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East Beltline Developments


GRDadof3

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I do know that Nordstrom was being considered. A few months ago, I e-mailed both Aikens and Nordstrom and received mutual confirmation of their ongoing discussions. Aikens was eager to get Nordstrom. The Nordstrom rep informed me that they were concerned about lackluster sales at the Centrepointe Nordstrom Rack and about the Michigan economy in general. Maybe in 3-5 years, I was told.

I stand corrected. Thanks pgp.

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Dave & Buster's would be a great addition to the GR metro. In a fantasy world it would be better to go downtown in the entertainment district. I know Jillian's (it is like Dave & Buster's but nicer) had considered going into The Cherry Street Landing project years ago but couldn't get enough parking.

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This place is looking more and more like a glorified, outdoor RiverTown Crossings.

With snow-covered common spaces, an equally insane amount of asphalt surfaces - and a bunch of stores that duplicate Woodland Mall offerings. I have to seriously wonder how many of these retailers having stores in both locations will survive economically. Quite frankly, I continue to see nothing of value in this use of that corner at EBL and 3 Mile...

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On the subject of this topic, I also noticed H&M (the UK based clothing retailer) is off the map and Orvis is on. The Hyde Park Steakhouse replaced the Red Star Tavern (not of the Mike Vorce ilk).

Old site plan

New site plan

I wonder what other changes there will be before they break ground (this fall?).

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Looks to me like the new site plan is cutting back on the number of Major Anchors. Anything about that?

Seems to me like the Lifestyle centers always come outta the gate promising something incredible and then scale back during the "wait to build" phase until what we get is a strip mall.

Boooo.

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Well, I have been to the Robert B. Aikens & Assoc. development that is often cited in reference to this one - "The Village of Rochester Hills (click to check out the slide show)" over north of Detroit. For what it's worth, it wasn't all that bad considering that 1) yes it is more or less just a Rivertown Crossings without the roof, and 2) it's a fake downtown.

It was sort of like a shopper's Disneyland. They have the fake rocks hidden amongst the shrubberies, etc. that are really speakers playing music (holiday appropriate when applicable), the sidewalks, the benches, etc. Not to get all psycho-babble on you, but having walked around this place I posit that the reason for the growing popularity of these lifestyle centers is because they tap into both a sub-conscious desire for the old fashioned streets of the small town and the latent Europe-envy that many affluent and semi-affluent people feel that gets fed by the idealized quaintness of the small European village often stereotyped in films with little shops and narrow streets, etc. You feel less like a fat lazy American because unlike the mall, hey, you are OUTSIDE walking around.

You can almost pretend that these aren't chain stores but that during your walk on these quaint small town streets you've stumbled into this charming cooking store called Williams Sonoma that seems so interesting and unique or you found a one-of-a-kind candle shop called cutely enough the Yankee Candle Company. And hey look, this unknown painter has opened up his own interesting little shop and you can go and tell you friends that you were just walking along and you found this great painting from a neat little man named Thomas Kinkade and how his artwork is so rare and astonishing.

To sum up, when faced with a trip to a "shopping destination" on a nice sunny day in June, July or August it would be nicer to throw the kid(s) in a stroller and walk about this place. In December, January, February I'm probably headed for Woodland or Rivertown.

But hey, it is what it is. One things for sure, this downtown may be fake but they aren't trying to "keep it a secret."

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Well, I have been to the Robert B. Aikens & Assoc. development that is often cited in reference to this one - "The Village of Rochester Hills (click to check out the slide show)" over north of Detroit. For what it's worth, it wasn't all that bad considering that 1) yes it is more or less just a Rivertown Crossings without the roof, and 2) it's a fake downtown.

It was sort of like a shopper's Disneyland. They have the fake rocks hidden amongst the shrubberies, etc. that are really speakers playing music (holiday appropriate when applicable), the sidewalks, the benches, etc. Not to get all psycho-babble on you, but having walked around this place I posit that the reason for the growing popularity of these lifestyle centers is because they tap into both a sub-conscious desire for the old fashioned streets of the small town and the latent Europe-envy that many affluent and semi-affluent people feel that gets fed by the idealized quaintness of the small European village often stereotyped in films with little shops and narrow streets, etc. You feel less like a fat lazy American because unlike the mall, hey, you are OUTSIDE walking around.

You can almost pretend that these aren't chain stores but that during your walk on these quaint small town streets you've stumbled into this charming cooking store called Williams Sonoma that seems so interesting and unique or you found a one-of-a-kind candle shop called cutely enough the Yankee Candle Company. And hey look, this unknown painter has opened up his own interesting little shop and you can go and tell you friends that you were just walking along and you found this great painting from a neat little man named Thomas Kinkade and how his artwork is so rare and astonishing.

To sum up, when faced with a trip to a "shopping destination" on a nice sunny day in June, July or August it would be nicer to throw the kid(s) in a stroller and walk about this place. In December, January, February I'm probably headed for Woodland or Rivertown.

But hey, it is what it is. One things for sure, this downtown may be fake but they aren't trying to "keep it a secret."

Nice psychobabble wingbert! I really think you hit the nail on the head.

The one issue that keeps coming up though, is that if being outside in the winter is that objectionable to people in Grand Rapids, is there ANY hope for a revitalized downtown retail scene? Other than building an indoor mall somehow near Monroe Center?

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Nice psychobabble wingbert! I really think you hit the nail on the head.

The one issue that keeps coming up though, is that if being outside in the winter is that objectionable to people in Grand Rapids, is there ANY hope for a revitalized downtown retail scene? Other than building an indoor mall somehow near Monroe Center?

Or, we could just build a skywalk along Monroe Center! :D :ducks:

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The site plan does include some retailers that aren't at Woodland or RiverTown: BCBG, Anthropologie, Brooks Brothers, Orvis, Adidas, Lucky Brand, Lucy but despite those there are a lot of retailers already available at the other malls. Hopefully there will be plenty of residential development for this project so the existing malls aren't negatively affected by it.

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...

The one issue that keeps coming up though, is that if being outside in the winter is that objectionable to people in Grand Rapids, is there ANY hope for a revitalized downtown retail scene? Other than building an indoor mall somehow near Monroe Center?

In 2002 one of my Wayne State grad classes took a bus trip up the road to this then-new development. Seems like the big attraction is the "busy sidewalks, city sidewalks" minus the pesky old infrastructure; it can be designed for the milennium by architects, rather than by the defaults of the horse & buggy era and subsequent.

What is it with the weather objections? If it's December and you go get some stuff from Uncle Fred, you are going to walk some distance to the door. At a lifestyle center, there are more niche places to leave the car and it's easier to dash in and out. Does anyone traipse back and forth to the car while shopping at a mall? Does anyone move the car from the vicinity of Penney's over to Sears? If you're going shopping, it makes sense to wear a lighter coat than if you are going to sit in a stadium.

News flash: this is Michigan. It gets cold here in the winter, and dark at night.

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In 2002 one of my Wayne State grad classes took a bus trip up the road to this then-new development. Seems like the big attraction is the "busy sidewalks, city sidewalks" minus the pesky old infrastructure; it can be designed for the milennium by architects, rather than by the defaults of the horse & buggy era and subsequent.

What is it with the weather objections? If it's December and you go get some stuff from Uncle Fred, you are going to walk some distance to the door. At a lifestyle center, there are more niche places to leave the car and it's easier to dash in and out. Does anyone traipse back and forth to the car while shopping at a mall? Does anyone move the car from the vicinity of Penney's over to Sears? If you're going shopping, it makes sense to wear a lighter coat than if you are going to sit in a stadium.

News flash: this is Michigan. It gets cold here in the winter, and dark at night.

Good point. Back in the 1960's when I was in high school (ugh-old) it was the best thing to go shopping downtown in the winter / Christmas. We'd get in those stores and get real hot with winter coats on and it felt so good to get outside between stores for the cool-down. Cold air can be very refreshing!

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Well, I have been to the Robert B. Aikens & Assoc. development that is often cited in reference to this one - "The Village of Rochester Hills (click to check out the slide show)" over north of Detroit. For what it's worth, it wasn't all that bad considering that 1) yes it is more or less just a Rivertown Crossings without the roof, and 2) it's a fake downtown.

It was sort of like a shopper's Disneyland. They have the fake rocks hidden amongst the shrubberies, etc. that are really speakers playing music (holiday appropriate when applicable), the sidewalks, the benches, etc. Not to get all psycho-babble on you, but having walked around this place I posit that the reason for the growing popularity of these lifestyle centers is because they tap into both a sub-conscious desire for the old fashioned streets of the small town and the latent Europe-envy that many affluent and semi-affluent people feel that gets fed by the idealized quaintness of the small European village often stereotyped in films with little shops and narrow streets, etc. You feel less like a fat lazy American because unlike the mall, hey, you are OUTSIDE walking around.

You can almost pretend that these aren't chain stores but that during your walk on these quaint small town streets you've stumbled into this charming cooking store called Williams Sonoma that seems so interesting and unique or you found a one-of-a-kind candle shop called cutely enough the Yankee Candle Company. And hey look, this unknown painter has opened up his own interesting little shop and you can go and tell you friends that you were just walking along and you found this great painting from a neat little man named Thomas Kinkade and how his artwork is so rare and astonishing.

To sum up, when faced with a trip to a "shopping destination" on a nice sunny day in June, July or August it would be nicer to throw the kid(s) in a stroller and walk about this place. In December, January, February I'm probably headed for Woodland or Rivertown.

But hey, it is what it is. One things for sure, this downtown may be fake but they aren't trying to "keep it a secret."

I think you're close to hitting the nail on the head.

I tend toward thinking it's "I want the quaintness of a village, the ease of a strip-mall and the selection of a regular mall"

I should also point out that people don't always know (or care) if something is or isn't a chain store.

Village of Rochester Hills has a restaurant named "Bravo! Cucina Italiana" ... total chain...but it's the only one in Michigan. You wouldn't believe the number of locals who talk about their cool new restaurant called Bravo. :) They don't care if it's local or not (it's local to them and the only one in their area).

For what it's worth if I was the owner of the venerable and decidedly local "Bravo!" in Kalamazoo I'd be suing these guys for all their worth.

http://www.bravokalamazoo.com/

http://www.bravoitalian.com/

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Outdoor malls and 'community centers' are really big down south and out west, obviously due to their climate. I went to an outdoor mall in Phoenix and even though it looked typically suburban surrounded by a sea of parking lots and a parking garage. However, once you were in the complex, even I couldn't help but be drawn in and impressed.

I found it's website online, apparently it's called Biltmore Fashion Park. Looks pretty much like the same set up we are familar with Orchard/Rochester Hills.

http://www.shopbiltmore.com/default.asp

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Country Club Plaza in Kansas City is old (really old) and it's an entire "fake" downtown built up with hidden parking ramps, street parking, ped-friendly crossings and every mall store you could ever want. I have to think it's the precursor to "lifestyle centers" of today. When it was built it was well out of the central city (even though today it almost IS the central city).

Is it nicer than an enclosed mall? You bet! Did I see a single local retailer? Only if you count George Brett's restaurant. It was basically the village of Rochester Hills with some history (situated on a nice little river).

Edited by suydam
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Well, I have been to the Robert B. Aikens & Assoc. development that is often cited in reference to this one - "The Village of Rochester Hills (click to check out the slide show)" over north of Detroit. For what it's worth, it wasn't all that bad considering that 1) yes it is more or less just a Rivertown Crossings without the roof, and 2) it's a fake downtown.

:) Couldn't resist weighing in on this because Rochester Hills is my hometown! The Village actually replaced a down-and-out regular mall called 'Meadowbrook Mall' that was barely 50% full. While the locals go to the Village out of convenience, they go there in lieu of trekking out to a different mall, since the closest decent 'real' mall, Somerset, is nearly 30 min away (most- myself included- don't like Great Lakes Crossing even if it's closer).

I'm not sure if the Village has really hurt downtown Rochester (no 'Hills'), which is a true 'downtown' shopping/going out place. Downtown Rochester has a ton of local stores and dining. The public library is there, as well as a Farmer's Market, parks, and tons of sidewalks. The majority of my family friends patronize both shopping/dining areas, and see the Village as a substitute for a mall in another city, not downtown. In my opinion, downtown Rochester and the Village of Rochester Hills don't compete for the same business. I go to the Village if I need something from JCrew, and I go downtown for a drink or dinner, or to shop all the local stores. Maybe this 'lifestyle center' will be more of a mall alternative than a competitor to downtown retail.

Edited by Parhelion
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There's no way this warranted an entire thread, and I think it was brought up in this thread here somewhere, but here is the "house on the cliff" near Celebration Village that has finally bit the dust (they started tearing it down last Friday):

635081621_9d2dc5fbd5_b.jpg

635081657_3c9a4de985_b.jpg

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Can anyone answer me why Grand Rapids township and Grand Rapids don't merge? Both would have alot to gain by this i think the township would have slightly more to gain by the city services that would be offered to the residents. But both goverments work closely on development issues and such so why not merge?

Because, in general, people living in Grand Rapids Township live there because they don't want to live in the City of. If you are them think about it, why live on one side of the street and pay double the taxes that you would if you lived on the other side of the street. In townships you can enjoy all the amenities and basic services that a city offers at a lower price. Now, if current rumblings are true and township affairs are put more into the control of the county perhaps you may see some places changing their tune.

You have to remember, for as large of a constiguency that there is on this board that is pro-urban, there is just as large if not larger who want nothing to do with urban living. You may really dislike it but they have the right to live how they want to. I'm not defending them, I just don't want to be an elitist urbanist and dismiss those people who do enjoy suburb living as "stupid".

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  • GRDadof3 changed the title to East Beltline Developments

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