charter school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and many of the other designs. It's not just neo-traditional architecture, it's actually traditional architecture done right on the macro level. That is actually much more difficult to do than many architects would care to admit. Getting the details right is another matter (as the RDV HQ attests to), but all in all, this outfit certainly seems to have the capability to do nice work. But, then there's stuff like the Greenspun Hall, Park Center for Business, and the Smeal College of Business Adminstration, all of which are so heinously ugly that they are almost certain to have a very short shelf life. The "Green Grand Rapids" trend has me worried that we'll end with something that attempts to look "distinctive" and just winds up another GRAM disaster.

Ah yes, the article today says the building will be demolished.

Stern has some nice projects in their portfolio. Let's hope we don't get a dud for such a high visibility site.

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Some of their academic stuff is actually incredibly attractive for "modern" designs. It's hard to tell if they got the minor details right, but the University of Kentucky Law School and the Harvard business school building are great in photos, as is the charter school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and many of the other designs. It's not just neo-traditional architecture, it's actually traditional architecture done right on the macro level. That is actually much more difficult to do than many architects would care to admit. Getting the details right is another matter (as the RDV HQ attests to), but all in all, this outfit certainly seems to have the capability to do nice work. But, then there's stuff like the Greenspun Hall, Park Center for Business, and the Smeal College of Business Adminstration, all of which are so heinously ugly that they are almost certain to have a very short shelf life. The "Green Grand Rapids" trend has me worried that we'll end with something that attempts to look "distinctive" and just winds up another GRAM disaster.

You are right about some of those Stern projects: Smeal Hall is abysmal, and Greenspun Hall looks like a bad 1950s science fiction set. However, the buildings at Rice at U-M are quite nice, and intentionally weld modern structures into the campus "look." (I was especially impressed by the Jones Center at Rice, as those Ralph Adams Cram buildings are very distinctive.)

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You are right about some of those Stern projects: Smeal Hall is abysmal, and Greenspun Hall looks like a bad 1950s science fiction set. However, the buildings at Rice at U-M are quite nice, and intentionally weld modern structures into the campus "look." (I was especially impressed by the Jones Center at Rice, as those Ralph Adams Cram buildings are very distinctive.)

I cannot believe, after checking out their profile, nobody brought up the "Hotel Cheyenne, Walt Disney Company"

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Taking a second look, much of their "good" stuff seems to be aping existing designs on the campus. The Bed-Stuyvesant project I thought was nice was actually the original building. Oops. They just did the interior and a prison-grade addition. With U of M, the were doing the best they could to knock off the great Albert Kahn. They're nice buildings, but rather sterile. Spangler center at Harvard was also a knock off of existing buildings, but it looks pretty good. It still suffers from being plain and slightly out of proportion on a closer glance. I think much of the problem with a lot of these things is that the brickwork just doesn't look quite right. It ends up very flat and plain with no texture and with windows that are not adequately set back into the facade. Like GVSU and the RDV building, the design is good, but the execution and attention to detail isn't there. Hopefully they can get them both right in this project. Can it really be that tough to make a traditionally styled building look like it was actually built out of brick instead of faced in it? I think that's why many of these things look a little dissonant. The brick is not a structural component, but the eye wants to believe it is. When the architect fails to treat it in the manner of a structural component, the building doesn't feel quite right.

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  • 2 months later...

A giant white tent, complete with those walls that have the cheesy looking "windows," has been setup in the parking lot south of the former A&P warehouse since about Monday. Today it actually had tables in it. Looks big enough to seat 75-100 people pretty easily. I wonder if they are going to have an event related to the new building here? Perhaps a fundraising dinner? Not really sure, but maybe it means this is moving a step closer to breaking ground?

GRDad, I'm guessing you'll get one of your cranes back once they start serious construction.

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The plan is still to demolish the build and build new, right? I heard some folks at ArtPrize talking about how they're keeping it and renovating the building, which didn't sound right based on what I've read here. (And I hope renovation isn't the case. I'm not sure renovation of the building would be doing anything more than putting sparkles on faeces would do.) I'm assuming the people I heard were just misinformed.

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A giant white tent, complete with those walls that have the cheesy looking "windows," has been setup in the parking lot south of the former A&P warehouse since about Monday. Today it actually had tables in it. Looks big enough to seat 75-100 people pretty easily. I wonder if they are going to have an event related to the new building here? Perhaps a fundraising dinner? Not really sure, but maybe it means this is moving a step closer to breaking ground?

GRDad, I'm guessing you'll get one of your cranes back once they start serious construction.

Groundbreaking ceremony, I would assume. The building will only be 3 stories, so I'd assume it will just be a standard boom crane.

You must have read my blog. :whistling:

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Groundbreaking ceremony, I would assume. The building will only be 3 stories, so I'd assume it will just be a standard boom crane.

You must have read my blog. :whistling:

Sorry, not necessarily a "ground-breaking" but it is a formal event to announce the project and some new news about it. Construction expected to begin Spring 2011.

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Rendering. Using the same architect that did the Ford School at UofM.

5057231377_b1d4546082_o.jpg

Sorta blurry isn't it? Still, a Bobby Stern building is preferable to one by a state architect (see MSU dorms or almost any building at Central built after 1945). Good that the school will continue to be named for Bill Seidman, one of the founding fathers of GVSU and good that it is located in downtown GR.

It will interesting to see how Stern's team carries this off. While the Ford School at U-M is a little "academic" for my taste (yes, he ripped off Albert Kahn, but that's how Stern works), but I like the concept for North Quad.

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Sorta blurry isn't it? Still, a Bobby Stern building is preferable to one by a state architect (see MSU dorms or almost any building at Central built after 1945). Good that the school will continue to be named for Bill Seidman, one of the founding fathers of GVSU and good that it is located in downtown GR.

It will interesting to see how Stern's team carries this off. While the Ford School at U-M is a little "academic" for my taste (yes, he ripped off Albert Kahn, but that's how Stern works), but I like the concept for North Quad.

I find the center tower atrium section to be a bit odd. I think it's an attempt to see and be seen from downtown, but the boxy post-modern style seems to clash with the hipped roofs and classic archways of the rest of it.

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it looks like a mix of eberhard and devos buildings.. it looks pretty good but, i think it will look great when it is finished.. gvsu doesn't seem to skimp on dt buildings

lol they shouldve rendered it with the nasty expressway in the background....

lastly, this is going to radically change the visual experience of drivers on 131...

Edited by gvsusean
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Rendering. Using the same architect that did the Ford School at UofM.

5057231377_b1d4546082_o.jpg

Thanks for posting this. I think I like it. It definitely looks like it will tie in well with the rest of the downtown campus, at least design wise, if not geographically. :)

I wonder if the glass tower will be high enough above the freeway to offer a good view of downtown?

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Thanks GRDad. I think it looks nice overall - I even like the impressionist rendering style - but I agree about the boxy atrium.

It looks like a watchtower. Or Ford Airport.

Another thing the rendering illustrates: They should build something on top of the parking lot in the foreground, between Mt. Vernon and Front. Maybe not the whole lot, but something that will physically link this building to the dorms across the way. A new building like this will look odd by itself in the sea of asphalt.

Edited by RegalTDP
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