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MJLO

Kalamazoo

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I was in Kalamazoo last night, and one thing I noticed, was how pleasant downtown was. I was there in the evening, around 9pm and aside from the fact that it was pretty much void of life, at that time. It was very well kept, and looked as if there were ACTUAL retail downtown. I was decently impressed. How come we never see any pics of Kzoo, and it seems as if noone really talks much about it. I know that as western Michigan goes, it's about 1/3rd the size of GR, but for cities like Saginaw and Flint, Kzoo is rather comparable. I would say that next to those places Kzoo is quite nice. Are there any forumers from Kzoo? Anyone interested in sharings stories, or facts? I'd like to know more.

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I went to Western, so know a little bit about Kalamazoo. It's not a bad little city. The mall area downtown did have quite a few retailers at that time, like Gazelle Sports for instance. When Jacobsons closed, that left a big hole, but I think it has been replaced by now. The area just North of Michigan (Arcadia and Haymarket areas) have some stunning old buildings that have been restored, as well as a lot of infill, and the train station is to die for (andy?? :huh: ). Of course the best hangouts are Bell's Beergarden, Club Soda, Main Street Pub (when it was still open), Harveys on the Mall (when it was still open) and the State Theatre was a fantastic place to see a concert. I hear they are opening a suburban type movie theatre complex downtown. I also hear that Western is in hyper expansion mode again, but I haven't had a chance to get down there in a while. That's my Kzoo in a nutshell.

Here's a rundown of their development projects (don't know how old it is).

http://www.central-city.net/maps.php#downtownProjects

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BZZZZZ! Sorry, you are incorrect. :D

Rats! :P It just struck me as coincidental as I was writing that, and I have heard there is going to be a big project near the train station. Oh well....

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Kalamazoo is a nice city - I grew up there. A few things it has that GR doesn't:

1. The Gilmore Keyboard Festival and more options for music. Besides the festival, WMU has a fantastic music/fine arts program, so there is always something going on. I haven't found anything yet in GR that compares.

2. The USTA National Boys Tennis Tournament. Even if you don't like tennis, come on - bragging rights that Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, etc. played in your city when they were young? It's kinda cool...

3. A walkable downtown. Kalamazoo's downtown recently went from walkers-only to adding parking, much like Holland's downtown.

4. WMU. Western owns everything! At least that's what it seems like. There's something valuable about a school that's willing to invest in a city. Obviously, having 30,000-plus students invade a town like Kazoo every year has its downsides, but overall, it's worth it. And, they have football. Downtown.

5. A song. "I've Got a Gal in Grand Rapids" just doesn't have the same ring.

Favorites spots: The Union, Maggie's, Water Street Coffee Joint and Video Hits Plus - the biggest, cheapest, best selection movie place in the world. And, the State Theater is a cool venue.

One more thing: Kalamazoo has tons of downtown festivals that are fun and well-attended - i.e., Island Fest, Greek Festival, Rib Fest, Taste of Kalamazoo, etc.

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Taste of Kalamazoo, etc.

I don't know what Taste of Kalamazoo is like but Taste of Grand Rapids is a joke. It's all chain restaurants. My wife and a buddy of mine went to Taste of Chicago this year. That's a pretty awesome festival. GR should take a cue from them.

Nitro

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To me, the biggest thing Kazoo is getting is the downtown movie theater. It amazes me that the theater owners around here still laugh at the idea of one in downtown GR.

All that aside, the new festival site in Kazoo is an awesome example of taking a parking lot and turning it into something cool.

Jon Stryker is also doing a great job with the old Whistle Stop building and another building he bought across the street. It's good to have a few billionaires living in town -- they take on projects that make no financial sense, but really help downtown.

The Globe building and its District 211 restaurant and the old Shakespeare buildings have been rehabbed in a way that Grand Rapids should envy.

While I'm not a huge fan of the space-age Radisson redesign, there's no question it's a big boon to downtown.

Other great spots aside from the ones already mentioned: Coney Island and its neighboring Ouzo, Juanita's Mexican restaurant, Arie's London Grill Singapore, Food Dance Cafe.

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The Globe building and its District 211 restaurant and the old Shakespeare buildings have been rehabbed in a way that Grand Rapids should envy.

I'll take that as a personal compliment. My former company rehabbed the Spereflex Building (the 5 story brick building) and we built District 211. We didn't do most of the rehab work on the Globe but we took over for the contractor that did. We did the buildout for Caledonia State Bank and DeMent & Marquart the lawyers.

There's lots of things not to envy about those buildings but they did need to be rehabbed. Oyy Don't get me started!!!!

Nitro

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That Radisson is pretty wild looking. A lot different looking than when I was there:

2221_3_b.jpg

Nothing going on in GR today, so I'll update this thread.

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I've been waiting for someone to mention Kalamazoo. I've been wanting to visit it's downtown for a while now, hopefully I will soon. People should post some pictures of it though. Nice picture, GRDadof3.

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I go to WMU right now and I really like it KZOO. It's different than GR at least from a students perspective. WMU and K College are about a mile from downtown so you have 30,000 students many who live in the "student ghetto" neigborhood downtown. Many come from SE MI and CHI, theres a more liberal attitude. There is a lot of history here (home of Checker motor cars, Gibson guitars, Upjohn, Lincoln's speech at Bronson park, KCollege from ealy 1800s also it was known as the Paper city form all the old paper mills). You kind of get the feeling that kzoo used to be a big city probably bigger than GR years ago, maybe thats why WMU is in Kzoo? I have a bunch of pics from last year on my computer but I'm having a problem publishing them so hopefully I can them up and some new ones soon.

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Are there any forumers from Kzoo?

Born and raised. I lived in Kzoo from birth until I was 18 and I left in 97'. I'm so happy to finally see a thread for this, the city has been overlooked for too long. Anyone have any pics? I haven't been back since I left 8 years ago and wonder what, if anything, has cahnged.

That Radisson is pretty wild looking. A lot different looking than when I was there:

2221_3_b.jpg

Nothing going on in GR today, so I'll update this thread.

:shok: That's the Radisson? What the heck did they do to the poor thing? :lol: It looks nothing like it did when I left.

Anyone know where this is going in? It doesn't say on the website.

They also have this called "Small Chicago?"

SmallChicago.jpg

I hope in kzoo. That would look nice there. It's nice to see that kzoo is getting in on the condo craze too.

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I've been waiting for someone to mention Kalamazoo. I've been wanting to visit it's downtown for a while now, hopefully I will soon. People should post some pictures of it though. Nice picture, GRDadof3.

I should have mentioned those aren't my pics, just ones I found on-line. I don't know if the new Radisson is a better version than the old one?? The dull black facade from before:

hotel.jpg

I don't think the old one fit in with the historic brick buildings downtown, but I don't know if the new version does either.

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I should have mentioned those aren't my pics, just ones I found on-line. I don't know if the new Radisson is a better version than the old one?? The dull black facade from before:

hotel.jpg

I don't think the old one fit in with the historic brick buildings downtown, but I don't know if the new version does either.

The new one looks more like a Vegas casino IMO. I haven't been back in a while so I don't know what the surrounding area looks like currently but it's hard for me to imagine it fitting in with what was there at the time.

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Well here are some of the other projects just North of there along Arcadia Creek:

Kalamazoo Museum

kzoo_valley_museum.jpg

KVCC Arcadia Commons (along Arcadia Creek)

arcadia.jpg

The Creek

creek.jpg

Buildings on Rose Street

http://www.central-city.net/space_property...-319-006&pdID=5

Haymarket Historic District

L2098.jpg

Doesn't really fit in. But maybe not a bad thing.

Does anyone have a picture of the buildings along N. Rose St (maybe 241, 251 N. Rose, I think Desenberg and Ihling). I always thought those were great buildings.

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My roommate and I DJ'd at WIDR for a short time when I went to Western (small Sunday evening show called "Feature Presentation", no listeners ). "We're WIDER" :P Did you get your "passport" at Pilsner when you were there mp? I lived all over campus, but my best times were at a house on Stanwood near Waldos, and in the student ghetto on Lovell :D

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Just to add some something tangible, here are some photos of downtown Kazoo courtesy of UrbanOhio.com (go figure, lol):

Kalamazoo1.JPG

Kalamazoo3.jpg

Kalamazoo16.jpg

Kalamazoo9.jpg

Kalamazoo8.JPG

Kalamazoo2.JPG

Kalamazoo4.JPG

Downtown Kazoo actually looks to be one of the more intact downtowns in the state. It almost looks like a smaller, quainter, Ann Arbor.

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My roommate and I DJ'd at WIDR for a short time when I went to Western (small Sunday evening show called "Feature Presentation", no listeners ). "We're WIDER" :P Did you get your "passport" at Pilsner when you were there mp? I lived all over campus, but my best times were at a house on Stanwood near Waldos, and in the student ghetto on Lovell :D

Yah, I worked at "WIDER" too. I was a news nerd. I do remember the pasport at Pilsner if I had one it's long gone. Kind of a neat place. Dark, lots of wood and comfortable furniture. I lived in Zimmerman Hall and out off of Whites road. It's a great campus very attractive if anyone gets a chance to check it out. I really liked the old East Campus.

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Thanks for finding those LMich! They certainly did do a number on the Radisson, but the street level facade looks interesting. The red brick one lane street is the Kzoo Mall (like our Monroe Center), which was closed to traffic when I was there. The only downside of Kalamazoo is that the WMU campus is quite a hike from downtown, unlike East Lansing and Ann Arbor.

And mp, the East Campus was awesome! I've actually been on the roof of Walwood Union with a few in me. You had to traverse through a 2 1/2 story attic section on turn-of-the-century iron scaffolding, and ascend an old iron ladder attached to the attic ceiling and the scaffolding to get to the roof. The roof was flat and humungous, but had no sides on it to stop you from dropping 5 floors :shok: And the stacks in the old Business School library were like out of a horror movie. OK, enough reminiscing :blush:

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I'll keep giving the Kzoo section a kickstart. Here are some photos of the historic East Campus of WMU (the original Western Normal College campus). All of these buildings are still intact.

036.jpg

Walwood Hall and Union (now the Alumni Center)

walwood.jpg

Aerial Postcard

wmu1945aerilview.jpg

Old Business School, North Hall

048.jpg

The hill from East Campus down to the student ghetto is so big and steep, that they had a trolley system back in the old days:

1917East-Hall.jpg

1922trolley.jpg

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