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Sligh Furniture Block Redevelopment


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Moved this into its own thread as I think we'll be discussing it a lot in the future (and don't want to overwhelm the Wealthy Street thread).  Looks like a site plan review is on the planning com

I quit Facebook a while back, but heard about this group from reading an article on WOODTV: https://www.facebook.com/savethesligh/ It's interesting to read, as it's obviously organized by cu

This project was approved. It pretty much fit the zoning for this area so it was mostly a technicality without much of a fight. 

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51 minutes ago, TheLonesomeHobo said:

I’d be really bummed if Warehouse One ceases to exist, that place is an absolute gem.

Pretty sure that many of the tenants were planning to move to a building on Godfrey a few years back? I think they know the building is going to get renovated at some point soon and I thought they had some cool plans (coffee shop, etc). Wonder if that plan is still in progress? I agree, Warehouse One and Lost and Found are great!

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I don't have time to take screenshots of everything, but it was sitting right under our nose in the meeting agenda packets (I actually looked at the city commission agenda this morning, but didn't look at this). There's some other good info in the packet:

http://grandrapidscitymi.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=4544&Inline=True

 

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That packet isn’t showing up for me, so here are some images pulled from it.

They’re going to demolish the 1950s concrete addition and renovate the historical portion of the building. That renovation includes repainting the Sligh Furniture signage, and fixing the windows and exterior. 

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In total, the site will have 753 units, 614 parking garage spaces and about 23,000 square feet for retail. Height will still be the same; up to seven stories. No word on how much the rent will be.

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A lot of complaints on Facebook about the loss of the antique shops. And calls to "fight." The developers plan on adding retail, why wouldn't the antique shops inquire into reopening in the new retail spaces? 

Those antique shops constitute probably 50,000 square feet, tops? Out of a 620,000 sf building? I think it's cool to have that collection of businesses there but at the opportunity cost of a big vacant building surrounded by vacant parking lots... when the city is experiencing a housing shortage. 

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The need for the housing, renovation, and development here far outweighs any of that. I mean, seriously. People complain about the lack of housing in the area and then you have people, almost certainly in the same circle, want to fight this because they may lose where they can (but rarely) buy high-priced antique clothes and knick-knacks? GRD is right that they may just actually have space for one or some of them to relocate. With upwards of over 1000 people tomorrow (compared to 0 today), living next to your store, they could actually stand to gain a massive amount of customers by being in a cleaner, and more organized space.

 

Then you have people even complain about the size of the apartments. 475 sq. ft. is nothing to scoff at. There are tons of videos of people that have done amazing things with apartments like this. Microunits were created because younger people wanted them specifically because they were smaller and cheaper as they wanted to live their lives more outside and close to city attractions. It isnt meant to be a place for a married couple + 3 kids.

 

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I figure if you're leasing a space you should be doing it with the understanding that it's not yours forever and may be called upon to adapt. That really should be a given about leasing. So trying to fight when that happens just seems to me like blaming someone else for one's own short-sightedness and lack of preparedness.

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The problem with antique stores (especially the ones in that building) is they need a lot of inexpensive space (those stores are massive). So to make it work, they’ll need to move to another building that is habitable, but not fixed up.

Also, like @GR_Urbanist mentioned, these places could probably shrink there size by curating their collection a bit better.  Some of the spaces are a bit of a disaster with “stuff” thrown everywhere.  Most of these places sublet space (booths), so the fact that they find vast amounts of cheap space is part of the business model. 

I’m sure the building would rent space to as many of these places as possible. I doubt they could make the numbers work with the renovated space. I bet they’ll figure it out (note: I love these places and frequent them often, so not a case of I don’t care because it’s not my thing). 

Joe
 

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7 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

The problem with antique stores (especially the ones in that building) is they need a lot of inexpensive space (those stores are massive). So to make it work, they’ll need to move to another building that is habitable, but not fixed up.

Also, like @GR_Urbanist mentioned, these places could probably shrink there size by curating their collection a bit better.  Some of the spaces are a bit of a disaster with “stuff” thrown everywhere.  Most of these places sublet space (booths), so the fact that they find vast amounts of cheap space is part of the business model. 

I’m sure the building would rent space to as many of these places as possible. I doubt they could make the numbers work with the renovated space. I bet they’ll figure it out (note: I love these places and frequent them often, so not a case of I don’t care because it’s not my thing). 

Joe
 

Yeah, apparently Lost and Found has 60,000 square feet, and has a myriad of vendors. Sounds like they are just paying "maintenance fees" and not true rent. There's no way they'll be able to find 60,000 square feet for as little as they're probably paying now. 

Sounds like the building owner has been slowly non-renewing other tenants in the building.  Getting this from the Lost and Found owner who is posting info on Facebook posts about this project. 

Sad but it's the reality. 

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On 3/12/2021 at 9:41 PM, Cookin_peacocks said:

My boss (a lurker and big fan of this stuff as well) and I were talking about how exciting this would be for a dead area of downtown and how it would really boost the south side of the city center. This is absolutely massive.

I agree.  There is quite a bit of developable land in the area.  Eikenhout, the train station, Wolverine Printing, etc.

I don't think DTE will move any time soon as they just did a ton of upgrades.  Founders will probably hold on to their surface lots.

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The work at DTE was primarily environmental cleanup. The DTE properties are the site of the coal gasification plant for the original gas street lights  downtown.  The original gas piping system  for  the city starts there so there's lots of underground gas infrastructure there.

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18 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

Getting this from the Lost and Found owner who is posting info on Facebook posts about this project. 

I asked him probably 2 years ago about the potential relocation to Godfrey and he said it was a possibility but not 100% sure. While it does suck to have a sweet deal on rent taken away from you, this was nowhere near a surprise.

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Knowing that these types of businesses will need to probably need to take on shorter term leases / locate in spots that could be renovated a couple years down the road, I wonder if buildings like the Baker Furniture Building, Display Pack, etc. might be options (although maybe it's less hassle for the development companies to just keep them in mothballs? Heck, the Keeler Building could make a pretty nice antique store downtown (short-term).

Joe

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10 hours ago, grandrollerz said:

Rogers department store on 28th would be perfect

Isn’t that an office building now? Can’t remember the company, but didn’t a company leave downtown (above San Chez) for that building?

Joe

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19 hours ago, Pattmost20 said:

I asked him probably 2 years ago about the potential relocation to Godfrey and he said it was a possibility but not 100% sure. While it does suck to have a sweet deal on rent taken away from you, this was nowhere near a surprise.

Are you referring to 655 Godfrey?  I believe the same company that is redeveloping the Century warehouse recently purchased this as well.

I used to work in the 655 Godfrey building and did quite a bit of exploring.  It's a really cool building and the view of downtown from the roof is awesome!

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25 minutes ago, Floyd_Z said:

Are you referring to 655 Godfrey?  I believe the same company that is redeveloping the Century warehouse recently purchased this as well.

Looks like you're correct.   They must have some plans for the Godfrey property in the not so distant future then.  Otherwise you would think they would offer up space to the Antique Row stores for the time being.  Sure they probably want a more permanent home, but being bounced around is the price for cheap rent I guess.

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2 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

Isn’t that an office building now? Can’t remember the company, but didn’t a company leave downtown (above San Chez) for that building?

Joe

Advantage Sales and Marketing moved there. Basically a call center from what I understand. 

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1 hour ago, GreatLakesPrintShop said:

Looks like you're correct.   They must have some plans for the Godfrey property in the not so distant future then.  Otherwise you would think they would offer up space to the Antique Row stores for the time being.  Sure they probably want a more permanent home, but being bounced around is the price for cheap rent I guess.

I think their end goal is to redevlop all the properties they purchased into something similar as the Century property, which would be awesome!

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2 hours ago, Floyd_Z said:

Are you referring to 655 Godfrey?  I believe the same company that is redeveloping the Century warehouse recently purchased this as well.

I used to work in the 655 Godfrey building and did quite a bit of exploring.  It's a really cool building and the view of downtown from the roof is awesome!

Yes, I thought that was mentioned as the plan a while back. They put up a sign that reads "Heritage Marketplace." I thought I read on here a few years back that was where they were planning on relocating the antique stores to.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Moved this into its own thread as I think we'll be discussing it a lot in the future (and don't want to overwhelm the Wealthy Street thread). 

Looks like a site plan review is on the planning commission agenda for April 22nd. Hopefully we see more details!

Joe

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