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East Beltline Developments


GRDadof3

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The article in the Press today about last night's meeting also reminded me that they mentioned Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, FYI.

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/

http://www.anthropologie.com/jump.jsp?item...mType=HOME_PAGE

UrbanOutfitters in a not-so-urban area :P Although it should be mentioned that area is only 1/4 mile from the GR city boundary. Probably closer than Woodland Mall :whistling:

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The article in the Press today about last night's meeting also reminded me that they mentioned Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, FYI.

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/

http://www.anthropologie.com/jump.jsp?item...mType=HOME_PAGE

UrbanOutfitters in a not-so-urban area :P Although it should be mentioned that area is only 1/4 mile from the GR city boundary. Probably closer than Woodland Mall :whistling:

If we finally get an Urban Outfitters and it goes there I'm gonna be upset. Kind of hypocritical of them dont you think? And Woodland wouldn't be any better if you were implying that's where they're looking now.

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No, that wasn't my implication. I was just stating that although the people of GR Township would like to believe that the East Beltline is rural, it's not rural. "As the crow flies", it is probably only about 3 - 4 miles from downtown. I really don't know where an Urban Outfitters would set up by itself downtown that would be successful. As optimistic as I am about downtown, I just don't see it happening anytime soon. Is A.K. Rikks doing alright? The only thing that it will take for retail to thrive downtown would be an influx of about 8 - 10,000 more residents, and 5 - 10,000 more workers, IMO.

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If we finally get an Urban Outfitters and it goes there I'm gonna be upset. Kind of hypocritical of them dont you think?

Yeah, but I would guess that their name is just that, a name, based in marketing research and not any kind of operating philosphy. But I could be wrong ;)

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No, that wasn't my implication. I was just stating that although the people of GR Township would like to believe that the East Beltline is rural, it's not rural.

O IC

"As the crow flies", it is probably only about 3 - 4 miles from downtown. I really don't know where an Urban Outfitters would set up by itself downtown that would be successful. As optimistic as I am about downtown, I just don't see it happening anytime soon.

How about them taking most of the Azzar building on Monroe Center? Every Urban Outfitters that I've been to has had multiple floors (I havent been to that many, so maybe Its some strange coincidence), but that would have great exposure and other retail around.

Is A.K. Rikks doing alright?

I went to their party the other night. It was pretty interesting; they had models standing on a stage in the middle of the party. There were a ton of people and I think to get an invite you had to have some connection to one of the sponsors (not sure about this), if this were any indication they are doing fine. It was also sponsored by aPear and a few other others, but I cant remember who exactly.

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Having an Urban Outfitters in the suburbs makes about as much sense as Urban House moving out to Cascade.

I've actually talked to Jim Jendrasiak (he's a friend of the family) about bringing this kind of development into downtown, and he was all for it. But true to his roots, he didn't believe the city should put any money into trying to make it happen.

I wonder if there is anyone in the city government that would be willing to push for this kind of development?

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* Alarms going off *

For the record, Schuler is not Borders. There is a relationship between the stores, but it is not the common "Borders with a different name" one. Borders has a sister company that provides inventory management and ordering capabilities for other stores. Schuler works with this arm of Borders for purchasing its books and for its in store inventory and POS software systems. This arm of Borders, however, is entirely separate from the actual retail stores, and Schuler remains a born-in-GR company with fully independent ownership and management, with no connection to Borders.

Sorry... former Schuler-ite who felt the need to correct a common misconception...

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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* Alarms going off *

For the record, Schuler is not Borders. There is a relationship between the stores, but it is not the common "Borders with a different name" one. Borders has a sister company that provides inventory management and ordering capabilities for other stores. Schuler works with this arm of Borders for purchasing its books and for its in store inventory and POS software systems. This arm of Borders, however, is entirely separate from the actual retail stores, and Schuler remains a born-in-GR company with fully independent ownership and management, with no connection to Borders.

Sorry... former Schuler-ite who felt the need to correct a common misconception...

BUt isnt it true that its Schuler's Bookstores who is keeping BOrders out of GR?

othereisw why would an Ann Arbor based business create a giant worldwide company and NOT have a store in GR?

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There's no real agreement between the companies that's keeping Borders out. The fact is that the Borders company makes a fairly good deal of money from their relationship with Schuler. Opening their own store in GR wouldn't necessarily benefit them. They'd stand to profit from the store, but would damage their relationship with a company that has 4 stores in GR and Lansing. They'd also be seen as the "invading company" coming in and hurting a local business...

So it's probably more the economics of the situation that keeps Borders out of GR.

BUt isnt it true that its Schuler's Bookstores who is keeping BOrders out of GR?

othereisw why would an Ann Arbor based business create a giant worldwide company and NOT have a store in GR?

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There's no real agreement between the companies that's keeping Borders out. The fact is that the Borders company makes a fairly good deal of money from their relationship with Schuler. Opening their own store in GR wouldn't necessarily benefit them. They'd stand to profit from the store, but would damage their relationship with a company that has 4 stores in GR and Lansing. They'd also be seen as the "invading company" coming in and hurting a local business...

So it's probably more the economics of the situation that keeps Borders out of GR.

Thanks for clearing up the misconception. I was also under the impression that Schuler's was another brand for Borders. If what you say is true, it is good to see an independent do so well in the chain dominated bookstore business.

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During a period of underemployment in my chosen profession, I worked at the main Schuler store as a book seller. It was a great job, though the pay was low, but as far as retail work goes it was great. Wonderful customers, good coworkers, incredible management/owners. Everything I know about the Borders/Schuler distinction comes straight from Schuler training--though I probably have broken some agreement of some sort by revealing as much as I have (LOL). At any rate, it's a constant frustration to the Schuler-ians that they are often considered to be the same as Borders.

There was one day in the Christmas season; I don't know if I was distracted, or what, but I actually answered the phone "Borders Books and Music"... I almost died of embarassment...

Thanks for clearing up the misconception. I was also under the impression that Schuler's was another brand for Borders. If what you say is true, it is good to see an independent do so well in the chain dominated bookstore business.
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I just read this section for the first time and I feel like I am going to throw-up. I just started working on the Downtown Branding Proposal from the city with suggestions to bring this sort of thing downtown. Basically all of the suggestions from UP forumers for downtown are being used in "The Village." Now we cannot bring the same stores downtown too. It sucks because any downtown projects of this nature would take years of city legislation approvals, but in the suburbs...anyone with money and an idea can build without difficulty.

While the outdoor structure of "The Village" mirrors some prinicpals of New Urbanism, where is the regional mindset that is so important to wise planning? The problem with GR (and its metro areas) retail is lack of density based on population. We can't remedy that by building yet another destination to drive cars to.

As much as businesses are out to compete with one another for our hard-earned dollars, there is a certain level of interdependence on the synergy created by density. It makes me sick to think that all the efforts to further develop downtown could be stifled by this suburban draw. There has been so much discussion about urban retail and its importance to a successful city, yet there is little we can do to thwart the ignornace of local developers. What ever happened to long-term thinking?

Maybe I am making too big of a deal about this, but I had such grand hopes for GR in 5-10 years. Developments like this make it tough to be an idealist. I may have to give Kevin at BDR a call...I thought they were moving in the right direction with their waterfront project in Grand Haven...I guess not.

-anne

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I think to blame BDR for anything is wrong. He saw an opportunity to buy land that would be a good investment, a project that would work economically, and help build his company. The process for them is not over yet (they haven't even gotten approval yet) and has hardly been easy. Is there a developer sitting on a piece of property downtown working on putting together something like this that we're not aware of? If this development will make it harder for particular downtown developers, then why don't they get off their asses and do something before BDR does? Why should BDR take a back seat to something that "may" happen in the future. Or is it just at the vision level. Visions are great to have, but they don't pay the bills.

Sorry acarlton, but my frustration over downtown developers (other than the major players) and retail right now is pretty high.

Edited by GRDadof3
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There was one day in the Christmas season; I don't know if I was distracted, or what, but I actually answered the phone "Borders Books and Music"... I almost died of embarassment...

That was you? lol (j/k)

Thanks for clearing this all up, now I feel smarter, and can one up my friends and coworkers with my knowledge (hehe)

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I think to blame BDR for anything is wrong. He saw an opportunity to buy land that would be a good investment, a project that would work economically, and help build his company. The process for them is not over yet (they haven't even gotten approval yet) and has hardly been easy. Is there a developer sitting on a piece of property downtown working on putting together something like this that we're not aware of? If this development will make it harder for particular downtown developers, then why don't they get off their asses and do something before BDR does? Why should BDR take a back seat to something that "may" happen in the future. Or is it just at the vision level. Visions are great to have, but they don't pay the bills.

Sorry acarlton, but my frustration over downtown developers (other than the major players) and retail right now is pretty high.

I agree GRDadof3 in terms of the economical reasoning behind BDR's plan. I don't really blame them, in fact I know Kevin Einfeld really well and he is a good guy with a realistic/smart business sense. He has found a niche in the Forest Hills/Cascade market and made a successful company from it.

But the fact that I like Kevin, doesn't diminish the frustration I have with the city being in competition with the susburban retail market for substantial stores. I realize that development is not marketable for the "common good" ...there needs to be an economic incentive. Do I wish GR developers would "get off their asses?" of course, but changing the perception that DT can sustain retail is far more difficult than adding a Banana Republic to Cascade.

So what is the solution? (we should really switch this conversation to the "Downtown Retail Thread")

I am not sure, but I believe we will get there. Its just frustrating playing the waiting game.

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I hope I didn't come off to gruff :blush: Since you (and a few others) might be closer to this than many of the rest of us, what is the hold up? Is available land too expensive? Not large enough? Too many regulations? What is the word amongst developers who already have a strong foothold downtown? That downtown retail is too risky?

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I hope I didn't come off to gruff :blush: Since you (and a few others) might be closer to this than many of the rest of us, what is the hold up? Is available land too expensive? Not large enough? Too many regulations? What is the word amongst developers who already have a strong foothold downtown? That downtown retail is too risky?

I have no idea, but I would guess that it is viewed as a more substantial risk to set up shop DT, as opposed to the 'burbs. And since land is more expensive DT, or at least similarly priced, the path of least resistance and least risk is the 'burbs. That's my view of it, anyways. All of us here think that businesses would do well DT, and many of them would, but I'd guess that more than a few retailers view setting up a downtown retail store as "sticking your neck out", so to speak. Thats my $0.02 anyways. ;)

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There needs to be a consolidated project or "mall" that smaller retailers, like Urban Outfitters, can jump on board to. There is nowhere near the residential population downtown for them to open up in a ground floor retail spot on Monroe Center or Ionia (in my opinion) and survive on their own. This project would act as an "anchor", just like a large department store, and would bring in enough activity to have other smaller retailers open up in the vicinity. Obviously, more housing downtown will help that as well. The question is, who will be the developer to step up to the plate to make it happen, even though it would be bold? It almost has to be a local developer teaming up with a national developer and architect. GR's dowtown is just too far off anyone's radar screen right now for a national developer to take notice, IMO.

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  • GRDadof3 changed the title to East Beltline Developments

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