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joeDowntown

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Thought I'd start a new thread as I'm sure we'll be talking a lot about this soon. There's a public meeting about this project on Wednesday.

Some interesting information about this project:

  • 336,835 gross square feet, 10 stories (120’) + 421 Division Street surface area of ~6100
  • Market-rate residences comprising of micro (studios), one bedroom and two bedrooms
  • 37,985 square feet commercial/retail on street level below residences
  • 22,500 square feet food hall, our strategic partner Freedom Street Social
  • 9,044 square feet lower-level retail, potential micro brewery
  • 100 underground parking spaces

Freedom Street Social (https://freedomstreetsocial.com/) currently has a location in Denver, CO (looks pretty cool). The "food hall" will be designed to compliment, not compete, with the Downtown Market and will provide job opportunities in the area. Microbrewery space on lower level of food hall; most likely separate entrance for when food hall is closed.

Housing amenities include a swimming pool, fitness facility, dog washing stations, etc. 

 

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I got to be honest, I'm REALLY excited for this project. That's an underserved area and I hope that this could help jumpstart that corner and the nearby areas. I wish it was bigger (less studios, more multi room units) and thus, higher. But I'm nitpicking. Between this and studio park bookending that stretch, I hope it spurs more development.

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The parcel will need to be rezoned in order for this to happen.  Hopefully they will rezone it, I think they would catch a lot of grief if they didn't.  What's the deal with the four story limit outside of downtown?  They need to just do away with that.  There are buildings taller than four stories outside of DT, were those built before the new zoning?

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I don't think they'd let zoning get in the way, since they are well short of the number of housing units targeted for downtown (plus, the general shortage of housing). 

I forget what the limits are. It changes from area to area, and there are bonus heights for certain uses. Within reason, I doubt height would be an issue unless it really infringes upon the immediate neighborhood (16 story building in a neighborhood full of ranches :))

Joe

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18 hours ago, Jonesey said:

What's the deal with the four story limit outside of downtown?  They need to just do away with that.

Yes.

18 hours ago, Jonesey said:

 There are buildings taller than four stories outside of DT, were those built before the new zoning?

Yes

15 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

I forget what the limits are.

Four stories is the upper limit everywhere but CC, and 2.5 (35ft) is the limit almost everywhere else.   And four stories is the limit only as of 2021 - previously it was three, and the fourth+ floor was a bonus.   They made that change the same time they allowed ground floor residential in

The current ordinance very stingy about height.

15 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

and there are bonus heights for certain uses

Even the Planning Dept will confess that those are rarely, if ever, user.  The bonus system is a political performance.

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22 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

 

Freedom Street Social (https://freedomstreetsocial.com/) currently has a location in Denver, CO (looks pretty cool). The "food hall" will be designed to compliment, not compete, with the Downtown Market and will provide job opportunities in the area. Microbrewery space on lower level of food hall; most likely separate entrance for when food hall is closed.

 

The food hall concept is pretty cool; I've been wondering when/if we would get something like that here. There are quite a few in Denver that I've visited, and most were associated with a brewery/bar(s) where you would purchase drinks and get food from the food vendors separately. It is similar to the market in some ways, but the focus is entirely on food and beverage. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
30 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

Looks like the planning commission will review the plan on October 27. They want a big reduction in number of required parking spaces.

https://mibiz.com/sections/real-estate-development/10-story-downtown-gr-development-would-include-432-apartments-food-hall-retail

I feel like this project is getting fast tracked, or has been in the pipeline for a while without it being noticed. 

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This just reminded me of something. Is the McConnell going where "Spectrum Industries" is now located?

If they are no longer going to be there, then what becomes of the large surface lot across the street? According to Mlive back in 2017, the city paid to build the lot, but they are just leasing the land from the company.

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29 minutes ago, GR_Urbanist said:

This just reminded me of something. Is the McConnell going where "Spectrum Industries" is now located?

If they are no longer going to be there, then what becomes of the large surface lot across the street? According to Mlive back in 2017, the city paid to build the lot, but they are just leasing the land from the company.

Yes on the first part. No idea on the second. I'd imagine the city buys that and hopes to develop it in the future

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On 10/12/2022 at 12:49 PM, GR_Urbanist said:

According to Mlive back in 2017, the city paid to build the lot

This is accurate;  they only a couple of months ago renewed the lease / operating agreement.

On 10/12/2022 at 1:19 PM, Cookin_peacocks said:

but they are just leasing the land from the company.

I don't understand what the question is.  When the lease ends, if the owner chooses not to renew it, the owner does whatever they want with it.

On 10/12/2022 at 10:03 AM, joeDowntown said:

They want a big reduction in number of required parking spaces

There's ample parking available; but I thought they needed to rezone the property to CC, which means it will next go the City Commission if the Planning Commission is favorable.  If rezoned to CC that significantly changes the parking requirements.

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  • 1 month later...

This project was approved. My only concern is what did they approve? Does this mean it can be a terrible looking building, or do they have to go through further approvals?  Love the density, concerned about the actual look of the building (hopefully concerned about nothing):

https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2022/11/10-story-apartment-building-food-hall-approved-for-downtown-grand-rapids.html

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Quote

 

“The thing that’s going through my mind is that there is a full neighborhood of black and brown folks right over here, and so when I see and I hear this project, I just see and I hear gentrification,” said Planning Commissioner Lawrence Williams.

“I just feel like there’s a whole lot of black and brown folks who are going to be priced out of this neighborhood and will be driven from this neighborhood.”

 

 

Sigh....Dont go there, Williams. What "neighborhood" is he even referring to?

I honestly think some of these guys would rather the area remain in an undeveloped and run-down state. That whole stretch needs maximum gentrification, because what it is currently isnt much to write home about, and the units are desperately needed if GR is going to remain competitive.

Thankfully the city commission didn't let that sway the vote, as well as not holding to that silly 5 story limit.

Quote

“The community needs an accessible and affordable grocery store or food market not another high-end market,” the association said.

Unfortunately, current conditions isnt going to make establishing a grocery here a priority to serve people with a low income or are homeless. That is why you need developments like this so a critical mass of people with some money to spend will cover the bills so the benefits of a grocery can then extend out from there.

We really need to be thankful anyone is still building, especially down there!

 

Now we hold our breaths and pray that this thing doesn't look hideous...

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On 11/21/2022 at 9:54 AM, GR_Urbanist said:

 

Sigh....Dont go there, Williams. What "neighborhood" is he even referring to?

I honestly think some of these guys would rather the area remain in an undeveloped and run-down state. That whole stretch needs maximum gentrification, because what it is currently isnt much to write home about, and the units are desperately needed if GR is going to remain competitive.

Thankfully the city commission didn't let that sway the vote, as well as not holding to that silly 5 story limit.

Unfortunately, current conditions isnt going to make establishing a grocery here a priority to serve people with a low income or are homeless. That is why you need developments like this so a critical mass of people with some money to spend will cover the bills so the benefits of a grocery can then extend out from there.

We really need to be thankful anyone is still building, especially down there!

 

Now we hold our breaths and pray that this thing doesn't look hideous...

I honestly don't understand how people can argue this as gentrification. This building is replacing not housing, but emptiness. Yes this area has a lot of Black people living in it, but that doesn't displace them with this addition.

If the development adds only market-rate apartments and nothing else, then I can see an argument, but even then, it's a big stretch.

Can't wait to see it in color and what it looks like.

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20 hours ago, Zads said:

If the development adds only market-rate apartments and nothing else, then I can see an argument, but even then, it's a big stretch.

The development is only market-rate. It does offer a variety of options, and in my opinion, micro units open up the income levels a bit (probably single people or young couples).

I did find the comment a bit odd as it's pretty much vacant, industrial, or existing housing units (Baker Lofts, Klingman Lofts) which fall under the category of affordable. I'm sure the bigger concern is that this starts to push development south and east, which could cause gentrification in the future. But to me, that's a somewhat weak argument (or one that can/should be addressed separately. 

If this development breaks ground, as well as the development on Century, that's going to be a massive increase in housing south of Wealthy. Add in the Studio Park development, and it starts to build a critical mass of people (maybe Meijer needs to open another Bridge Street type store on the south side). :)

Joe

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51 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

If this development breaks ground, as well as the development on Century, that's going to be a massive increase in housing south of Wealthy. Add in the Studio Park development, and it starts to build a critical mass of people (maybe Meijer needs to open another Bridge Street type store on the south side). :)

This also creates some urgency to the redesign of 131 and bringing Wealthy down to grade. 

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On 11/23/2022 at 9:43 AM, Khorasaurus1 said:

This also creates some urgency to the redesign of 131 and bringing Wealthy down to grade. 

down to grade as the same level as 131? or below? That does not seem to be the problem there but rather the left sided ramps and narrow on wealthy and 131. If it were redone so its wider everywhere for better pedestrian access and no left side ramps, that would solve most issues but taking to same grade as 131 which would be a major downgrade from an expressway requiring a traffic light on 131 would make traffic a lot worse 

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4 hours ago, GR8scott said:

down to grade as the same level as 131? or below? That does not seem to be the problem there but rather the left sided ramps and narrow on wealthy and 131. If it were redone so its wider everywhere for better pedestrian access and no left side ramps, that would solve most issues but taking to same grade as 131 which would be a major downgrade from an expressway requiring a traffic light on 131 would make traffic a lot worse 

What? LOL. Don’t know if it’d be an expressway with a traffic light. :)

They are exploring making wealthy at grade, with the expressway going over top (bridge). They’re also exploring what needs to be done with all of the entrances/exits along that stretch. You can find that discussion somewhere on the forum   

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14 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

What? LOL. Don’t know if it’d be an expressway with a traffic light. :)

They are exploring making wealthy at grade, with the expressway going over top (bridge). They’re also exploring what needs to be done with all of the entrances/exits along that stretch. You can find that discussion somewhere on the forum   

Here's the 131 discussion: 

There's definitely no plan to put traffic lights on 131. But right now it goes under MLK, over the tracks, under Wealthy, and over Cherry, and probably has too many exits/entrances, which makes it dangerous for drivers and creates literal walls for pedestrians.

Elevating it continuously and removing some ramps would allow more connections underneath and safer driving above. The big question is which ramps to keep and how to align them.

Also, removing the big Wealthy overpass would restore intersections at Wealthy/Commerce and Wealthy/Century, which is really important given the hundreds of new residents in the projects proposed near those intersections.

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I do not think there is any concrete solution to this. Wealthy being brought down I just dont think will make the area more active or connected with the other side as there is really nothing there connect to outside of some dingy buildings, the blank back side of the GR Ballet building and Founder's block long parking lot.. All pushing 131 up does is create this massive shadowy area underneath for this street to run under. Removing on/off ramps I'm not sure will do much either.

All of the options will cost a lot of money, with no real return to justify spending on it.

 

The ONLY thing I can see is a tunnel starting at the Amtrak station and going over to the DT Market. And even that is likely going to be massively expensive.

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6 hours ago, GR_Urbanist said:

I do not think there is any concrete solution to this. Wealthy being brought down I just dont think will make the area more active or connected with the other side as there is really nothing there connect to outside of some dingy buildings, the blank back side of the GR Ballet building and Founder's block long parking lot.. 

This is all predicated on those dingy buildings being redeveloped as currently proposed.

I agree that every solution other than tunneling the freeway will have the major flaw of .... the freeway existing in the first place. But that's not changing.

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