GRDadof3

East Beltline Developments

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GRDadof3    1826

AikensMainPg1.gif


Went to the interesting "Community Conversation" last night regarding the proposed 350,000 sq ft high-end retail village proposed for 3 Mile and E. Belline. It's a pretty exciting project, and the place was packed (most of which were FOR the development to my surprise). A few NIMBY's of course. It sounds like this project will bring retailers to this area that are not present here currently, and may open the door for other high end retailers to take note of the area.

The owner of the property is locally owned BDR Development, and they have partnered with Robert Aikens & Associates, Atwell-Hicks of Farmington Hills, Wah Yee Associates of Northville, and Peterhans, Rea + Roman of Bloomfield Hills to work on design and landscaping. An interesting feature they brought up is that due to topography at that corner, the development will sit 8' below the Beltline, which will create some unique landscaping. There will also be about 65 townhomes along Dunnigan to the East, with a bike path that will eventually link to the other area bike paths along Knapp. One other note: the project would begin in 2006 and be FULLY completed by 2007 (not in pieces like Celebration Village).

The only thing they have so far is a proposed site plan in the information packet they handed out, but it is being modeled after The Village of Rochester Hills:

Map.gif

Here is a list of tenants at the Rochester Hills development, most of which the developer said are VERY interested in being involved with this project. The demographics of the two areas are very similar (median income within $8000):

Restaurants

BAJA FRESH - E
BRAVO! CUCINA ITALIANO - F
COSI - A
GOURMET GARDEN - C
KRUSE & MUER - C
MAGGIE MOO'S - C
MAX & ERMA'S - C
STARBUCKS - E
TROPICAL SQUEEZE- A

Men's Apparel

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH - E
AMERICAN EAGLE - E
BANANA REPUBLIC - C
EDDIE BAUER - G
GAP - D
HOLLISTER - E
J. CREW - D
MOOSEJAW - F
ORVIS - F

Women's Apparel

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH - E
AMERICAN EAGLE - E
ANN TAYLOR - G
AUGUST MAX - B
BANANA REPUBLIC - D
CASUAL CORNER - B
CHICO'S - G
COLDWATER CREEK - G
GAP - D
GAPBODY-D
HOLLISTER - E
J. CREW - D
J. JILL - E
MOOSEJAW - F
PETITE SOPHISTICATE - B
TALBOTS - F
TALBOTS PETITE - F
TALBOTS WOMEN - F
VICTORIA'S SECRET - D
WHITE HOUSE/ BLACK MARKET - F

Children's Apparel

ABERCROMBIE - E
THE CHILDREN'S PLACE - D
GAP KIDS - D
LIMITED TOO - D

Home Furnishings & Gifts

BOMBAY - F
EDDIE BAUER HOME - G
POTTERY BARN - D
SMITH & HAWKEN - E
WILLIAMS-SONOMA - G
YANKEE CANDLE - D

Footwear

BANANA REPUBLIC - D
CASUAL CORNER - B
HAIG SHOES - A
J. CREW - D
SHOE SEPT - B

Sporting Goods, Hobbies & Specialties

HARRY & DAVID - F
MOOSEJAW - F
ORVIS - F
SMITH & HAWKEN - E

Anchor Tenants
PARISIAN
CLUB LIBBY LU
THE FOOD EMPORIUM

Most of these we already have, with a few notable exceptions: Parisian owned by Saks, White House Black Market, The Food Emporium (or possibly a Whole Foods), Harry & David and Smith & Hawken to name a few.

He also mentioned a bookstore, possibly a Borders. The rep from Aikens also mentioned that they are working with PF Changs to put in a restaurant. For comparison, the development will be similar to Easton Town Center in Columbus, and Legacy Village in Cleveland:

Legacy%20Village%2012-03%200011.jpg

p-r-legacy01.jpg

A.jpg



I'm GRDad reporting from Grand Rapids Township. Back to you..........

Edited by GRDadof3

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torgo    3

Excellent reporting Jeff! :thumbsup: I hope they do include a fairly significant residential area; you mentioned townhomes somewhere. Otherwise, it becomes another shopping mall, except it doesn't have a roof. I am interested to see the design for this one too, as in my opinion there is a fine line between "nice and attractive" and "obnoxious cartoon". :huh:

Anyways, those are my two cents worth. :D

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GRDadof3    1826

It is basically a mall without a roof, but with residential townhomes along the Eastern portion of the property to create a buffer from residential to the East. An interesting design aspect that they brought up: they are planning to do, and have done in other similar developments, parallel parking along the main street instead of angled parking. They mentioned that what happens at that street width is that people tend to "jaywalk" like they do on Monroe Center, which is a GOOD THING. It creates a more walkable environment and basically eliminates the need for speed limits.

Based on the quality of work that BDR does, I have pretty good expectations for this development.

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GaryP    0

I've been to the Easton Town Center in Columbus. It was very walkable once you got there, but pretty tough to get to the development without driving. It actually had its own exit from the outer belt expressway.

Everyone in the city would go there and talked about it all the time. I think it took a lot away from their downtown, which got zero attention from anyone. Columbus dt never had as much going for it as dt GR does, but this could definitely hurt what we have going IMO.

I recall most of the parking for the Easton Town Center was in a couple of large ramps, not a lot of surface lots so the site wasn't surrounded by a sea of blacktop and I wondered why they didn

Edited by GaryP

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NorthCoast    0

Wow this a really interesting idea. I look forward to seeing how things progress. I agree with the above comments regarding a worry of the 'cartoonish' or 'roofless mall' look. Townhouses would definitely be a plus. I was also happy to see that there is plans to include prominent, upscale retailers. I visited a place like this over in Rochester Hills and it was very nice. Now if only we could develop something over here on the west side of town that isn't Rivertown Mall.

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mgreven    100

Thanks for the report. . I really wanted to go, but then some company stopped over. I knew you'd have a great report GrDad... :thumbsup::thumbsup:

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GR_Urbanist    415

Tis project looks very promising. But, there is always the ghost of Celebration Village that looms large. Will this project be completed at the same time or will they hit "snags" along the way and we end up with a "compromise village", where we have large, visible parking lots, blank wall buildings, no residental, and dozens of retailers that decided to build near this project following none of the basic elements of the "village" concept? I wouldnt be a NIMBY, but I hope the people hold the developers, and the government, to some high standards.

Now if only retail was this eager to move into the downtown area....... :whistling:

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torgo    3
Thanks for the update Jeff, this is defiantly an exciting prospect. As many of you have pointed out there needs to be real care taken that this doesn

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twoshort    8

I agree that parallel parking will be better than the diagonal parking. Diagonal makes it feel less like a street and more like a parking lot IMO. I am going to withhold judgement until I see a better site plan. But I am skeptical. ;)

I kind of like how Holland does it. To each his own I s'pose.

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Prankster    29

Not trying to sound naiive, because I know development is going to happen out in this area of town, but why not downtown? Other cities that are similar in size to Grand Rapids have successful retail centers located in their downtown:

Louisville - Fourth Street Live

Salt Lake City - Gateway Center

Providence - Providence Place

Madison, WI - State Street

Norfolk - MacArthur Place

Also Spokane, Oklahoma City, Charleston, WV, Burlington, VT, and Bellevue, WA have large concentrations of retail in their downtowns.

Successful downtowns don't just rely on any one component, ie-office workers, restaurants, but blend all components into the mix.

Sorry for highjacking the thread, but it amazes me that with all the recent success in downtown, retail is still severely lagging behind. And the lame excuse that downtown retail is no longer feasible because of competition from the suburbs is wrong, based on the successful downtowns listed above.

Getting off my soap box, I will end my preachifying. Sorry for the long rant. :whistling:

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snoogit    0

I can tell you one things for sure, Borders will never come to Grand Rapids.

They have an agreement with Schuler's bookstores that they will not put a store in Grand Rapids, with that agreement though, Borders was given the right to be the Book distributor for Schuler's.

In essence, Schuler's Bookstore IS Borders with a different wrapper.

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torgo    3

Not trying to sound naiive, because I know development is going to happen out in this area of town, but why not downtown? Other cities that are similar in size to Grand Rapids have successful retail centers located in their downtown:

Louisville - Fourth Street Live

Salt Lake City - Gateway Center

Providence - Providence Place

Madison, WI - State Street

Norfolk - MacArthur Place

Also Spokane, Oklahoma City, Charleston, WV, Burlington, VT, and Bellevue, WA have large concentrations of retail in their downtowns.

Successful downtowns don't just rely on any one component, ie-office workers, restaurants, but blend all components into the mix.

Sorry for highjacking the thread, but it amazes me that with all the recent success in downtown, retail is still severely lagging behind. And the lame excuse that downtown retail is no longer feasible because of competition from the suburbs is wrong, based on the successful downtowns listed above.

Getting off my soap box, I will end my preachifying. Sorry for the long rant. :whistling:

I see your point, and I have a question. How much empty ground-floor space do we have downtown? Monroe Ctr, I think, is completely full. Does anyone think if more buildings were build that provided ground-floor retail, we would get retailers? Or would they sit empty, like that goofy looking building on Ionia? Maybe we have too many offices on ground floors around here. I am honestly asking these questions, by the way, not ranting. ;)

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GaryP    0

I see your point, and I have a question. How much empty ground-floor space do we have downtown? Monroe Ctr, I think, is completely full. Does anyone think if more buildings were build that provided ground-floor retail, we would get retailers? Or would they sit empty, like that goofy looking building on Ionia? Maybe we have too many offices on ground floors around here. I am honestly asking these questions, by the way, not ranting. ;)

There actaully is a pretty good amount of ground floor space available, but it's spread out all over the place. EDIT: see twoshort's list.

There isnt a big open space downtown that someone could do a deal of this size on and I think that's what developers need to make something like this happen. But I think there may be in some spots close to dt that could work. Maybe the field next to 131 North of 28th, or the vacant plot on the river downstream of dt. The zoo's land would have been great if it had moved.

Edited by GaryP

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GaryP    0

Concerns were raised about connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods. Village of Rochester Hills has about 5% of shoppers WALK to their mall (a pretty decent number these days). One resident said the plan, which is chock full of sidewalks around the property, did not look to be connected to residents across Beltline to the West. They said that it was a good point and they would talk to the Township about including that.

There was talk about expanding the current Rapid bus service (7 or 8?) up to this development, to bring shoppers and help the approximately 900 or so employees forecasted get there.

This is good news. BTW thanks for keeping us updated 3Dad :thumbsup:

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GRDadof3    1826

Had to pick up the girls at school, so missed the discussion. Some points brought up last night that are raised here:

The GR Township residents, most of which are for the development based on feedback last night, do not want to get "burnt" again like they did by Celebration Village. They wanted some reassurance from the developers that the project would be cohesive and built all at once. According to the developer, that is the plan. They would line up about 90% of the tenants, build the place completely out, and then fill the few remaining small spaces. Celebration Village went through various owners, architects and lawsuits: a total mess. When asked by prospective tenants about pushing their stores right out to the Beltline (ie what happened with IHOP, Chili's, Boston's at Celebration Village :sick: ), Robert Aikens (this developer) told them NO.

Concerns were raised about connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods. Village of Rochester Hills has about 5% of shoppers WALK to their mall (a pretty decent number these days). One resident said the plan, which is chock full of sidewalks around the property, did not look to be connected to residents across Beltline to the West. They said that it was a good point and they would talk to the Township about including that.

There was talk about expanding the current Rapid bus service (7 or 8?) up to this development, to bring shoppers and help the approximately 900 or so employees forecasted get there.

If you have been to the one in Rochester Hills, this will basically be it's twin, which I heard is very nice. I have a site plan in my hand, but no scanner around :( It will not be as large as Easton Town Center, so there are not plans for any parking ramps.

I think the development will definitely help the Metro area. Why nothing like this is planned for downtown, I have no idea? Maybe Blue Bridge Ventures plansl for the WAM site will be comparable? I just haven't heard anything like this even mentioned for downtown, except on wish lists at this forum :thumbsup:

Next step is a hearing planned at the Township hall on November 22nd.

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:YiPH7qb...+township&hl=en

Oh, and I think it might be a Barnes & Noble, not Borders.

Edit: Whoa, double post :blush:

Edited by GRDadof3

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Prankster    29

There isnt a big open space downtown that someone could do a deal of this size on and I think that's what developers need to make something like this happen. But I think there may be in some spots close to dt that could work. Maybe the field next to 131 North of 28th, or the vacant plot on the river downstream of dt. The zoo's land would have been great if it had moved.

I would thing that all the parking lots surrounding downtown to the south and the west would be ideal for this kind of development. Also, the WAM/Blue Bridge development covers a fair amount of acrage. If the city aggressively looked to market it, there are opportunities out there for this to happen. Again, if other cities can pull it off, why not us? :unsure:

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GRDadof3    1826

Oh, and andy, if you go back up to my first "report" on this and look at the Village of Rochester Hills plat map, here is what would change:

Flip it over as a mirror image

Label Adams Road "East Beltline"

Label Walton Boulevard "Three Mile"

At the top of it just above The Food Emporium, draw a line left to right and label that "Dunnigan"

Where the word "The Village" is written, add in townhouses grouped in 4 units per building, with separate garages and multiple walking paths and sidewalks to the development

The blank spaces to the bottom left and bottom right (the one part I am not crazy about) would be parking, as well as parking behind the main buildings at the top.

Where it says Adams Road would be buldings coming out to the Beltline flanking each side of the Main Entrance street.

Keep in mind this is about 350,000 square feet. Rivertown is about 1.2 million, and Woodland is about 1.0 million (I believe), so it won't be as massive.

Hope that clears it up (clear as mud right) :P

Edit: I agree Prankster.

Edited by GRDadof3

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GaryP    0

I would thing that all the parking lots surrounding downtown to the south and the west would be ideal for this kind of development. Also, the WAM/Blue Bridge development covers a fair amount of acrage. If the city aggressively looked to market it, there are opportunities out there for this to happen. Again, if other cities can pull it off, why not us? :unsure:

OMG that would be perfect! those 2 city parking lots right next to the highway between cherry and oakes could work fantastically well for something like that. They could even include the lot behind the Van Andel too. The only problem would be the bums scaring off the suburbanites :(

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GRDadof3    1826

OMG that would be perfect! those 2 city parking lots right next to the highway between cherry and oakes could work fantastically well for something like that. They could even include the lot behind the Van Andel too. The only problem would be the bums scaring off the suburbanites :(

That would be a great spot! Great exposure. You just had to go and bring up the bum issue, didn't ya Gary :P

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PBJ    0

That would be a great spot! Great exposure. You just had to go and bring up the bum issue, didn't ya Gary :P

That would be an awsome spot, close to the GRATA lot, highway on/off ramps right there. Tons of other nightlife places. Probably would draw more national retailers/eateries d/t in other open spaces already built d/t.. Someone should make the suggestion :whistling:

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