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GRDadof3

New Apartment Complex at Lake Michigan & Lexington

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"Grand Valley has become a problem and not an asset," said First Ward Commissioner James Jendrasiak...

WOW! That's an unexpected comment from a city commissioner.

Very unexpected, and completely out of line since GVSU is not building this apartment complex. I think GVSU has done some tremendous things for downtown. I wonder if we'll see a "clarification statement" from the City (Heartwell). He will if he knows what's good for him.

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Very unexpected, and completely out of line since GVSU is not building this apartment complex. I think GVSU has done some tremendous things for downtown. I wonder if we'll see a "clarification statement" from the City (Heartwell). He will if he knows what's good for him.

My guess is that anyone that would like to run for office in that area against this guy is going to clip this quote for future reference and use...regardless if retracted or explained, my guess is that it's going to hurt this guy in the long-run.

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My guess is that anyone that would like to run for office in that area against this guy is going to clip this quote for future reference and use...regardless if retracted or explained, my guess is that it's going to hurt this guy in the long-run.

I assume you have to live in the district you're running in? Otherwise I'd actually consider running against this guy!

-nb, 2002 GVSU Alumnus and former West Side resident

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J.J. probably won't have much trouble being elected again. He has a track record with the West Side.

How many residents are there in the west side district? With 1,000 GVSU students calling that area home, anyone that concentrates on that group might have a fighting shot at winning a commissioner post. I am surprised no political science majors at the University have considered doing this before :huh:

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"Grand Valley has become a problem and not an asset," said First Ward Commissioner James Jendrasiak...

WOW! That's an unexpected comment from a city commissioner.

Yo, J.J.! What about those zoning code violations on your personal residence, as pointed out by your opponent in the last election?

Sheesh.

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Sounds like Jendresiak likes status quo for his little 'ole West Side. It's probably driving up his property taxes and the new neighbors are complaining about his humble abode.

Joe

Yo, J.J.! What about those zoning code violations on your personal residence, as pointed out by your opponent in the last election?

Sheesh.

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New residents = new ideas = no job for JJ. You can only keep the status quo for so long especially with GVSU's rapid growth. Its only a matter of time if GVSU keeps this up that area of town becomes known as its own distinct neighborhood seperate from the rest of the west side.

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If a GVSU student or alum would run for a position in the ward, they would be up against a First Ward that encompasses not only the West side, but the northwest, southwest, south, and south east side. It's quite large and goes through many different social-economic areas of the city. I don't think you could simply cut and past JJ's quote and expect many to vote considerably against him. Besides hes there to 2009 I believe, plenty of time to redeem himself if you will. There's not that much contention or energy in commish races, but I remember that Bliss did run an invigorating race...

I don't know if you could really get GVSU students to vote in their ward especially if they aren't originally from GR. I'm not underestimating the alum or student, but I don't really think this would be an issue for them if one commish didn't vote a 'right' way.

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Ok, well the first thing to remember is the history of this property. 2002, three homes were illegally demolished in order to create an empty lot. At that point the neighborhood objected and said,"Hold on", why are you demolishing homes without a permit." The neighborhood was already smarting from losing 16 blocks of neighborhood to Downtown Development. I am not sure how familiar you are with the Kroon House, but it was a man who held out and his home sat in the middle of the DDA lots for 10 years before he was carted out of his home near death. The landowner, Jeff Boorsma, inherited the land through his father-in-law Dick Leonard. Leonard had died a year or two before and all the land was left to his daughter who was married to Boorsma. The neighbors objected to the demolition without a permit and the matter was brought before the planning commission. At the planning commission, Boorsma, the landowner proposed two duplexes and a single family home to replace the structures he had demolished without a permit. The planning commission approved approved the plans for the two duplexes and single-family home, although planning commissioners thought the architectural plans were severely flawed. Foe example, they faced away from Lake Michigan Drive and didn't fit the character of the neighborhood, which is century old two-story homes. The neighborhood association appealed. At that point a mediation was set up between Jendrasiak, Schmidt, neighborhood association representatives and a deal was worked out to satisfy everyone. It was called a win-win. Boorsma was to look into constructing homes similar to the ICCF homes on Jefferson SE that fit into the neighborhood. He agreed and everything was expected to be fine after that. Neighbors at that point expressed to the GR Press that Boorsma had no intention of building the homes at all. Boorsma's reply was, " I have every intention of building the homes. The years went by and the lot remained empty. The only action on it was that it was used for parking for construction personnel working on the YMCA. The neighborhood assocaition did not complain until neighbors finally took a stand about an empty lot being used as a parking lot and the zoning department shut the makeshift parking lot down. Fast forward to 2006. A group of developers approached the neighbors and announced they were intending to build an 84 -unit apartment building with 4000 sq feet of retail. The neighborhood appreciated at least being informed of the intention and surveyed, objectively, the neighbors. The concerns about parking, traffic and an influx of transient renters was alarming to neighbors. The original proposal went to the planning commission and was defeated because it had insufficient parking 84 units and retail and 26 parking spaces. So, the developer retooled and came back with a 69 unit proposal with 4000 sq feet of retail. Their new proposal included a month-to-month lease for spaces in the DDA lot across the street and the threat to tear down a really nice home on a double-lot to provide 26 additional spaces. The new proposal would leave a single family home on an island between a parking lot and a 3 story building. The DDA spaces were month-to-month and so 69 units with 2 bedrooms marketed to students would be essentially a privatized dormatory with 50 parking spaces. The neighborhood reacted adversely because 2006 has brought the worst GVSU parking situation. GVSU students are now lining the streets 4 blocks into the neighborhood while the massive GVSU parking structure remains under-utilized. Neighbors shot back at the assertion that students are not car-dependent. They are. Now, in 2002 Jeff Boorsma met with city commissioners and declared publically that his intenmtion was to build two duplexes and a single-family home. He made a deal with the city commisioners and gave his word. That never happened. When he came back in 2006 and tried to re-write history commissioners did not take kindly to it. 69 multi-bed units and 400 sq feet of retail on 3/4 acre that had to be constructed so densely because in the words of the developer, " it's the only way we can make a profit" means that the price was being set far to high. Boorsma claimed he couldn't afford to construct the two duplexes and the single-family home because the price was too high, but between 2002 and 2006 has aquired multiple properties for approximately $100,000 each when the owner was aware of the value of the value of their land, smacks untrue. It's no suprise that the West Side commisioners voted him down. You can fool some people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all of the time. The developer was fairly forthwith, coming before the West Grand Rapids Planning Committee and neighborhood organizations. A development of say, townhouses, as proposed near 1st street would create a buy-in and be an asset to the neighborhood and business associations. 14 townhouses, brownstone. Maybe the price is too high. Good job by the neighborhood assocaition Tom over there has done a very fine job. He went door-to-door for the association and really found out what the neighbors were thinking.

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grateful -- thank you for that, it certainly filled me into the some of the inner workings that I wasn't aware of.

also, fox news stated it was possible that the developer can appeal the decision. any chance it revises the plan for resubmission?

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grateful -- thank you for that, it certainly filled me into the some of the inner workings that I wasn't aware of.

also, fox news stated it was possible that the developer can appeal the decision. any chance it revises the plan for resubmission?

It would be possible to construct 14 townhomes there with high-quality construction and create a buy-in by professionals. It would work. It would be profitable for everyone, developer, "evil land-banker" and the long-term health of the area. The homes there, are moderately sized and in an ideal location, with a little bit of work they will be paramount to the success of downtown. In larger cities, there are neighborhoods like this near downtown and they are always successful. 10 years ago these homes were worth $20,000, 10 years from now, if they are still there, they will be worth $250,000 and they will lend vitality to the downtown.

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Ok, well the first thing to blah blah blah

edit: never mind. This is so silly.

But it doesn't matter now.

It would be possible to construct 14 townhomes there with high-quality construction and create a buy-in by professionals. It would work. It would be profitable for everyone, developer, "evil land-banker" and the long-term health of the area. The homes there, are moderately sized and in an ideal location, with a little bit of work they will be paramount to the success of downtown. In larger cities, there are neighborhoods like this near downtown and they are always successful. 10 years ago these homes were worth $20,000, 10 years from now, if they are still there, they will be worth $250,000 and they will lend vitality to the downtown.

So you've done the research on the local market, and performed the pro-forma on this? Looks pretty profitable eh?

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Nothing like holding GVSU and this new developer responsible for issues that you have with Boorsma. And shouldn't you be taking your hostilities out on the City for knocking down 16 blocks of homes for surface parking lots, instead of the students at GVSU?

How is Kroon's house being preserved and cared for now?

You're wrong. No one will buy $200,000 townhomes there along Lake Michigan Drive. Trust me. In larger cities, yes there are neighborhoods like this, but they are not "always successful". You can't pull random successful neighborhoods near the loop in Chicago and even attempt a comparison to the near West side.

You jump to wild conclusions GRDadof3. Midtown Atlanta, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington all have areas similar to the lower west side. At one point they were considered an obstruction to progress. ...on that note, the City Hall and County Building and even Heritage Hill, were considered an obstruction to success. Well, that's Urban Renewal thinking. Boorsma is simply a businessman looking to cash in every way he can. I can appreciate that on some levels, but I also know through reading and travelling that the lower west side homes are going to be prime housing stock in the near future. Friends of mine in the South Hill area have 3 furnaces to heat their mammoth abandoned mansions. In the age of high energy costs, people are going to want more effecient homes to own, and spaces for gardens and to be near downtown. The townhouses will be as succesful as the ones constructed by Broadway and 1st. They are steps away from the YMCA and a teriffic coffee roasting factory with retail and right on the doorstep of downtown. Not everyone wants to live in a loft, some people want lawns and gardens right downtown.

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You jump to wild conclusions GRDadof3. Midtown Atlanta, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington all have areas similar to the lower west side. At one point they were considered an obstruction to progress. ...on that note, the City Hall and County Building and even Heritage Hill, were considered an obstruction to success. Well, that's Urban Renewal thinking. Boorsma is simply a businessman looking to cash in every way he can. I can appreciate that on some levels, but I also know through reading and travelling that the lower west side homes are going to be prime housing stock in the near future. Friends of mine in the South Hill area have 3 furnaces to heat their mammoth abandoned mansions. In the age of high energy costs, people are going to want more effecient homes to own, and spaces for gardens and to be near downtown. The townhouses will be as succesful as the ones constructed by Broadway and 1st. They are steps away from the YMCA and a teriffic coffee roasting factory with retail and right on the doorstep of downtown. Not everyone wants to live in a loft, some people want lawns and gardens right downtown.

and blah, blah. blah see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Time out for you. I really like your pictures though.

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and blah, blah. blah see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Time out for you. I really like your pictures though.

I just watched that today... other then Bruster's Millions, this has got to be my second favorite Pryor appearence.

b00004wi7802lzzzzzzzvs2.jpg

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You jump to wild conclusions GRDadof3. Midtown Atlanta, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington all have areas similar to the lower west side. At one point they were considered an obstruction to progress. ...on that note, the City Hall and County Building and even Heritage Hill, were considered an obstruction to success. Well, that's Urban Renewal thinking. Boorsma is simply a businessman looking to cash in every way he can. I can appreciate that on some levels, but I also know through reading and travelling that the lower west side homes are going to be prime housing stock in the near future. Friends of mine in the South Hill area have 3 furnaces to heat their mammoth abandoned mansions. In the age of high energy costs, people are going to want more effecient homes to own, and spaces for gardens and to be near downtown. The townhouses will be as succesful as the ones constructed by Broadway and 1st. They are steps away from the YMCA and a teriffic coffee roasting factory with retail and right on the doorstep of downtown. Not everyone wants to live in a loft, some people want lawns and gardens right downtown.

A couple of things:

You can't look at near downtown neighborhoods of the cities you listed and automatically think that the near West side of GR will become the same. I can just as easily find near downtown neighborhoods in Cleveland, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Pittsburgh, Chicago and a slew of other cities that are burned out rat-holes, even though you can walk to downtown.

Secondly, you can't judge the success of Broadway and 1st when they haven't even started demolition yet. They may be a total flop. In case you haven't heard, the housing market is bad and is getting worse (here and all over the country).

Thirdly, speaking of urban renewal, where are the West side residents now when a great piece of craftsmanship and architecture is going to get the wrecking ball for Broadway and 1st (the church and nunnery)?

I look forward to your responses (and your response to my question about researching the market that hasn't been answered yet), but I'll have to check back tomorrow. I appreciate the compliment on the pictures, but I think you're wrong.

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Ok, well the first thing to remember is the history of this property. 2002, three homes were illegally demolished in order to create an empty lot. ...

I always try to find out why things happen the way they do. Although I don't agree that a few townhouses and/or detached homes are feasible or appropriate for this site, I do appreciate knowing the history.

Jim Jendrasiac mentioned at the City Commission meeting tonight that he felt the land owner had made promises to the city with no intension of keeping them. JJ did apologize if he had hurt anyone after the land owner ripped him for comments JJ made at the Committee of the Whole meeting this morning. JJ left the CC meeting after his apology.

The politics of rezoning approvals is an art and I don't think that this project was well represented at any of the meetings. Unfortunately, it went down so hard that it will be a long time before the commission will want to consider a similar proposal.

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A couple of things:

You can't look at near downtown neighborhoods of the cities you listed and automatically think that the near West side of GR will become the same. I can just as easily find near downtown neighborhoods in Cleveland, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Pittsburgh, Chicago and a slew of other cities that are burned out rat-holes, even though you can walk to downtown.

Secondly, you can't judge the success of Broadway and 1st when they haven't even started demolition yet. They may be a total flop. In case you haven't heard, the housing market is bad and is getting worse (here and all over the country).

Thirdly, speaking of urban renewal, where are the West side residents now when a great piece of craftsmanship and architecture is going to get the wrecking ball for Broadway and 1st (the church and nunnery)?

I look forward to your responses (and your response to my question about researching the market that hasn't been answered yet), but I'll have to check back tomorrow. I appreciate the compliment on the pictures, but I think you're wrong.

The difference being that the near west side is not a , "burned-out rat hole" that is a common misconception. I have been shocked by the beautiful architectural features that exist in these homes that you descfribe as, " rat-holes." Currently these structures are inhabited by the poor. Absentee landlords control many of them. I have been in some of them and seen beautiful beveled leaded glass windows, carved staricases, wood floors, and although many of them need upgrading it in=s not a big job to do so. Comparing Grand Rapids to Cleveland or Detroit. ...even suggesting Detroit ruins your credibility with me. ...what do you mean brush park. ...Detroit is what New York would have been had it failed horribly. The population demographics are all off. St. Louis. ...no. Grand Rapids is in a unique class of population and density. Portland, Oregon would be closer than Cleveland or Pittsburg.

I agree with other posters in this forum that the church near Broadway & 1st should be integrated into the development in the West Grand Neighborhood. That would be visionary. Do I expect it to happen? probably not, because I am skeptical about the long-range vision of Grand Rapids developers. They like the idea of the quick buck here.

Grand Rapids is suffering because of a propensity to sprawl, driven by developers. The developers seem to feel like there is a never ending supply of fossil fuel to subsidize life in the former apple, cherry orchards that are now ugly 5000 sq foot McMansion farms. Many of which are condo. That's all grwat if you feel like fossil fuel is going to last forever, but even the Arab states are warning that there is a limit on this fossil fuel bonanza.

So, in the future when we are starving for transportation fuel do we want a bunch of apartments near our work centers or do we want homes? The homes on the lower west side, by national standards are dirt cheap, buy them now and fix them up and you are making a sound investment. Tear them down and build apartments and you have well, nothing.

I have visited many core city areas throughout the US and the lower west side of Grand Rapids, has a tremendous amount of potential. Granted, there are structures that are inferior, but there are diamonds and dignified smaller homes with wonderful features that have not yet been discovered by urban pioneers. All the pieces are here, it is just a matter of time before the area is populated by people who want what the area has to offer. Pushing out absentee landlords is not difficult, in my study of the area I hqave watched them peel off as vlues rise. The real struggle is determining whether the area is going to be a healthy community or astudent ghetto.

GVSU isn't the enemy, it has brought a healthy presence to the curb appeal of the area, but the real change will come from professionals investing in these properties and making them their own.

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The difference being that the near west side is not a , "burned-out rat hole" that is a common misconception. I have been shocked by the beautiful architectural features that exist in these homes that you descfribe as, " rat-holes." Currently these structures are inhabited by the poor. Absentee landlords control many of them. I have been in some of them and seen beautiful beveled leaded glass windows, carved staricases, wood floors, and although many of them need upgrading it in=s not a big job to do so. Comparing Grand Rapids to Cleveland or Detroit. ...even suggesting Detroit ruins your credibility with me. ...what do you mean brush park. ...Detroit is what New York would have been had it failed horribly. The population demographics are all off. St. Louis. ...no. Grand Rapids is in a unique class of population and density. Portland, Oregon would be closer than Cleveland or Pittsburg.

I agree with other posters in this forum that the church near Broadway & 1st should be integrated into the development in the West Grand Neighborhood. That would be visionary. Do I expect it to happen? probably not, because I am skeptical about the long-range vision of Grand Rapids developers. They like the idea of the quick buck here.

Grand Rapids is suffering because of a propensity to sprawl, driven by developers. The developers seem to feel like there is a never ending supply of fossil fuel to subsidize life in the former apple, cherry orchards that are now ugly 5000 sq foot McMansion farms. Many of which are condo. That's all grwat if you feel like fossil fuel is going to last forever, but even the Arab states are warning that there is a limit on this fossil fuel bonanza.

So, in the future when we are starving for transportation fuel do we want a bunch of apartments near our work centers or do we want homes? The homes on the lower west side, by national standards are dirt cheap, buy them now and fix them up and you are making a sound investment. Tear them down and build apartments and you have well, nothing.

I have visited many core city areas throughout the US and the lower west side of Grand Rapids, has a tremendous amount of potential. Granted, there are structures that are inferior, but there are diamonds and dignified smaller homes with wonderful features that have not yet been discovered by urban pioneers. All the pieces are here, it is just a matter of time before the area is populated by people who want what the area has to offer. Pushing out absentee landlords is not difficult, in my study of the area I hqave watched them peel off as vlues rise. The real struggle is determining whether the area is going to be a healthy community or astudent ghetto.

GVSU isn't the enemy, it has brought a healthy presence to the curb appeal of the area, but the real change will come from professionals investing in these properties and making them their own.

Well good luck to you. I hope you're right.

BTW: I didn't say the West side was a rat hole. Go back and re-read my post.

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The near west side is certainly not a rat hole. What we are seeing here in regards to the development pressures, alleged land banking and the friction between residents and developers is proof that there is a tremendous amount of interest in this area. This interest is not going to go away. The west side has excellent bones, it has excellent location, it has two viable institutions (GVSU and John Ball Zoo) as anchors and it has many sound, locally owned businesses in its business corridors. It is also very compact and walkable, something that was highlighted in a Dan Burden walkability study a few years back. Dan Burden is a nationally recognized walkability expert.

We have walked the "West Side" neighborhoods with two out of town developers from the East side of the state. These developers are both very astute at developing urban places, they both think that the West Side has excellent potential. While neither is directly planning anything at this time because of committments in Ann Arbor and Detroit, it is on their radar.

As far as market research goes, I know that the developers that we are working with have done it and it seems to be favorable. I would have to assume that if there is that much interest in the area, that someone knows something, they are not proposing to spend millions of dollars on a whim, without having some kind of study completed.

Additionally, back in 2004 Zimmerman-Volk did a market analysis of the region (Kent and Ottawa Co.) for the GVMC. Zimmerman-Volk is a nationally recognized firm for market studies. The study is calibrated to the transect. T6 is the most urban core area and T5 is the next step down. The near west side may resemble T5.

Yearly market capture for towhouses in the more urban zones (indicated as T6 and T5) is 50 in T6 and 105 in T5. Since 2004, there has been very little capture within these zones for townhouses. If we are looking for 155 townhouse units in the more urban areas per year, then we are behind. Link to executive summary is below:

http://www.gvmc.org/landuse/documents/ExecSummaryPM.pdf

While the housing market is bad and getting worse, there are pockets where it is doing better. Those areas in core, walkable downtown and near downtown districts are doing better than average. There is still demand for housing in these areas, particularly in cities that are borderline vibrant (like GR). Additionally the housing market as it relates to greenfield New Urban communities does not seem to be that bad. The demand for these areas continues, and many of the firms designing and building these projects are expanding. Where the market seems to be soft is in the suburban fringes, where production builders have overbuilt relatively poor quality, excessively large homes all priced in generally about the same range. I guess they needed to do more market analysis.

Finally, going back to the Broadway and First urban renewal issue. It may well be urban renewal, not going to argue there. The loss of the church is really too bad, I agree. Every loss of a building like this is somewhat detrimental to the history of the city. I find it somewhat hopeful that so many people have such strong feelings about the loss of this building. What I find troubling is the lack of concern over the Israels building that was torn down for the new hotel. The Israels building was a wonderfully executed storefront that was in an excellent location and has been replaced by a building that is nothing more than yet another glass box. Is it OK because the new hotel is a tall building? It sometimes seems that many people here think that as long as we build tall buildings than everything is all good. There is no difference between what happened at the Milner hotel or the Israels building and this church. All was urban renewal, good or bad.

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Grateful,

If you know that the West side will be a great success, why don't you put some your name and your money on the line and do what you see is the right for the West Side. It is one thing to say a lot of things should have or could have been different from the side lines, but it is a totally different situation when your name & money are on the lines.

BTW: GRDad, didn't call the West Side a rat hole, so please re-read his post.

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Doesn't the GR-Master Plan show Steward as a "main" North-South street completed with a fixed transit line and deemed "higher" density? Was there any objections (from residents or commissioners) when these plans were approved? Are they going to have to be changed or updated? Are we going to have high density on the East side of Seward and sigle homes on the west side? I understand that there are and will always be people that would like to have a house with a yard, but will they want "high" density and a fixed transit line across the street? Or will we be hearing from residents and NIMBYs about how it shouldn't be that way?

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Preface:

His is just my personal opinion, not garned by any reasoning, only observations:

I think the West Side has more potential, and a better chance at being more dense then the east side of the river.

One of the articles I have read stated that on the west sides its only 60 feet to bedrock. What this means is that the west side is more suited for your highrises, and major structures. I have a feeling the west side with its flat geography, and shallow bedrock will combine to be more desireable then the inner core is today. Now what is my biggest concern for the west side?

My concern is that while we might get some great tall structures over there, it could if done improperly, and end up like Southfield. A lot of tall buildings, but a completely unwalkable, inhospitable atmosphere. The west side shows more potential then the current inner core does, and that my friends is what will make it special.

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