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Sligh Furniture Block Redevelopment


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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 current tenants. Does anyone know what the current tenants pay per square foot? It seems like their battle cry is based on a ton of inaccurate, or convenient information. A few things that really annoy me about this:

1. They're scared that the building will be torn down, yet the developer is looking to restore it and get the building designated on the National Register. 

2. They say 200 "micro businesses" will be put out of business, yet the main tenants are benefitting from low sq. footage costs, and then charging the micro businesses for booth space (I would imagine, at a cheap rate because they're rent is lower being in a distressed property (where, as a frequent visitor, I'm always pondering if it's truly up to code (giant metal sheets that spans suspect areas of floors, shoddy electrical). 

3. There are other antique stores (one of my favorites is Eastown Antiques) that are in a good location, yet seem to make the same business model work. They seem to curate their collections a bit better (as opposed to the everything and the kitchen sink approach of say,  Warehouse One, which almost claustrophobic), or Lost and Found, which is wide open, great to browse, but definitely benefits from the 30,000 sq. feet of (what has to be) cheap real estate. 

I feel like their rally cry is really "keep the status quo so we can rent cheap space". I'd love to hear from the people behind this page to figure out what they really want. It doesn't seem like they are going about it in a very genuine way.

This one perplexes me as I am a fan / shopper at these stores. But I'm having a real hard time with their messaging. :)

Joe

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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

I was reminded to check in on the people that are in opposition to this project, and hooooooly cow have they gone off the deep end since even last month. Good lord, this is actually a post from the pe

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57 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

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 current tenants. Does anyone know what the current tenants pay per square foot? It seems like their battle cry is based on a ton of inaccurate, or convenient information. A few things that really annoy me about this:

1. They're scared that the building will be torn down, yet the developer is looking to restore it and get the building designated on the National Register. 

2. They say 200 "micro businesses" will be put out of business, yet the main tenants are benefitting from low sq. footage costs, and then charging the micro businesses for booth space (I would imagine, at a cheap rate because they're rent is lower being in a distressed property (where, as a frequent visitor, I'm always pondering if it's truly up to code (giant metal sheets that spans suspect areas of floors, shoddy electrical). 

3. There are other antique stores (one of my favorites is Eastown Antiques) that are in a good location, yet seem to make the same business model work. They seem to curate their collections a bit better (as opposed to the everything and the kitchen sink approach of say,  Warehouse One, which almost claustrophobic), or Lost and Found, which is wide open, great to browse, but definitely benefits from the 30,000 sq. feet of (what has to be) cheap real estate. 

I feel like their rally cry is really "keep the status quo so we can rent cheap space". I'd love to hear from the people behind this page to figure out what they really want. It doesn't seem like they are going about it in a very genuine way.

This one perplexes me as I am a fan / shopper at these stores. But I'm having a real hard time with their messaging. :)

Joe

It feels like their desperation is creating some real bad communication, including mischaracterizing the proposed development, motivations of people in the city government (I actually saw a post where they said that too many gay people are involved in these businesses, so people want them out), etc.  They're going to squander what goodwill people have for them very quickly.  

MANY years ago, there was a similar (same?) bunch of antique dealers (booths) in Lowell (Flat River Antique Mall), then some of them migrated to Bridge St., and moved around a bit til they wound up at Sligh.  I suspect they'll unearth another suitable building, undoubtedly without the same historic character though.  People love these shops and will support them as they move...  

 

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Agreed. They also knew redevelopment was coming (hence, the premature announcement a few years back that they were moving to Godfrey). I also think there are a few big warehouses that might be convinced to offer flexible, short term leases on space. But if they treat developers poorly (one of the main people involved in the FB group called the developer a "NYC trust fund baby who doesn't give a crap about GR"), I don't think they'll get anyone to offer up space.

I think of spaces like this as transitional, somewhat like artist or band space. You know it isn't going to last forever, but it's cheap while it lasts (side note: my brother was in a band and they paid $200 to rent the entire top floor of what is now the Landmark Lofts on Sixth and Monroe. Best views of the city (at the time), but they also knew it wasn't going to last forever and didn't start a campaign to save the space. LOL). 

Just a lot of bad information coming out of this group. Like: 

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-04-26 at 4.12.31 PM.png

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It's especially amusing/aggravating to see them trying to align themselves with the progressive urbanist crowd. Replacing antique stores with housing is a progressive win.

I love those stores, but my shopping experience shouldn't come at the expense of housing.

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In Grand Rapids, it seems, do we  end up with a "save a building" campaign started to keep a shabby building shabby for no other reason other than to enjoy some cheaper rent and lowed expectations when it comes to appearances on the part of the tenants.

These guys are seriously trying to behave as if they are part-owners of this building, and should have veto power over this project, and are hiding behind IMO dishonest reasons.

Quote

Do we really deserve to be strapped with generic 450 share foot boxes? Is this what the future holds for our community? There is a better way forward.

There is no "community" here. You are renting space for your stores, and have had years knowing that this building was development bait (at one point there was talk of a casino there), and should have planned accordingly. 

 

How about looking into the Baker Furniture building by Ann St.? Combine your stores and resources and take out space there. It would be a far better experience than what they have now.

-Larger space

-Geared for retail as it was once a place to sell stuff

-Plenty of parking

-Safer location

-Better views

-Nearer to higher income  arears 

-Easy highway access

-Close enough to DT, but not so close that the site, or at least the Baker Showroom portion will befall the same fate of becoming apartments anytime soon.

-It's currently EMPTY (hint: CHEAP)

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On 4/26/2021 at 2:46 PM, joeDowntown said:

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 current tenants. Does anyone know what the current tenants pay per square foot? It seems like their battle cry is based on a ton of inaccurate, or convenient information. A few things that really annoy me about this:

1. They're scared that the building will be torn down, yet the developer is looking to restore it and get the building designated on the National Register. 

2. They say 200 "micro businesses" will be put out of business, yet the main tenants are benefitting from low sq. footage costs, and then charging the micro businesses for booth space (I would imagine, at a cheap rate because they're rent is lower being in a distressed property (where, as a frequent visitor, I'm always pondering if it's truly up to code (giant metal sheets that spans suspect areas of floors, shoddy electrical). 

3. There are other antique stores (one of my favorites is Eastown Antiques) that are in a good location, yet seem to make the same business model work. They seem to curate their collections a bit better (as opposed to the everything and the kitchen sink approach of say,  Warehouse One, which almost claustrophobic), or Lost and Found, which is wide open, great to browse, but definitely benefits from the 30,000 sq. feet of (what has to be) cheap real estate. 

I feel like their rally cry is really "keep the status quo so we can rent cheap space". I'd love to hear from the people behind this page to figure out what they really want. It doesn't seem like they are going about it in a very genuine way.

This one perplexes me as I am a fan / shopper at these stores. But I'm having a real hard time with their messaging. :)

Joe

"micro-business." lol. Is someone trying to hock their junk at an antique store considered a microbusiness now? 

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What these stores (and most antique store) do is offer booth space that they rent out (maybe a 8x10' or 10'x10' area). So the "micro businesses" consist of the people that rent booth space. The issue with that is that many of these people have booths at multiple antique stores. 

It still grinds me that they're shouting about the fairness and "gentrification" going on, when it really comes down to losing below market rate space that they don't have a long-term lease on. And they've known for years that this building was in the crosshairs of redevelopment. They knew how this story would end. 

It's a bummer to get displaced. But that's the risk you take when you rent distressed space with short-term leases. I don't even understand why this is a "movement".

Joe

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1 hour ago, joeDowntown said:

What these stores (and most antique store) do is offer booth space that they rent out (maybe a 8x10' or 10'x10' area). So the "micro businesses" consist of the people that rent booth space. The issue with that is that many of these people have booths at multiple antique stores. 

It still grinds me that they're shouting about the fairness and "gentrification" going on, when it really comes down to losing below market rate space that they don't have a long-term lease on. And they've known for years that this building was in the crosshairs of redevelopment. They knew how this story would end. 

It's a bummer to get displaced. But that's the risk you take when you rent distressed space with short-term leases. I don't even understand why this is a "movement".

Joe

Eh I get their perspective, it's going to be a burden for them and they've enjoyed that low profile cheap space for so long.  Human beings by nature will always be inherently self serving.  Fortunately the vast majority of the community doesn't want to look at a giant decaying warehouse on the southside of downtown no matter how much victimhood they decry.

They make a NIMBY for everything.  You can remove dirty underwear that's been lying in the street and there's someone out there that would have an emotional collapse over it's removal.  Overall I think we've been pretty lucky in GR, the development has been in under utilized or vacant spaces, and any resistance has been largely ceremonial.   

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20 hours ago, MJLO said:

Eh I get their perspective, it's going to be a burden for them and they've enjoyed that low profile cheap space for so long.  Human beings by nature will always be inherently self serving.  Fortunately the vast majority of the community doesn't want to look at a giant decaying warehouse on the southside of downtown no matter how much victimhood they decry.

They make a NIMBY for everything.  You can remove dirty underwear that's been lying in the street and there's someone out there that would have an emotional collapse over it's removal.  Overall I think we've been pretty lucky in GR, the development has been in under utilized or vacant spaces, and any resistance has been largely ceremonial.   

Plus, from what I've seen, these owners are a couple of white, middle aged gay dudes. And many of their supporters are middle class white people. They're hardly an "oppressed minority" in Grand Rapids anymore. lol.   (ie it's pretty hard to claim gentrification in these circumstances). In fact, I'm fairly certain that a majority of the hispanic community along Grandville supports this redevelopment project. 

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On 4/26/2021 at 7:23 PM, GR_Urbanist said:

-It's currently EMPTY (hint: CHEAP)

Unless it was very recently emptied, it's used as a sort of warehouse space by many different companies, all leasing a section of the floor for warehousing storage. At least the first floor. The rest I think is empty.

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On 5/1/2021 at 3:02 PM, Allison Slater said:

Unless it was very recently emptied, it's used as a sort of warehouse space by many different companies, all leasing a section of the floor for warehousing storage. At least the first floor. The rest I think is empty.

I've heard the majority of the building is not used and not even heated. 

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I used to have a studio on the second floor. Had a lot of fun. Had all sorts of neighbors, people doing wood shop stuff across the hall, photography, sewing/clothing, a band played/practiced late a night. I grab a founder growler and just hang out.  Anyway the one I had and the others I was in all had a ceiling garage heater that you could use. They had a community bathroom in down the hall and a cool old freight elevator. I may still have a key ha

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I was reminded to check in on the people that are in opposition to this project, and hooooooly cow have they gone off the deep end since even last month. Good lord, this is actually a post from the person running the FB page to save their cheap rent:

Quote

This project sucks, done by a bunch of old people who won't even be around in the next 20 years.
This project sucks, sucks, sucks!

THIS PROJECT IS GARBAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One person even said this:

Quote

I expect this will change the face of the city even more drastically, and displace even more families than the Studio Park project.

Note: Studio Park was built on a parking lot.

I know that over the years we've witnessed some serious NIMBY's, but I honestly think this is the most bizarre display of cognitive dissonance we've ever seen! From what I understand, the city is thankfully ignoring these people because they honestly are just becoming out-of-line, and deranged.

Do they also not know that they have closed their own shops already by behaving like this? The owner of this building, in the remote chance they scuttle this, will rightfully jack up the rent on everyone that participated to the sky, putting them out of commission or bankrupting them.

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34 minutes ago, GR_Urbanist said:

From what I understand, the city is thankfully ignoring these people because they honestly are just becoming out-of-line, and deranged.

Do they also not know that they have closed their own shops already by behaving like this? The owner of this building, in the remote chance they scuttle this, will rightfully jack up the rent on everyone that participated to the sky, putting them out of commission or bankrupting them.

 

quixotic.jpg

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55 minutes ago, GR_Urbanist said:

I was reminded to check in on the people that are in opposition to this project, and hooooooly cow have they gone off the deep end since even last month. Good lord, this is actually a post from the person running the FB page to save their cheap rent:

One person even said this:

Note: Studio Park was built on a parking lot.

I know that over the years we've witnessed some serious NIMBY's, but I honestly think this is the most bizarre display of cognitive dissonance we've ever seen! From what I understand, the city is thankfully ignoring these people because they honestly are just becoming out-of-line, and deranged.

Do they also not know that they have closed their own shops already by behaving like this? The owner of this building, in the remote chance they scuttle this, will rightfully jack up the rent on everyone that participated to the sky, putting them out of commission or bankrupting them.

I sure am glad I quit Facebook. :) They are seriously detached from reality. Every argument I've seen has been ridiculous. First the fight was about saving the building (it will be restored and put on the National Historic Register), then people complained about too much housing (who would live in these small units?!), then they complained about displacing families (there is no residential at the planned development site). 

The Studio Park comment just makes me chuckle. 

I said this from the start, these store owners knew that tens of thousands of square feet in cheap rent wasn't going to be tenable long term. They say they are a mecca for people traveling from all over the US. Doesn't that kind of kill their argument that they can only survive on Century? Unless it's only about the cheap rent.

This is all about cheap rent. Everything else is a smoke screen.

They missed a real opportunity to reach out to other building owners and potentially make a good move to a new building (probably with a set timeline as these buildings are disappearing). But I doubt another landlord will be overly accommodating. 

I used to buy stuff at these stores pretty regularly (4-6 times a year), but will definitely take my business elsewhere.

Joe

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Every time I  see bat shit crazy tripe like that I always want to challenge the people who say it.  It's so easy to ask them what families were displaced from the lot 4 and 5 parking lots lol.  Then I realize that they likely have some type of emotional/chemical imbalance that makes them that way to begin with, and they will likely just get more crazy and amped up to shut me down.  So I just stay quiet and wait for them to burn themselves out. 

 

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On 5/12/2021 at 3:23 PM, MJLO said:

Every time I  see bat shit crazy tripe like that I always want to challenge the people who say it.  It's so easy to ask them what families were displaced from the lot 4 and 5 parking lots lol.  Then I realize that they likely have some type of emotional/chemical imbalance that makes them that way to begin with, and they will likely just get more crazy and amped up to shut me down.  So I just stay quiet and wait for them to burn themselves out. 

 

That's exactly right. You give them an opportunity to voice their concerns and they generally burn out. It's when you fight them that others stand up for them and it ignites a larger feud. 

You can't win with these people so you just let them go.

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On 5/15/2021 at 8:48 AM, GRDadof3 said:

You can't win with these people so you just let them go.

This line reminds me of a line from Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation.  Our family is constantly quoting lines from this classic.  Cousin Eddie introduces Clark to his Rottweiler Snots.  Then Eddie leans over to Clark and says, "A word of warning though.  He has a little bit of Mississippi Leg Hound in him.  Once he starts in on your leg, its best to just let him go."

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