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345 State St


GRDadof3

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I think people tend to throw the term "cookie cutter" around too much, or they're using it in the wrong context. Go to Baltimore or Washington DC and you'll see mile after mile of "cookie cutter" brick rowhouses built in the 19th and early 20th Century. They all basically look the same, for blocks and blocks. But it doesn't look bad AT ALL. 

Like the word gentrification.

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7 hours ago, GR_Urbanist said:

I think you just have some seriously problem sharing a neighborhood with people that cant afford to by an 120 year old mansion or a high-priced condo, and that all of these people walking around "your" neighborhood just sticks in your craw. Goodness knows neither of these projects are going to logically affect you in any way shape or form. There is a fine line between "caring" about HH and just flat-out being an unreasonable obstructionist, and this line is crossed far too many times in this town because 99% of the "objections" are just some crank going on about how the people that MAY live there might have loud parties or make noise or "commit crime" or something about traffic. Because young and renting = dangerous or something. And when none of that occurs, then they pat themselves on the back and make it seem like their carping stopped it.

You have to view this in context, though.  For years the drive in Heritage Hill has been to "de-densify" it.  It was built and designed primarily as a single family neighborhood which became far, far too dense in the eyes of many.  The recent proposals turn what was viewed as progress forward on its head, to some extent.  The recent proposals are also the largest, if not only, proposals in Heritage Hill in many decades (including 345 State).  345 State created mass chaos, but ultimately Karl Chew turned out to be a fairly responsive developer to neighborhood concerns.  He also included a fairly substantial amount of parking, which always seems to be neighborhood concern #1.  

I also think it is true that renters by and large do not have the same investment in a neighborhood as owners do.  Historically, Heritage Hill had (and still does have) one of the highest percentages of rental units or absentee-owned units in the whole city.  The houses suffering the worst neglect by and large were and are these units.  

That said, that Heritage Hill (and the West Side) are both near-downtown neighborhoods cannot be avoided.  Some increase in density is to be expected in a booming market.  Whether these investments work out over the long term remains to be seen.  In the short term, though, the question is what increase is appropriate.

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1 hour ago, x99 said:

You have to view this in context, though.  For years the drive in Heritage Hill has been to "de-densify" it.  It was built and designed primarily as a single family neighborhood which became far, far too dense in the eyes of many.  The recent proposals turn what was viewed as progress forward on its head, to some extent.  The recent proposals are also the largest, if not only, proposals in Heritage Hill in many decades (including 345 State).  345 State created mass chaos, but ultimately Karl Chew turned out to be a fairly responsive developer to neighborhood concerns.  He also included a fairly substantial amount of parking, which always seems to be neighborhood concern #1.  

I also think it is true that renters by and large do not have the same investment in a neighborhood as owners do.  Historically, Heritage Hill had (and still does have) one of the highest percentages of rental units or absentee-owned units in the whole city.  The houses suffering the worst neglect by and large were and are these units.  

That said, that Heritage Hill (and the West Side) are both near-downtown neighborhoods cannot be avoided.  Some increase in density is to be expected in a booming market.  Whether these investments work out over the long term remains to be seen.  In the short term, though, the question is what increase is appropriate.

I ultimately see State St. as an arm of Downtown and Uptown that is begging for greater numbers of residential units from Madison to Jefferson. It is a major corridor for automobile, bus, bike, and foot traffic between East Hills, and points further east, and the DT area. It's just is too important to not take a chance on at least the Clark's project because this issue is going to come to a head sooner or later of what type of resident will want to locate to a place like this, and there just is no way a little friction can be avoided up front. I think the car will likely lose out as the units will be taken by car-less students and young adults, especially if a grocery is located on the bottom floor.

And while Renters do not have the same investment, I dont think it's due to them being just nonchalant and being "transient" as sometimes they are described. They, by virtue of their status, cant engage in home remodeling/improvement, gardening (for the most part) or building renovations. They have a tiny space, with lots of rules as to what they can and cannot touch. I just believe it will never be fair to lay the blame for any unkempt buildings, which I honestly dont think is even a major issue in HH as all my time in and around it seems to show it as clean and reasonably possible. We just had a massive single-family mansion on Lafayette that just went through an expensive renovation because it was too big to maintain by the owners and almost had to be condemned, so I think both sides have struggles.  Home owners just have the green light to engage (and expectation to) in external maintenance, not so much that they are always good at it.

I do think think that most people that rent in HH take as much pride in being residents there as any long-time owner, though. It was a wonderful experience for myself to live in a district like that and never just saw it as the same as  *shudder* Ramblewood.

 Some increase in density is to be expected in a booming market.  Whether these investments work out over the long term remains to be seen.  In the short term, though, the question is what increase is appropriate.

That's what makes it exciting in the end. The risks are there, but the rewards could mean all the difference. :)

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4 hours ago, x99 said:

You have to view this in context, though.  For years the drive in Heritage Hill has been to "de-densify" it.

This has always greatly bothered me.  On the HH tours I would often hear about how they're trying to get rid of the apartments and convert everything back to single family.  I am a renter.  I -love- HH.  I have no need for a whole house, all I need is a room and a kitchen.  I can't afford a whole house either, but that doesn't mean I'm some scrub who doesn't contribute to the economy, either.  This notion of de-densyifying the neighbourhood pushes people out who already live there and -like- living there.

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17 hours ago, x99 said:

You have to view this in context, though.  For years the drive in Heritage Hill has been to "de-densify" it.  It was built and designed primarily as a single family neighborhood which became far, far too dense in the eyes of many.  The recent proposals turn what was viewed as progress forward on its head, to some extent.  The recent proposals are also the largest, if not only, proposals in Heritage Hill in many decades (including 345 State).  345 State created mass chaos, but ultimately Karl Chew turned out to be a fairly responsive developer to neighborhood concerns.  He also included a fairly substantial amount of parking, which always seems to be neighborhood concern #1.  

I also think it is true that renters by and large do not have the same investment in a neighborhood as owners do.  Historically, Heritage Hill had (and still does have) one of the highest percentages of rental units or absentee-owned units in the whole city.  The houses suffering the worst neglect by and large were and are these units.  

That said, that Heritage Hill (and the West Side) are both near-downtown neighborhoods cannot be avoided.  Some increase in density is to be expected in a booming market.  Whether these investments work out over the long term remains to be seen.  In the short term, though, the question is what increase is appropriate.

There is always a sweet spot where the ratio of rental units to owner occupied is at its best equilibrium. I don't remember where that lies but I think it's around 30 - 35% rentals to owned. The city of Kentwood realized it had gone way over that ratio about 10 years ago (?) and put a moratorium on new rental complexes, and highly encouraged single family home developments. 

Obviously the HH fight goes all the way back to urban renewal days and you can see how disastrous it would have been in HH if some of the apartment complexes along Lafayette and College had become the norm. But then again, these two projects are not replacing any homes. The social security building is horrible as it stands now, and so is the party store. 

I can also agree that parking IS an issue in GR, and will get worse before it gets better (will it ever get better). If people think there aren't parking fights and issues in bigger cities though, you don't know any local elected officials in those cities. The only difference is that if you have enough money, you get parking anywhere you want if you know who to pay off. I don't think that happens much here in GR.

 

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10 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

There is always a sweet spot where the ratio of rental units to owner occupied is at its best equilibrium. I don't remember where that lies but I think it's around 30 - 35% rentals to owned. The city of Kentwood realized it had gone way over that ratio about 10 years ago (?) and put a moratorium on new rental complexes, and highly encouraged single family home developments. 

Obviously the HH fight goes all the way back to urban renewal days and you can see how disastrous it would have been in HH if some of the apartment complexes along Lafayette and College had become the norm. But then again, these two projects are not replacing any homes. The social security building is horrible as it stands now, and so is the party store. 

I can also agree that parking IS an issue in GR, and will get worse before it gets better (will it ever get better). If people think there aren't parking fights and issues in bigger cities though, you don't know any local elected officials in those cities. The only difference is that if you have enough money, you get parking anywhere you want if you know who to pay off. I don't think that happens much here in GR.

 

I don't think that heritage hill "needs" more density and I don't think that there is a problem with it being a wealthy enclave either.  there are plenty of other places to rent apartments in the immediate vicinity.  Not to mention that at the current rate of multifamily to single family conversions it will take about 100 years to reach the optimum ratio of rental to owner occupied units.  

 

one of the problems with HH with regards to run down owner occupied homes is that they were probably purchased when property values were much lower than they are now. the excessive number of rentals probably directly contributed to this problem.  these are homes are expensive to maintain in many instances and just because you can afford to buy some 5000 square foot home for 100k doesn't mean that you can afford to have it repainted or re-roofed for 25k.  allowing the home values to increase and creating a "wealthy enclave" is one way of ensuring that the people purchasing the homes can afford to maintain them.  

 

the major problems with most rental properties in HH is that a large number of them are owned by absentee landlords.  this is the real problem with HH.  thankfully it is becoming less and less of a problem but there is a long way to go, especially north of Cherry.

 

 I do think that it isn't a good place to try to have a car free lifestyle. There needs to be an adequate drug and grocery store before that is possible. Putting in a huge number of micro rentals without parking is a bad idea in my opinion.  this is especially true in the state street area where Stuyvesant and 345 State street development already divert folks to street parking.  

 

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  • 1 year later...
On 7/17/2016 at 11:36 PM, Morris said:

From Heritage Hill:

50 College Ave. SE, former medical and Social Security building: No application has been submitted for the development of this site (as of July). Orion Construction invited HHA input on their preliminary plan for four, 4-unit buildings along College Avenue (about the size of a large house) and an L-shaped apartment building (due to the grade of the site, four stories from the west & almost three from the east). The driveway would be moved to the north edge. Several members of the 50 College Report met with Orion on June 27 to provide its perspective. The project is consistent with the recommendations in the 50 College Report and several suggestions were readily received by Orion. Orion requested an advisory opinion by the Historic Preservation Commission to ensure the development was headed in the right direction. If this project moves forward, there will be additional opportunities for association and resident input. 363 State St. SE – Old Clark's Market: HHA Executive Committee and Zoning Committee members met with the architects and the potential developer on June 20 to learn more about the building proposed. The developer wants to tear down the existing building and build 71 (or fewer, depending on mix of sizes) micro-units (four stories on State with ground level retail and three stories along Madison). About 36 parking spaces are proposed. An advisory opinion from the Historic Preservation Committee was requested. Again, if this project moves forward, we expect additional input meetings with the developer.

 

They've gone vertical on the 50 College Ave project.   There's a 3 or 4 story stairwell that has gone up.

Not sure where else this topic should be.

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