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Gallery on Fulton

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I was visiting a friend in Boston a few years ago, and walked through Boston Common. In part of this park, we came upon a community garden, which I thought was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen in a city. The garden was probably twice the size of Fulton / Division, but it had been divided into smaller individual plots and a larger plot of land used for gardening vegetables.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_garden

Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies in the world, and with the big push to be green and sustainable, this would be showing other cities that we're thinking about this. Moreover, with all the condo developments downtown, what buyer wouldn't love the opportunity to have a city garden? I think this would be one of the most unique uses in the US, for a city our size, for this plot of land. And the Gallery on Fulton project wouldn't be dead in the water. This project could work in the lot occupied by the former JA building.

Edited by plee30

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Re-bid this. Let Cummings bid, too.

I think that at this point everyone should have another shot at this.

I get the funding aspect with the banks. But, I also get that different people will propose different uses and will get funding from different places.

It would not hurt to send this back out. If Sam's idea is still the preferred bid, then great. But the City should not single thread this any longer. I do not know of a single company that would operate this way after this much time.

Open it back up. See what we get back.

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:rofl: Exactly.

For those complaining about the added delay, ask yourselves this: Do I mind 60 more days of weeds or 3 - 5 years ofparking lot?

I just get the feeling it will be 3-5 years of more weeds.

I'll give Sam a lot of credit, he's done very well with rehabbing and restoring old buildings in GR. But getting something new off the ground isn't his strong suit. I wouldn't be shocked at all if this lot eventually gets sold to one of the Big Five (DeVos, VanAndel, Meijer, Secchia, Frey/Wege) Or is used for the city's benefit.

If this lot doesn't get developed, maybe the city should look into using it for it's own needs. It would be a great spot for a new City Hall, or even a PAC.

Edited by snoogit

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I was visiting a friend in Boston a few years ago, and walked through Boston Common. In part of this park, we came upon a community garden, which I thought was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen in a city. The garden was probably twice the size of Fulton / Division, but it had been divided into smaller individual plots and a larger plot of land used for gardening vegetables.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_garden

Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies in the world, and with the big push to be green and sustainable, this would be showing other cities that we're thinking about this. Moreover, with all the condo developments downtown, what buyer wouldn't love the opportunity to have a city garden? I think this would be one of the most unique uses in the US, for a city our size, for this plot of land. And the Gallery on Fulton project wouldn't be dead in the water. This project could work in the lot occupied by the former JA building.

Heartside Park has the community gardens although I never see anyone use them... I dont because I think the bums will just eat the food!

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Heartside Park has the community gardens although I never see anyone use them... I dont because I think the bums will just eat the food!

The largest Community Garden in the state is in the Fulton Heights neighborhood.

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Re-bid this. Let Cummings bid, too.

I think that at this point everyone should have another shot at this.

I get the funding aspect with the banks. But, I also get that different people will propose different uses and will get funding from different places.

It would not hurt to send this back out. If Sam's idea is still the preferred bid, then great. But the City should not single thread this any longer. I do not know of a single company that would operate this way after this much time.

Open it back up. See what we get back.

If this was someone other than Sam, I might agree that the city should be out of patience at this point. But Cummings has done enough intelligent and high quality deals in this city to get the benefit of the doubt.

Additionally, credit markets are horrible...and that's not really Sam's fault or the city's fault.

I'd imagine the city is hesitant to go down the path of rebidding at this point, since conditions might result in an embarassing lack interest, backing an actual project up even further, etc

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I'd imagine the city is hesitant to go down the path of rebidding at this point, since conditions might result in an embarassing lack interest, backing an actual project up even further, etc

That's why it was suggested to let him "re-bid" as well, the city already likes the plan, but the funding market isn't there. Who knows how long it's going to take for that to bounce back, or how long it will take for GR to meet the demands of what wants to be done with this project to satisfy investors.

Maybe a different project would have an easier time getting funding? I imagine the funding is based on all the "pieces" of the project, retail, hotel, condo, apartment, theater etc. What if there was a different mix of all that?

Scattered throughout this thread and others there has been talk about retail vacancy rates, class a/b/c/d/e office vacancy rates, condo vacancies etc etc... so why not go after something that would be an easier pitch?

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This needs to go back to the drawing board. Does the UICA even have the funding raised yet to even think of a possible move? Its undestandable that projects will hit a snag every now and then but if he cannot get this doen then let someone else have at it or look for other tenants.

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I just get the feeling it will be 3-5 years of more weeds.

I'll give Sam a lot of credit, he's done very well with rehabbing and restoring old buildings in GR. But getting something new off the ground isn't his strong suit. I wouldn't be shocked at all if this lot eventually gets sold to one of the Big Five (DeVos, VanAndel, Meijer, Secchia, Frey/Wege) Or is used for the city's benefit.

If this lot doesn't get developed, maybe the city should look into using it for it's own needs. It would be a great spot for a new City Hall, or even a PAC.

No, if it doesn't happen, it will eventually reach a point where Sam can't afford to keep adding to the non-refundable deposit. At that point, the city will most likely convert it to surface parking and try to make up for lost time/revenue. They won't open it up for new proposals, only to wait 2 - 3 years for another ground-breaking. They have a fiduciary responsibility to city taxpayers, and they won't risk the political fallout of opening it up for new bids, only to have no takers (as someone else alluded to), and even more time lost and not addressing the lack of parking serving that area (lost from the city centre ramp tear down). That's why I'm not too sad to see a weed lot. A weed lot in a bad economy at least leaves options open, IMO.

I think, and it seems like the city thinks, that there is not much to lose by granting the extension. 6 months ago I was irritated. Not now though.

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so when can we expect to see the ground breaking?

Who knows. 60 days, 120 days, years... if they only built that surface lot to begin with then the city could be collecting money while the developer plods through the process (financing, economy, credit crises, etc).

The city really is in a no-win situation. Take a delay on the project or re-bid with lukewarm results?

I would have to think that if the city was contacted by a developer with funding and a viable plan that would have resulted in immediate construction a re-bid process would've been offered a long time ago.

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The article today specifically says that the bank who was looking at funding this project pulled out 5 weeks ago. I think the financier who pulled the plug should be made public. No reason for the developer to take ALL the heat (I know, I know, never gonna happen).

http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ss....xml&coll=6

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The article today specifically says that the bank who was looking at funding this project pulled out 5 weeks ago. I think the financier who pulled the plug should be made public. No reason for the developer to take ALL the heat (I know, I know, never gonna happen).

http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ss....xml&coll=6

sez he _offered_ an additional 95k to the 25k non refundable he has in it. He probably has that much + in dd, meaning he'd be losing a lot of cash if he couldnt get it done. If he offered it, he's got it done.

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sez he _offered_ an additional 95k to the 25k non refundable he has in it. He probably has that much + in dd, meaning he'd be losing a lot of cash if he couldnt get it done. If he offered it, he's got it done.

You're right. I should have added that the article also says that he is working with a new financier to make it happen.

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An article in the Press this past weekend was pretty painful to read. Rockford Construction was ready to go with a signed CVS pharmacy and 66 apartments on this site two years ago. The project probably would have been finished by now, with a new pharmacy and new residents. The Rockford guy is right in that the decision seemed to come down to who had the prettiest rendering/vision, when in fact the winning proposal is much different than originally planned.

http://www.mlive.com/business/grpress/nanc....xml&coll=6

I wonder if Rockford would be willing to be on-call in case this latest extension falls through, or if it's all talk at this point?

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I wonder if Rockford would be willing to be on-call in case this latest extension falls through, or if it's all talk at this point?

If even RCC could get the funding...

And forgive me since i don't get the Press - but is this a news piece or an opinion piece?

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Did the drug store proposal call for a drive-through? That pretty much disqualified it as a good use of downtown land. I suppose if the drive-through were omitted, however, a corner drug store would be perfectly fine use of the land.

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I also don't buy the argument that paving the lot in the mean time would have produced any income for the city. Anybody paying for parking downtown likely used one of the other city lots. A parking lot at Fulton and Division would have probably just cost business from another city lot. It's not like there's unmet parking demand on Monroe Center. There are always spaces to be had in the existing ramps.

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If even RCC could get the funding...

And forgive me since i don't get the Press - but is this a news piece or an opinion piece?

Sorry. Opinion piece, Nancy Crawley.

I wonder too how much is hyperbole on the part of Rockford Construction. It's easy to say "Yeah, we could have had a building done by now" when you didn't really have to have a building done. I wouldn't mind a CVS there though, even if it had a drive-through window (even better actually), if it were in an inconspicuous spot (South side tucked into a parking ramp entrance/exit area maybe).

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None of the proposals, when first released, had much detail in their renderings, but I do recall that the Second Story proposal was much more glamorous then the Rockford proposal. If I'm not mistaken I think the Rockford deal did incorporate a drive through pharmacy too.

My question is why has CVS not found another downtown spot in the last five years, and why hasn't CVS been working with Sam on a deal to move into his complex? Or had they?

While I'm not wild about a drive through downtown it would seem that a CVS would actually work pretty well across the street at the old JA site. Seems it wouldn

Edited by mpchicago

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How quickly everyone forgets how poorly the CVS in Eastown turned out. They were asked to put in windows and make street friendly and they have them all blocked up. That is too important of a corner to let something like a CVS blight it for many years to come. IMHO

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Why is this a "gateway" to downtown? Isn't a gateway on the outskirts to create a visual entrance? Seems, kind of funny to have a gateway in the center of town.

Edited by Rizzo

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Although Rockford said they could start building ASAP and had CVS on board even during the proposal phase, so they seem consistent. I still think it was a pretty blah proposal.

The fact of the matter is, I'd rather see a weed-filled lot for a while than a crappy development that will be there for the next [x] number of years.

With that being said, I don't think they should give another extension after this one (I said that a year ago too). Next time, I think they should open it up for re-bid and see what happens. With the lower price tag, maybe there are developers who will pull the trigger.

One thing I'm interested in with the whole banking crisis (which I know is prevalant around the world), but I wonder why some of these developers don't go outside of West Michigan and even the US to banks in the UK. The dollar is so weak vs. the pound, the entire US is like a big 60% off sale. :)

Joe

Sorry. Opinion piece, Nancy Crawley.

I wonder too how much is hyperbole on the part of Rockford Construction. It's easy to say "Yeah, we could have had a building done by now" when you didn't really have to have a building done. I wouldn't mind a CVS there though, even if it had a drive-through window (even better actually), if it were in an inconspicuous spot (South side tucked into a parking ramp entrance/exit area maybe).

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Here are the three originals again, with Rockford's on the far right:

2397660372_0cd6bac762_o.jpg

5 stories was Rockford's proposal. That might be one of the reasons it was deemed "not exciting enough".

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I dont think the city would have let cvs get away with something like they did in eastown downtown the area is too important. I think a pharmacy downtown would be a great idea with all the medical facilities going up on Michigan its odd that there isn't a major pharmacy in the core. One pharmacy on all of medical mile :huh:

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