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Speaking of Arcadia Flats, it officially opened to students on Monday, January 4. I coincidentally just saw this on MLive after my earlier post. Virtual classes resume on January 11.

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Move-in begins at Western Michigan’s new student housing facility
By Kayla Miller | MLive
January 05, 2020

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The newest student housing option on Western Michigan University’s campus is open and filling with residents this week. Arcadia Flats Apartments opened to residents on Monday, Jan. 4, and students are moving in their belongings this week, WMU spokesperson Paula Davis said. The new student housing complex, estimated to cost $62 million, takes the place of Elmwood Apartments, which were built in 1954 and demolished in June 2018. The new building is a six-story, 197-unit residential facility that will house up to 353 students...

 

These are very sharp looking residences that will make practically every other on-campus housing option blush (with the exception of the still fairly new Hall-Archer-Pickard residences) -

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2021_01_05_Kalamazoo_WMU%20Arcadia%20Fla
Source: MLive | Joel Bissell

Edited by deja vu

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Haven't walked around Kalamazoo in a while... here's a few photo updates from today -

Harrison Circle Apartments, already topped out. That's the beauty of prefabricated construction -
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Graphic Packaging's massive industrial expansion. The road is closed and monitored, so I could only catch this slice of it -
2021_01_10_Kalamazoo_Graphic%20Packaging

180 E Water St. / Haymarket Plaza -
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Bonus - the new Portland Loo, adjacent to 180 E Water St -
2021_01_10_Kalamazoo_180%20E%20Water%20S

No one ever shows pictures of the inside. But I tried it out. Remarkably clean so far. I don't know how they keep the toilet water from freezing. Maybe the bowl is heated :shrug:
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2021_01_10_Kalamazoo_Portland%20Loo%202.

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Our own little slice of the Little Caesar's HQ -
2021_01_10_Kalamazoo_180%20E%20Water%20S

Construction work is ongoing for the restaurant that will replace Zazios (in the Radisson) -
2021_01_10_Kalamazoo_Zazios%20Replacemen

Home2 Suites -
2021_01_10_Kalamazoo_Home2%20Suites.jpg?

The ghost of 302 Academy -
2021_01_10_Kalamazoo_302%20Academy.jpg?r

Last, and least importantly, the new Chick-fil-A, at the corner of West Main & Drake. This opens on 1/14/2021, and it is the first one in Kalamazoo City, and only the second in the region (one opened in Portage a few years ago). There are already people in line (kidding, but probably won't be long). Police are planning to be on hand to direct traffic -
2021_01_10_Kalamazoo_Chik-fil-A%20West%2

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With Arcadia Flats officially open and the new student center & dining facilities under construction, demolition work promptly began on WMU's Draper and Siedschlag Halls yesterday. The complex was built in 1950, meaning it served in its roll as residences & dining services for over 70 years. Eventually, new student housing and other university facilities will be built here as Western continues to aggressively pursue its "Hilltop Village" Capital Project, which will completely transform the entire southern portion of the main campus. WMU's facilities maintenance website already has the dorms noted as razed in 2021.

These photos are from yesterday and today, via Instagram - 

2021_01_13_WMU_Draper-Siedschlag%20Halls
Source: Instagram | @facilities_wmu

2021_01_13_WMU_Draper-Siedschlag%20Halls
Source: Instagram | @facilities_wmu

2021_01_13_WMU_Draper-Siedschlag%20Halls
Source: Instagram | @facilities_wmu

2021_01_14_WMU_Draper-Siedschlag%20Halls
Source: Instagram | @facilities_wmu

Here's the concept images for the Hilltop Village Capital Project -

Kalamazoo_WMU_Hilltop%20Village%20Render

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Kalamazoo_WMU_Hilltop%20Village%20Render
Source: WMU


Not too far away, locals successfully purchased 11.8 acres of wooded land adjacent to WMU's Kleinstuck Preserve in October 2020, effectively preserving it from the possibility of commercial development (which was seeming more and more likely). Their successful land acquisition effectively increases the natural area of the existing 48 acre preserve to almost 60 acres of land in the Westnedge Hill neighborhood.

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'Keep Kalamazoo Wild' effort purchases and hopes to maintain woodland next to Kleinstuck Preserve
Al Jones | Second Wave Media-Southwest Michigan
January 12, 2021

An organization of nature lovers and area residents has signed a deal to purchase 11.8 wooded acres adjacent to the Kleinstuck Preserve, one of Kalamazoo's largest land preserves. In doing so, it is on track to safeguard more open space for wildlife and casual family recreation and try to live up to its rallying slogan, "Keep Kalamazoo Wild...”

 

2021_01_12_Kalamazoo_Stewards%20of%20Kle
Source: Second Wave Media | Nate Fuller

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Chik-fil-A Grand Opening - Thursday, 01/14/2021 -

I must say, they did a good job keeping congestion off of W. Main. But at one point, I saw the car line extending all the way through the adjacent Westwood Plaza parking lot, down to Cold Stone. Probably 50 - 60 cars. My hope is that once the hype settles down, this Chik-fil-A will alleviate some of the congestion at Popeyes across the street, where cars will sit on W. Main with their hazards on, as well a the traffic at the Portage Chik-fil-A location. Probably not though -

2021_01_14_Kalamazoo_Chik-fil_A%201.jpg?

2021_01_14_Kalamazoo_Chik-fil_A%202.jpg?
Source: Instagram | @treystarinc

I spotted this fuzzy rendering of the new Milwood Kalsee Credit Union that will be built at the corner of Portage and Cork. I don't mind the funky architecture but I will really miss the mid-century fire station building that they are demolishing to make way for this.

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Source: Instagram | kalseecu

This was a little surprise - apparently Treystar is remodeling the second floor of 151 E Michigan Ave. They call it the Monroe Building, but I know it has the former Kalamazoo Savings Bank building. I don't know what they're planning to do with the first floor, which currently serves as the field offices for CSM Group's CD-12 / 180 E. Water St. crew. Presumably they will do a lot of interior wall partition demo to open up the floor area similar to the second floor -

2021_01_02_Kalamazoo_The%20Monroe%20Buil
Source: LinkedIn | Treystar

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Kalamazoo_The%20Monroe%20Building%20Prop
Source: Treystar

Treystar is also apparently remodeling the atrium in the Main Street East building, which they've already "remodeled" several times in the recent past. It looks like this attempt is a little more involved though - new paint, some accent flooring, new furnishings, and perhaps new railings and accent lighting at each level -

2021_01_02_Kalamazoo_Main%20Street%20Eas
Source: LinkedIn | Treystar

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New transition housing to serve Battle Creek's homeless population has been announced. The project would include a new 55-unit housing development on the empty lot at 535 W Van Buren St. The project is still in the "early phases" of development. A recent survey concluded that Calhoun County had more 1,100 homeless -

Housing-first development in Battle Creek will be a 'game-changer' for homeless population


Elena Durnbaugh | Battle Creek Enquirer
January 12, 2021

An empty lot on West Van Buren Street could soon be the site of a new, 55-unit housing development. UPholdings, an affordable housing development and management company, is partnering with the City of Battle Creek and the local Continuum of Care to develop a permanent supportive housing community to help get people facing homelessness into housing...

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Here's a fun little "Topping Out Ceremony" video for Harrison Circle Apartments. It's very Kalamazoo / Midwest in every respect - the grey skies, the corny music, the grit, the niceness, the resident stray cat in the job trailer... just watch it, it's short! If this doesn't make you smile...

Bonus: there's a brief (but impressive) shot of the city skyline at 0:14 seconds -

2021_01_21_Kalamazoo_Skyline%20Screensho

Edited by deja vu

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MLive shared some more photos provided by WMU of their Arcadia Flats residence. You can view all of the photos here. I filtered out a few interior views. The lofted units are particularly interesting -

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Source: MLive | WMU

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This is barely worth posting, but I just thought I'd submit it as a contestant for the city's "smallest building addition" award. Water Street Coffee Joint (Oakland Drive location) is getting a new drive-through (likely triggered by COVID-19). That small wedge is literally the entire addition - maybe 50 SF total -

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2021_01_22_Kalamazoo_Water%20Street%20Co
Source: Instagram | @waterstreetcoffee

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There are four recently posted & active site plan review applications for Kalamazoo. Two are pretty small, and are on the docket for February 03, 2021 - Sunrise Park (1628 E. Main) and 1709 Fraternity Village. The third one - 924 Russell - is the new Edison Environmental Science Academy, and it is on the schedule for February 10. Lastly, a site amendment to Graphic Packaging's massive, ongoing "Project Bronco" at 1810 N Pitcher is on the schedule for February 17.

Sunrise Park is the first real, physical manifestation of the ongoing Eastside corridor improvements that have been discussed previously. It will be a small urban park at the corner of East Main and Edwin Ave. There will landscaping & hardscaping features, including outdoor dining tables, bike racks, and artwork -

2021_01_08_Kalamazoo_Sunrise%20Park%20Si


1709 Fraternity Village has been posted about before. This is the new Frat House proposed near WMU. There are some building elevations included in the site plan packet. It's very - meh -

2021_01_08_Kalamazoo_1709%20Fraternity%2


924 Russell is the site of the planned Edison Environmental Science Academy. The academy currently exists on this site, in a grouping of variously-aged academic buildings that are past their prime. This is actually a pretty exciting project, because it will redevelop the entire block, bounded by Jackson St., Russell St., Lake St., and College Ave. in the Edison neighborhood. The district's old bus garage and bus lot is located on the west half of the site and it will all be removed (KPS recently completed a new transportation facility off of Ravine Rd.). A new 2-story elementary will be constructed. It is a big investment for the district and the neighborhood; part of the ongoing 2018 Bond improvements (nearly $100 million total) -

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1810 N Pitcher St. (GPI) is seeking approval for site plan amendments. Though I can't discern exactly what for, it seems related to egress, site access, and fire lanes. The 31 page packet includes plans, elevations, and a rendering that I hadn't spotted before. The rendering is dated 11/04/2020 - I'm glad to see there is more to this than just a big metal box. It looks like there is actually a decent amount of office / administrative space included -

2021_01_20_Kalamazoo_1810%20N%20Pitcher%

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The framing for the Home2 Suites pedestrian bridge is going up fast. This connects  the new hotel to the office building across Eleanor St. at 245 - 251 N. Rose St. which houses office space for PNC and Regus (co-working space). I don't really know the reason for the new connection, although it's always fun for Kalamazoo to get another skybridge.

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Ascension Borgess' new Oncology Center -

2021_01_26_Kalamazoo_Borgess%20Ascension

2021_01_26_Kalamazoo_Borgess%20Ascension
Source: LinkedIn | AVB


New Oakland Drive Office Building (south of Parkview, near Woods Lake Elementary) - 

2021_01_28_Kalamazoo_Oakland%20Drive%20O
Source: LinkedIn | AVB

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Harrison Circle Apartments - a few days ago -

2021_02_03_Kalamazoo_Harrison%20Circle%2
Source: LinkedIn | AVB


Bronson's Frank J. Sardone Cancer Pavilion is officially open. While some final touches are still being made, the center began seeing its first patients on Monday, February 01. Hot on its heels, Ascension Borgess' cancer center is scheduled to open in September 2021 -

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Demolition of WMU's Draper and Siedschlag Halls is pretty much complete (that was quick) -

2020_02_02_Kalamazoo_WMU%20Draper%20and%
Source: Instagram | @facilities_wmu


The site plan review application is in to convert the former Laing's TV repair shop and an adjacent, vacant office building into a new Whitley Memorial Funeral Home. A new addition will be built in-between the two existing structures to connect them. A new funeral home isn't the most exciting thing to post about, but it will bring "new life" to these old commercial storefronts -

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Source: Google Maps

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Source: City of Kalamazoo | Intersect Studio / Hurley & Stewart


The City Commission has approved funds to reconstruct and rehabilitate a stretch of Portage Street, from E. Michigan Ave. to Stockbridge Ave. This work is badly needed, and it will further strengthen the connections that are forming between the developing Edison / Washington Square area and the east end of downtown -

Quote

Kalamazoo City Commission approves $5M Portage Street project


Brad Devereuax | MLive
February 02, 2021

2021_02_02_Kalamazoo_Portage%20Street%20
Source: MLive | Google Maps

 

Night skyline shot from the top of Prospect Hill (my photo) - 

2021_01_31_Kalamazoo_Night%20Skyline.jpg

 

Last, but not least, Kalamazoo City and Kalamazoo County are locked into a race against the ongoing homelessness epidemic in the city. The local governments are frantically trying to find better housing solutions for the area's disproportionate homeless population. A few different things are in the mix. First, the County tried to purchase the shuttered Lakeside Academy campus. But at the moment, they have lost out to a private developer. Although the developer has similar plans for transitional housing, the County is now considering using eminent domain to take the property -

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Second, the City has started relocating people from outdoor homeless encampments to the Knights Inn Motel on South Westnedge Ave.. This is in unison with the LIFT Foundation, the new owner of the property, which intends to convert the low-end motel into transitional housing. They are moving the homeless now (ahead of the extensive planned renovations), because of the single-digit temperatures predicted, the lack of room at homeless shelters, the fact that they are encamped on private property, and a recent, damaging propane tank fire that compromised one of the encampments -

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Third, construction is now visibly progressing on the Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries new Women & Children's Shelter. Steel erection for this new 3-story addition is moving along, and there is a live construction camera where you can see the progress - 

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Source: Youtube

EDIT: Fourth, the City just erected a temporary warming shelter near the homeless encampment on Mills Street. They got it put up yesterday, just as the snow started to fall -

2021_02_05_Kalamazo_Mills%20St%20Warming

2021_02_05_Kalamazo_Mills%20St%20Warming
Source: Instagram | @kalamazoocity

Edited by deja vu

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Richland (Gull Lake) -

This restaurant - South Kitchen - just opened in November 2020 in the small, unincorporated community of South Gull Lake (Ross Township). You can see it under construction on Google Maps, here. Gull Lake is historically (and currently still) home to some of the wealthier families and pricier real estate in Michigan. It is home to the W.K. Kellogg Manor House (now owned by MSU). It is north of, and partway between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.

November 2020 was probably about the worst timing ever for a new restaurant opening, but the menu looks amazing - from their website:

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Low like the part of the country where time seems to slow as you cross the Mason-Dixon Line.  Low, like the puttering shrimp boats as they come off the horizon after a long day.  Low, like the hum of a gospel choir as they set the chord for the song to take wind.  

This is where it all starts...Low & from the heart.

 

It's projects like this that usually slip under the radar but contribute a whole lot to a locale's sense of identity and place. The owners also operate the nearby Chicken House and Kitchen House restaurants in Richland. They re-opened at 25% capacity for in-person dining on February 02. This is some of my favorite genre of food, and I am looking forward to getting take out from here soon.

November 24, 2020 - "Opening Day" -
2020_11_24_Richland%20%28Gull%20Lake%29_
Source: Facebook | South Kitchen

Interior - Bar Area -
2020_11_28_Richland%20%28Gull%20Lake%29_
Source: Facebook | South Kitchen

Interior -
2020_12_11_Richland%20%28Gull%20Lake%29_
Source: Facebook | South Kitchen

Edited by deja vu

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1. Eastside Zoning Changes

A public hearing is scheduled for tonight at the regular City Commission meeting for the proposed zoning changes in the Eastside Neighborhood. If you'll recall, the changes are centered mostly around the goals of increasing housing options, supporting a greater variety of businesses, and promoting walkable development, through the implementation of new Live-Work zones -

2021_02_12_Kalamazoo_Eastside%20Neighbor
Source: City of Kalamazoo


2. Inventory Kalamazoo 2022

The city's Historic Preservation Commission plans to re-launch its city-wide resources survey this spring, after COVID-19 stymied efforts to begin last spring. The goal is to conduct a reconnaissance level historic resource survey of every single property and parament structure within the city limits, estimated at around 24,000 resources. This will be no small feat, and they are relying on the help of numerous volunteers. It has been two decades since the last survey, and that one only evaluated about half of the buildings.

Inventory Kalamazoo 2022


3. Farmer's Market Improvements

The city is seeking public comments for its planned improvements to the existing farmers market on Bank St. The aging structures have become quite popular with vendors, and they need more space. The Parks & Recreation Department, which oversees the farmers market, plans to apply for multiple grants soon, and there will be an Advisory Committee Board meting on Tuesday, March 2, at 5:30pm that the public is invited to attend. Improvements under consideration include a new restroom / storage / office building, new / updated covered vendor booths, new parking, and a fruit and vegetable-themed playscape.


4. Southwest Michigan First New CEO Named

Lee Chatfield, former Republican Speaker of the House for Michigan, has just been named as the successor to Ron Kitchens for Southwest Michigan First. I have mixed feelings about this. Lots of people have strong feelings about Lee from his time in politics (which, like most things in politics right now, felt quite polarizing). I think he might meet with a lot of resistance in Kalamazoo, which is quite liberal, compared to where Lee is from (Northern Michigan - Levering - Emmett County) and compared to much f the rest of southwest Michigan too. Lee admits himself that he has little professional experience in economic development. He's already stated that one of his first priorities will be carrying on the push for the new event center in downtown Kalamazoo. 

Quote

 

Former GOP House Speaker Lee Chatfield named new CEO of Southwest Michigan First
Kate Carlson | MiBiz
February 11, 2021

KALAMAZOO — Former Republican Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield has been named CEO of Southwest Michigan First, the economic development agency announced Thursday. Chatfield is replacing Ron Kitchens, who resigned from the CEO role on Jan. 15 after 15 years to accept a similar position in Alabama. Managing Partner Carla Sones served as the interim CEO of the organization while the organization conducted a national search to replace Kitchens...

 

 

Edited by deja vu

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EDIT to #4, above: On Monday, Kalamazoo City Commissioners voted unanimously to sever ties and terminate their membership with Southwest Michian First, based on their hiring of Lee Chatfield -

Quote

Kalamazoo commissioners cancel membership with Southwest Michigan First over CEO selection

Brad Devereaux | MLive
Updated February 16, 2021; Posted February 15, 2021

Southwest MI First's response on Instagram effectively saying nothing, except that it sounds like they plan to stick by their decision, at least for now. Several have also noticed that they updated their nondiscrimination policy, after he was hired and the backlash started.

And it looks like the county might not be far behind the city's decision - this is getting interesting - they allocate $75K to the organization each year -

Quote
Edited by deja vu

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Some random Kalamazoo updates -

Home2 Suites opens this May. Here's a sneak peak of their typical room - nothing too special, but looks nice and fills a gap in the market in downtown -
2021_02_16_Kalamazoo_Home2%20Suites%201.

2021_02_16_Kalamazoo_Home2%20Suites%202.
Source: Instagram | @home2kzoo

Structural steel is going in for the atrium stair at WMU's new Student Center & Dining Facility. I bet those steel shop drawings were fun to produce & review!
2021_02_16_Kalamazoo_WMU%20Student%20Cen
Source: Instagram | @wmubuild

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A historic & proud day unfolding in Portage & Kalamazoo - 

Quote

It's exciting to read that the massive planned manufacturing expansion is back on-track too!

 

UPDATE: Some photos from the day -

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: MLive | Joel Bissell

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: MLive | Joel Bissell

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: MLive | Joel Bissell

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: MLive | Joel Bissell

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: MLive | Joel Bissell

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: MLive | Joel Bissell

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: WWMT | Lexie Petrovic

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: WWMT | Lexie Petrovic

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: WWMT | Lexie Petrovic

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: WWMT | Lexie Petrovic

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: MLive | Joel Bissell

2021_02_19_Portage_President%20Biden%20a
Source: MLive | Joel Bissell

Edited by deja vu

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The s*** is really starting to hit the fan for Southwest Michigan First. More stories of prominent community organizations pulling their funding / memberships, plus a prominent board member resignation - all over the economic development organization's recent hiring of Lee Chatfield for its new CEO -

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Battle Creek -

Clark Construction Company recently posted an update video of the new interior concourse & Nibi Restaurant at Firekeepers Casino. All of that metal framing.... madness! I took some screen grabs too - the video resolution was low -

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Source: LinkedIn | Clark Construction Company


Kellogg Company just announced its opening of a new, 40,000 SF Design Studio at its Institute for Food & Nutrition Research (aka WKKI). 

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This follows the 2019 opening of the new Kellogg Center for Culinary Innovation, housed in the same building. Both areas are a part of the company's "Innovation Suite", and this design studio represents the final piece. According to the article,

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...The new studio will further accelerate Kellogg’s ability to innovate and includes collaboration space reserved for innovation projects, a prototyping workshop and a virtual reality hub with floor-to-ceiling LED monitors so teams can see in 3D how innovations might come to life on actual store shelves. It is wired for remote collaboration so colleagues working from home and around the world can participate in projects virtually...

This is the only image that was provided -

2021_02_19_Battle%20Creek_Kellogg%20Comp
Source: FSR Magazine | Courtesy Kellogg Company

Edited by deja vu

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