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michaelskis

Sustaining the construction momentum

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There is no doubt that there is a little bit of construction going on in downtown right now. While many of us are not a fan of road closure, however almost all of us realize how much the new construction will help the city.

But what can WE do to continue the construction boom? What can we do to continue to get developers interested in Downtown Grand Rapids? While we realize that a good bit of the responsibility falls on our Civic Leaders, I think that there is a lot that we can do.

One thing that I am going to do is E-mail a few people who have developments in Philly and Reading PA. One of them took a former industrial factory that built machine parts, renovated the building, and turned into an industrial themed restaurant/bar/ entertainment building kind of like Dave and Busters. You walk in and see this massive old drill press on a platform behind an indoor fountain. The Restaurant/entertainment area is two stories and then they have offices on the third and residential lofts on the upper floors. The top floor and roof are a second restaurant.

With Grand Rapids industrial past, something like this would fit in very well.

What else can be done to promote and encourage more and continuous development for downtown?

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There is no doubt that there is a little bit of construction going on in downtown right now. While many of us are not a fan of road closure, however almost all of us realize how much the new construction will help the city.

But what can WE do to continue the construction boom? What can we do to continue to get developers interested in Downtown Grand Rapids? While we realize that a good bit of the responsibility falls on our Civic Leaders, I think that there is a lot that we can do.

One thing that I am going to do is E-mail a few people who have developments in Philly and Reading PA. One of them took a former industrial factory that built machine parts, renovated the building, and turned into an industrial themed restaurant/bar/ entertainment building kind of like Dave and Busters. You walk in and see this massive old drill press on a platform behind an indoor fountain. The Restaurant/entertainment area is two stories and then they have offices on the third and residential lofts on the upper floors. The top floor and roof are a second restaurant.

With Grand Rapids industrial past, something like this would fit in very well.

What else can be done to promote and encourage more and continuous development for downtown?

You could get the city on-board; that would go a long way.

Until the city is open to entertaining offers from outside developers without an elitist attitude, we will continue to rely on the benevolence of a few wealthy families.

Can anyone name the last major downtown project developed by an "outside" entity?

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Can anyone name the last major downtown project developed by an "outside" entity?

I didn't think that was allowed.... :rofl:

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You could get the city on-board; that would go a long way.

Until the city is open to entertaining offers from outside developers without an elitist attitude, we will continue to rely on the benevolence of a few wealthy families.

Can anyone name the last major downtown project developed by an "outside" entity?

You mean other than the large entertainment/housing/retail proposal that's in the works south of the arena? Granted it hasn't been "approved" but the reasoning behind that is purely financial and has nothing to do with being "elitist".

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You mean other than the large entertainment/housing/retail proposal that's in the works south of the arena? Granted it hasn't been "approved" but the reasoning behind that is purely financial and has nothing to do with being "elitist".

If it happens, I sure will be impressed.

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If it happens, I sure will be impressed.

I won't disagree with you that the majority of $$$ being dumped into downtown is "local" money. But I also firmly believe that this is one of the those chicken and egg situations (much like the school system). 5-10 years ago anyone from outside the area would have to, as LighthouseDave says, "have REAL vision of what could be there". If I was an outsider, I wouldn't want to dump my millions into a city that 10 years ago looked.. well run down and like crap to be honest. Through some very generious giving, some risk taking, and some good 'ole hometown pride we've been fortunate enough to have $2+ billion in development in recent years.

In short I think the city (the actual area not government) has proven itself very recently that it can support these investments, and we will start to see more and more outsiders showing interest in our city. The city governemnt knows it needs tax revenue, and I really doubt they'd tell some outsider to take a leap if they wanted to come here.

Can you name an outsider that's attempted to develop something and was told to go away by the City Government? Or given more of a "hard time" to get things done? And I'm talking about anything OTHER than the RiverGrand silliness.

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But what can WE do to continue the construction boom? What can we do to continue to get developers interested in Downtown Grand Rapids?

What else can be done to promote and encourage more and continuous development for downtown?

Bring tenants and owners and we'll keep bringing the buildings. That simple..............

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Bring tenants and owners and we'll keep bringing the buildings. That simple..............

Lil Supply n' Demand eh?

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And I'm talking about anything OTHER than the RiverGrand silliness.

Well, if you're going to exclude the biggest single development proposal in the city's history....

RiverGrand is about an outside developer with long-term vision having the faith to commit 10 years and $2 billion to this city. The city has blocked it at every turn for the past year.

There are no economic reasons to block it, as the outside developer has essentially agreed to every term stipulated by the city (including the ridiculous purchase price).

I don't know who might have been behind the proposed tower at or near 50 Monroe, but there's another apparent "blocking action" from the city (granted, the information on this one is contested).

Don't get me wrong, the city is pretty good at killing projects proposed by locals, too (what plot is Jack hatching now?).

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I think we've had more than enough discussions about the riverfront parcel. It's never going to happen, so let's move on to things that could happen.

There are scores of outside people now looking at doing projects in Grand Rapids (mainly small scale), but I think a lot of them are waiting on the sidelines to see what projects shake out. Many people who didn't know anything about Grand Rapids 5 years ago are now very aware that it is here and there is a lot of opportunity. I actually think the real challenge is finding suitable land that can work economically for a project. There are a lot of land-bankers who are not part of the big 2 families asking far too much for their land ($2 - $3 Million+/acre), which takes a lot of flexibility out of the equation. Plus parking requirements drive pricing way up, which is why I think we need to start building parking ramps out in the burbs where land is much cheaper and shuttle downtown workers into the city (LRT). DASH on steroids. Then fill every surface lot with high-density low parking requirement developments.

We here seem to think that there are a lot of open areas around downtown to build the next signature tower, but I think if you sat down with the land owners and performed your own analysis, you'd get discouraged pretty quickly. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do hear that brought up quite a bit.

In light of all that michaelskis, you could start an initiative similar to the one that was started yesterday by area developers to promote downtown. Create an ad campaign, start building networks. People laugh at my fascination for tower cranes, but construction ACTIVITY drives more activity. When massive amounts of construction are underway, they garner a lot of attention. Way moreso than after the projects are finished. That's why I don't want to ever see a time when construction is finished downtown.

What do you think?

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Well, if you're going to exclude the biggest single development proposal in the city's history....

RiverGrand is about an outside developer with long-term vision having the faith to commit 10 years and $2 billion to this city. The city has blocked it at every turn for the past year.

There are no economic reasons to block it, as the outside developer has essentially agreed to every term stipulated by the city (including the ridiculous purchase price).

A few things. The city has made it "difficult" for both local and external interests in this project. This is the largest development to come to pass yes. $2 billion.... that's as much as what has happenend in the last 5 years combined all wrapped into one project. The city doesn't have experience dealing with this type of thing, they still have their training wheels on, so you better believe there are going to be bumps and hickups along the way. I would rather them take a LONG time (no matter who the developer is) and get it right, than have a 1/2 built eyesore in 10 years because of plans falling through.

It seems you keep bashing the city on it's ability to allow growth based on 1 single project that you have your heart set on.

EDIT:

Sorry, my post was in progress... I agree the River project isn't going anywhere anytime soon, didn't mean to bring it up. It actually annoys me to no end to see it keep being brought up that's all.

I don't know who might have been behind the proposed tower at or near 50 Monroe, but there's another apparent "blocking action" from the city (granted, the information on this one is contested).

Unless you have way more info than what's been divuldged by people here, much of which seems to be based on rumor and guesses, this doesn't stand up as a "blocking" in my book.

The city needs money, the way you get money is by allowing growth, but making sure the growth itself is sustainable. Sure we could build a 1,500 foot tower downtown if someone wanted to pay the bill, but is it reasonable to do such a thing downtown at this time? Probably not (unless you like empty buildings taking up space all over the place).

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I've been asking my self the question for the longest time; will the momentum continue, and the answer is yes. For at least the last 15 years one project gets underway, and midway through that project another is announced. As long as there is Grand Action there will be something brewing.....

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I've been asking my self the question for the longest time; will the momentum continue, and the answer is yes. For at least the last 15 years one project gets underway, and midway through that project another is announced. As long as there is Grand Action there will be something brewing.....

I agree, Grand Action has been invalueable to this city. They have done tremendous things to spur growth that is for sure

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From what I understand, the Michigan Legislature recently passed a bill that extends the length of the Renaissance Zone tax laws for a handful more years. Granholm just needs to sign it, and is expected to do so.

This would certainly give more incentive for businesses to move into redeveloped areas around downtown.

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I think we've had more than enough discussions about the riverfront parcel. It's never going to happen, so let's move on to things that could happen.

Ahh, what a refreshing attitude from the moderator of the forum.

I guess my work here is done.

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From what I understand, the Michigan Legislature recently passed a bill that extends the length of the Renaissance Zone tax laws for a handful more years. Granholm just needs to sign it, and is expected to do so.

This would certainly give more incentive for businesses to move into redeveloped areas around downtown.

I believe it actually will allow cities to extend their existing Ren Zones for another 15 years:

HB 5942 as passed by the House and Senate

(section 7)

The city still has to figure out if it's in their best interests to ask for an extension, due to the fact that they forego property and city income taxes.

localtalent, this thread is michaelskis', and I think he is looking for positive ideas of how to keep the momentum going, not look for just another opportunity to bash city hall. A poorly done project on the riverfront parcel could KILL downtown Grand Rapids for many many years. I'm not going to take a chance on a guy who can't pay his current bills, and the city would be negligent for doing the same.

But how about we go back to brainstorming ideas on how to increase Grand Rapids' exposure to the outside world. :D

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A poorly done project on the riverfront parcel could KILL downtown Grand Rapids for many many years. I'm not going to take a chance on a guy who can't pay his current bills, and the city would be criminally negligent for doing the same.

Last note from me on this topic in this thread:

GRDad, Where does it say that Faust is going to put up the "2 billioin" dollars? Granted it doesn't look good if he is having some problems with his personal businesses. From what I have heard Faust say (in interviews) and read in articles, he or his buiness is not funding this project. He says is currently representing other interested parties (Business, Banks, whoever). Some of these parties are publicly traded companies and would not like to be named until situations are more firm, which I can understand from a stock price standpoint. Give Faust and others the chance to put together a RFP and see what time-lines, money backgrounds and tenants he may have lined up. The City can always say no after reviewing them. If he has some major corporate players that are willing to take over when things are firmed up, would you have the same problems? I just think it is a little harsh to say "This will never happen" though you are entitled to your opinion as everyone is also. This is just not the topic to discuss it in.

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Last note from me on this topic in this thread:

GRDad, Where does it say that Faust is going to put up the "2 billioin" dollars? Granted it doesn't look good if he is having some problems with his personal businesses. From what I have heard Faust say (in interviews) and read in articles, he or his buiness is not funding this project. He says is currently representing other interested parties (Business, Banks, whoever). Some of these parties are publicly traded companies and would not like to be named until situations are more firm, which I can understand from a stock price standpoint. Give Faust and others the chance to put together a RFP and see what time-lines, money backgrounds and tenants he may have lined up. The City can always say no after reviewing them. If he has some major corporate players that are willing to take over when things are firmed up, would you have the same problems? I just think it is a little harsh to say "This will never happen" though you are entitled to your opinion as everyone is also. This is just not the topic to discuss it in.

OK, fine. Back to the topic at hand. :D

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Two comments:

I have heard from several contractors that we are at a crest in the wave and there is no momentum following that right now. "Don't let the cranes fool ya.."

Also, all of the great benfactors of GR are aging and we are not, as a community, generating the next generation of wealthy entreprenuers to take their place. Yes, we have second generation wealth, but not the new start ups that grow and sustain growth. Where are the Fred Meijers of today? Who will be here in 15 years?

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What is Grand Action and how do I get involved?

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What is Grand Action?

Grand Action is a non-profit organization of 250 community leaders. They spearheaded the campaign to create Van Andel Arena in 1996 and the DeVos Place convention center in 2004.

how do I get involved?

I'm not sure you have the right last name. (Kidding, I have no idea)

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What is Grand Action and how do I get involved?

The Grand Action Committee is the private fund raising operation that has brought you:

Van Andel Arena

DeVos Place

The renovated Civic Theatre (Meijer Majestic)

Talk of new Performing Arts Center

I think they may have a hand in the MSU med school too.

You can help by donating your 401k :P

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Grand Action is a non-profit organization of 250 community leaders. They spearheaded the campaign to create Van Andel Arena in 1996 and the DeVos Place convention center in 2004.

I'm not sure you have the right last name. (Kidding, I have no idea)

:lol: Actually Grand Action is headed up by David Frey of the Frey Foundation.

grguy, for some contractors, that may very well be true. But for downtown as a whole, there's still a whole lot of confirmed projects that have not been started yet:

Children's Hospital - $200 Million

VAI Phase II - $190 Million

MSU Med School - Undetermined, but $100's of Millions

St Mary's expansion - $50 Million

Performing Arts Center - $70 - $90 Million

The other two towers of the Spectrum complex

All of which will produce jobs, not just apartments/condos.

But you're right, who of the next generation will take over? I'm glad to see the Devos children are continuing the legacy with the Children's Hospital gifts. We may also see some "little known" up and comers take center stage when the time comes.

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