Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

joeDowntown

920 Cherry, ICCF/Blodgett Home and Fairmount Square

Recommended Posts

While the story is a bit old (mid-October), the project seems to have the greenlight. The D.A. Blodgett building was a spectacular building when built, but with a little "Urban Renewal" they ripped half of the facade off and replaced it with a 1950's square block of a building. Second Story Properties and Bazzani (two firms that are doing great things for "old" Grand Rapids) are ripping down the 1950's monstrosity and returning it to it's past glory (including the beautiful veranda which, from I can tell, is completely gone). This is in the Cherry/Diamond/Lake Drive district which over the last three years has really bounced back. Bazzani also built a new "strip center" that fits the neighborhood character perfectly. It will be great to see what this part of Grand Rapids looks like in 5 years.

dablodgett.jpg

ICCF Getting New Home

By David Czurak

GRAND RAPIDS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I am not at all familar with the project area, but it seems like this will be a nice project. I'm glad to hear that they are stripping off all that ugly 1950s cladding. Sometimes I wonder if any of the 1950s moderinzations done to any building were done well? They all look so bad!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Cherry/Diamond/Lake Drive is THE growth neighborhood in Grand Rapids (including the Fairmount Square historic distric and Wealthy Street Theatre District). Real Estate speculators, start buying while you have a chance... ;)

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Cherry/Diamond/Lake Drive is THE growth neighborhood in Grand Rapids (including the Fairmount Square historic distric and Wealthy Street Theatre District). Real Estate speculators, start buying while you have a chance... ;)

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I found this great website for the Wealthy Street revitalization:

http://www.wealthymainstreet.org/

I hope they start work on the DA Blodgett building soon. It is looking quite haggard with all of the grafitti on it :angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does look pretty beat up right now. I CAN'T WAIT to see that ugly 1960's building coming crashing downtown to reveal the gem that has been hidden for so long. Let's start up the bulldozers! ;)

Joe

I found this great website for the Wealthy Street revitalization:

http://www.wealthymainstreet.org/

I hope they start work on the DA Blodgett building soon.  It is looking quite haggard with all of the grafitti on it :angry:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

June 23rd, 6:30pm:

"Come join Local First, Bazzani Associates and Second Story Properties, East Hill's Council of Neighbors, and local businesses for an awesome collabortative event. It's the perfect time to meet your neighbors and local business owners, eat great food, and learn more about the 920 Cherry project!"

info obtained from localfirst.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It will be interesting to hear what they have to say. This will be a major anchor for the Cherry/Diamond neighborhood. Along with the Gibson's re-do and all of the new retail, this area is really shaping up nicely!

Second Story Properties is also finishing up a facade replacement of one of the existing buildings on Cherry (next to the Pickwick Tavern). It looks like it used to be a garage or a lockshop (big key sign on the building). The new facade fits nicely with the older storefronts in the neighborhood.

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

June 23rd, 6:30pm:

"Come join Local First, Bazzani Associates and Second Story Properties, East Hill's Council of Neighbors, and local businesses for an awesome collabortative event. It's the perfect time to meet your neighbors and local business owners, eat great food, and learn more about the 920 Cherry project!"

info obtained from localfirst.com

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Perhaps acarlton can shed some light as what to expect at this event.. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not visited this area of town in some time now. I am very happy to hear that there is so much interest as there are some very lovely homes there... and unique businesses that have been there forever (e.g. Gaia's).

VERY nice that they restored the brick street. That was the huge thing lacking when they "improved" Wealthy St. some years back down by Heritage Hill (paved over the brick).

It is most intriguing that Mr. Cummings is building the project based upon a "hunch." I don't believe I have ever heard a businessman in Grand Rapids come right out and admit that. Most excellent.

I am not too impressed with the little strip building he put up on Lake Drive and Diamond, however. Nothing really distinguishes it... it looks like something you'd find on 28th Street, which is a pity because he had the chance to put up something truly great.

Budgie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It is most intriguing that Mr. Cummings is building the project based upon a "hunch." I don't believe I have ever heard a businessman in Grand Rapids come right out and admit that. Most excellent."

^I think if more buisnessmen were to do this, we'd have a city looking very different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Budgie,

Guy Bazzani actually built that building. I think it fits with the one-three story buildings in the area, and it is a green building.

I predict that the Diamond/Cherry district will be one of the hotspots for dining and shopping in the next five years.

Joe

I am not too impressed with the little strip building he put up on Lake Drive and Diamond, however. Nothing really distinguishes it... it looks like something you'd find on 28th Street, which is a pity because he had the chance to put up something truly great.

Budgie

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe,

Thank you for correcting me. I have never heard of Guy Bazzani.

Green is good. I guess I have to get used to the concept of concrete block infrastructure. These historical buildings have spoiled me.

Still, it does seem like a strip mall to me. I wish he would have distinguished the shops from one another.

If that makes any sense.

I hope you are right about that area being a hotspot. That would be wonderful to see.

Budgie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do agree that some differentiation in architecture would have been nice. Now if they can just get rid of that old gas station across the street. That is an eyesore and I think hinders redevelopment of the area.

Joe

Joe,

Thank you for correcting me. I have never heard of Guy Bazzani.

Green is good. I guess I have to get used to the concept of concrete block infrastructure. These historical buildings have spoiled me.

Still, it does seem like a strip mall to me. I wish he would have distinguished the shops from one another.

If that makes any sense.

I hope you are right about that area being a hotspot. That would be wonderful to see.

Budgie

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are there any plans for taking out the gas station? Or will it be too expensive because of the environmental clean-up?

But wasn't there a gas station where the new strip is now? A looooong time ago?

Budgie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Budgie,

There was a gas station where the new center of the universe building is. As for the other gas station, I've heard the owner has been asked multiple times to sell but refuses to. Probably thinks he has a gold mine on his hands and can blight his way to riches. ;)

Joe

Are there any plans for taking out the gas station? Or will it be too expensive because of the environmental clean-up?

But wasn't there a gas station where the new strip is now? A looooong time ago?

Budgie

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do agree that some differentiation in architecture would have been nice. Now if they can just get rid of that old gas station across the street. That is an eyesore and I think hinders redevelopment of the area.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The building was designed with neighborhood contextuality in mind. Strip type developments that differentiate between each space often suffer from the Meijer Cascade syndrome. A zoning variance to bring the building up to the street edge was required due to the parcel being zoned C3 (same zoning classification as most of 28th. St.).

The building has many green features that are noteworthy. One of them being that it is a zero stormwater discharge site, the first in Grand Rapids. All stormwater is collected, naturally filtered, and released to the environment on site. This is done with both the green roof and the rain garden on site. The building is extremely energy efficient and uses insulated concrete forms. A construction material used a lot in residential construction but not so much in commercial buildings. It is one of the first commercial buildings in the region to use this technology.

By the way, if you haven't been by the building in the last week or so, drive by again. The light shelves have now been installed and they give a totally different look to the building.

Nitro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are there any plans for taking out the gas station? Or will it be too expensive because of the environmental clean-up?

But wasn't there a gas station where the new strip is now? A looooong time ago?

Budgie

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There was a gas station on the site of the East Hills Center. It was a Shell station that leaked heavily at the pump islands. The site was extremely contaminated which is why it sat vacant for so many years. When Bazzani bought the site one of the stipulations was that Shell clean up the site. The original estimate to remediate the site was in the $150k range but Shell had over $520k into cleaning it up.

The old BP across the street does have tanks listed with the DEQ as being LUST.

It will probably be awhile before that old station goes away. It should be bought and torn down and a new building facing Lake Dr be put up. It will close up the gap tooth between the East Hills Center and the retail buildings to the west.

Nitro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nitro,

What is LUST (as it pertains to gas tanks)?

Budgie

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sorry, I should have clarified. Leaking Underground Storage Tanks.

Nitro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No apology needed.

Well, if it's leaking, can't the owners be forced to do something? They must be breaking some law somewhere.

Budgie

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

By every letter of the law.....probably. However there are *a lot* of underground storage tanks around. A lot of them are known, many are unknown. The DEQ doesn't have the budget or the man power to track them all down. The best they can do is register them and keep track of them for the time being.

Michigan is also a "polluter pays" state. The service station that is there now probably didn't contribute to the problem. They just inherited it from someone else. It makes it hard to go back after some of these companies with mergers and bankruptcies through the years.

Shell had to pony up for the East Hills Center site. They knew they were going to have to at some point.

I believe the other vacant lot on that corner (the parking lot on the SE corner of Diamond and Cherry) was also a gas station. If I remember right there may be some tanks there as well, maybe they're gone by now.

Nitro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nitro,

I didn't mean to say I don't like the Center of the Universe building, and I agree, sometimes varying the architecture does give you that "Truman Show" type fake architecture. I think it fits the neighborhood well and the whole neighborhood is exciting. I think the Gilmore Group will just add to the momentum.

Now they need to get the old Old Kent Bank branch that was covered with cinderblock remodeled (corner of Cherry and Diamond). It looks horrific. :)

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.