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Yankee Fan

Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids Downtown Development

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I thought that this was an interesting article on the development boom of residential properties in Ann Arbor. I wonder what we could learn from Ann Arbor to make it possible to do in downtown Grand Rapids what a person in the article is quoted as saying they can do in Ann Arbor: not have to leave downtown because they can basically do everything there.

Here is the link to the article:

http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5636825

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In the next two years, almost 800 new residential units will become available for living in downtown Ann Arbor, a city of 110,000. That compares with 274 units that became available between 1990 and 2000.

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I think Yankeefan was commenting more on the statement that downtown Ann Arbor has "everything you need so that you don't have to drive anywhere" for amenities. What is downtown Grand Rapids missing so that the statement would be true here? Grocery store, chain drug store, apparel (although I don't think AA has any national clothing retailers downtown)??? Otherwise, I don't think an Ann Arbor vs. GR discussion is a good idea.

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I think Yankeefan was commenting more on the statement that downtown Ann Arbor has "everything you need so that you don't have to drive anywhere" for amenities. What is downtown Grand Rapids missing so that the statement would be true here? Grocery store, chain drug store, apparel (although I don't think AA has any national clothing retailers downtown)??? Otherwise, I don't think an Ann Arbor vs. GR discussion is a good idea.

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I think Yankeefan was commenting more on the statement that downtown Ann Arbor has "everything you need so that you don't have to drive anywhere" for amenities. What is downtown Grand Rapids missing so that the statement would be true here? Grocery store, chain drug store, apparel (although I don't think AA has any national clothing retailers downtown)??? Otherwise, I don't think an Ann Arbor vs. GR discussion is a good idea.

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um... Urban Outfitters

but really AA has everything because its a college town, (GR is not). A nationally recognized university dt with 38,000 students, many do not have cars.

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I think Yankeefan was commenting more on the statement that downtown Ann Arbor has "everything you need so that you don't have to drive anywhere" for amenities. What is downtown Grand Rapids missing so that the statement would be true here? Grocery store, chain drug store, apparel (although I don't think AA has any national clothing retailers downtown)??? Otherwise, I don't think an Ann Arbor vs. GR discussion is a good idea.

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AA has 38,000 full time college students forced to live either downtown or close. GR does not, not downtown at least...

These two towns will never compare.

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GR Dad is right: I am not so interested in comparing the towns from a demographic point of view. My interest is in the response given by a person in the article. I would love for someone to be quoted in any article stating something like," I don't leave DT GR because I can do it all down here."

And you are correct: lots of students in AA make that a different place. But having 1 grocery store or a bookstore is not enough in terms of choices. If you want to eat, there are so many choices now that there is really no excuse to leave DT for lunch. However, if you ask someone where to buy a book or where they can pick up some milk, or where they can go to buy clothes, they can name one, maybe two places. It all comes down to good choices so that the area stops being a destination and starts to become an attraction.

I just wonder what retail or experiences need to be added first to get our downtown to truly start growing in all areas. I have seen the argument many times on UP that it is a catch 22- you need people to drive development and you need development to drive people. However, it is being done in other markets smaller and larger than GR.

I wish someone who has been a part of this process from another market could enlighten us with a timeline or something.

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