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An important Preservation Brief from National Park Service:

http://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/46-gas-stations.htm

"Abandoned historic gas stations have in the past been viewed as a hindrance to the redevelopment of a neighborhood or community. Yet sensitive rehabilitations can ensure that the historic character of these buildings is preserved while providing for an economic reuse. "

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I think Donkey did a pretty good job restoring a gas station. Is that building "hurting the neighborhood"?  A historic district can have architecture that spans decades. In fact, I'd say it adds more charm.

Personally, I'd rather see an original gas station than some faux Italianate structure. 

It all depends on "activity at the street." A parking lot in front of the building (see Wealthy Street station) creates an awkward void for pedestrians. Whereas Donkey puts active space (patio) right out to the street. It makes a difference. 

But gosh darn there sure are a lot of old gas stations along Wealthy. What the fudge? Was that THE place to gas up your Edsel back in the 60's? 

 

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But gosh darn there sure are a lot of old gas stations along Wealthy. What the fudge? Was that THE place to gas up your Edsel back in the 60's? 


It's almost unbelievable how many there are.  They stuck a gas station on just about every single corner! 

I'm with GR Urbanist on this one.  I've never been a fan of saving buildings just because they are old.  A preserved building ought to actually have some sort of particular cultural or architectural significance.  One or two of the very best gas stations, okay.  But all of them?  Claiming that limited, temporary 30-40 year use has a particular value that overrides everything else for the rest of time could be seen as an amateurish approach that fails to distinguish what is important from what is not.  Instead of preserving things with historic value, you're arguably just hoarding for no good reason.  There may be a point where you take a picture, put up a bronze plaque, pull out the bulldozer, and build something new that fits with the character of the district.

So far, we haven't really hit the point where we need to consider scrapping some of these buildings, but the time is probably coming.  For now, the whole gas station motif sort of suits Johnny B's.  They could even do a canopy structure with some pumps for a seating area, which would be really cool.  Maybe a huge neon sign on the canopy, too... :) 

Edited by x99

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Eastown used to be the place to go to buy a new car.  Many of the buildings in Eastown were once car dealerships.  The building now housing CVS was a dealership, the building on the SE corner of Lake Drive & Atlas was a dealership, and the post office was once Berger Chevrolet after having moved out of downtown.  With all that focus on automotive, I can imagine that had a large impact on gas stations along the rest of Wealthy.  Perhaps Wealthy was the 28th St. of the pre-war era.

With that said, I think it can provide a great opportunity paired with historic preservation.  The setbacks can help create a lovely collection of pocket parks along the corridor.

And I agree that the design of the existing gas station building does fit Johnny B'z really well.  For this business, improving upon the existing structure is probably the best bet, rather than replacing it.

Edited by tSlater
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I think Donkey did a pretty good job restoring a gas station. Is that building "hurting the neighborhood"?  A historic district can have architecture that spans decades. In fact, I'd say it adds more charm.

Personally, I'd rather see an original gas station than some faux Italianate structure. 

OK, I'll walk my comments back a bit.  It's pretty cool to have a converted gas station/taqueria in the neighborhood.  However, we don't need as many old gas stations as there are, and we're limiting potential business on Wealthy by keeping the rest of them up.  What else besides street food appeals to those spaces?  I like Lee and Birch, but I don't think its building is serving it well.  I liked Sandmann's, but I didn't like the way it was situated either.  I think our unwillingness to get rid of them is a huge handicap for Wealthy - it could be one of the most attractive streetscapes in Michigan if not for that.  (Well, that and Family Dollar)

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OK, I'll walk my comments back a bit.  It's pretty cool to have a converted gas station/taqueria in the neighborhood.  However, we don't need as many old gas stations as there are, and we're limiting potential business on Wealthy by keeping the rest of them up.  What else besides street food appeals to those spaces?  I like Lee and Birch, but I don't think its building is serving it well.  I liked Sandmann's, but I didn't like the way it was situated either.  I think our unwillingness to get rid of them is a huge handicap for Wealthy - it could be one of the most attractive streetscapes in Michigan if not for that.  (Well, that and Family Dollar)

Even with how all the old gas stations are situated, I think there's room to make a nice corridor (I think it's shaping up pretty well right now). As long at it's not just a parking lot out at the street. 

There's plenty of space for infill too, from the lot at Wealthy and Fuller to the large parking lot next to the church at Wealthy and Eastern. The old McDonalds is getting filled in, etc.

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Talked to the Owner of Jonny B'z,  they are planning a outdoor seating area much like Donkey across the street.  They may have around 6 parking spots on the lot but that is it.  Most of it will be taken up by green and seating areas.

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Has anyone seen updates on the old McDonalds?

 

I think the owner is still working on a plan that will meet the expectations of the neighborhood and the historical preservation commission.  I think something new is coming.  He has said that, in the meantime, the rents are paying the bills.

 

  

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I'm hoping the Wild Bunch is the surprise. My stomach sank when I considered the Wealthy Street Bakery as the possibly.

I hoping that the other is either that building on the SE corner of Eastern and Wealthy, the large church + parking lot across the street, or the Family Dollar.

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Wealthy Street Bakery is going nowhere (no inside knowledge—just my assumption). The church on the NE corner of Eastern & Wealthy was recently acquired by Madison Square CRC as a new satellite campus. (correction [thanks lighthousedave]: that's Franklin & Eastern)

Assuming that these projects are in that area (Dave's comment seemed a bit cryptic—they could be elsewhere in the city), my guess/hope is Wild Bunch and Family Dollar.

One that wouldn't be shocking: Atomic Object. They're working on renovating their new building (within a block of their current location), and I could see them unloading their old building after they've moved.

Edited by organsnyder

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Wealthy Street Bakery is going nowhere (no inside knowledge—just my assumption). The church on the NE corner of Eastern & Wealthy was recently acquired by Madison Square CRC as a new satellite campus.

Assuming that these projects are in that area (Dave's comment seemed a bit cryptic—they could be elsewhere in the city), my guess/hope is Wild Bunch and Family Dollar.

One that wouldn't be shocking: Atomic Object. They're working on renovating their new building (within a block of their current location), and I could see them unloading their old building after they've moved.

Actually Madison Square Church acquired the former DHS building on the corner of Franklin and Eastern.  The church on the corner of Eastern and Wealthy is still owned by the church that worships there now.  I know nothing of the wild bunch moving on.  Sorry for being cryptic, guess that was not nice.  I don't think anything will break until Orion gets their project on Wealthy (the former Mc Donalds), and the development across from Wealthy Bakery kick off.  Once that happens we are in for another big wave of new development along Wealthy.  Options are being signed and plans are being made.

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Grand Rapids "Beer City" is now apparently "Fear City." 

While labor contract negotiations are no laughing matter, this "article" is just rife with inaccuracies, lol. 

*Press play on sinister conspiracy music track*

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/01/1417425/-When-Beer-City-Becomes-Fear-City-How-the-Billionaire-Class-Paints-Over-Poverty#

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Actually Madison Square Church acquired the former DHS building on the corner of Franklin and Eastern.  The church on the corner of Eastern and Wealthy is still owned by the church that worships there now.  I know nothing of the wild bunch moving on.  Sorry for being cryptic, guess that was not nice.  I don't think anything will break until Orion gets their project on Wealthy (the former Mc Donalds), and the development across from Wealthy Bakery kick off.  Once that happens we are in for another big wave of new development along Wealthy.  Options are being signed and plans are being made.

I spoke to that church about the possibility of selling earlier this year. No go. 

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What a pointless article. "They have conservatives there!" "They have income inequality!"

Yeah, we know. We're also focused on solutions (especially around income inequality, which admittedly has received far too little attention until recently) rather than partisan bickering.

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The writer is the president of the union that's negotiating a new contract with the Rapid.  Hello!?  Where's the full disclosure, Kos?  His position is noted in his website profile page but it should also be noted in the article.  That's just basic.

 Normally, this article would be a typical firing salvo we usually see during labor negotiations.  But not disclosing his interest with the Rapid hurts his own case, because now the essay reads like he has some bizarre personal grudge against the community.

Edited by RegalTDP
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The writer is the president of the union that's negotiating a new contract with the Rapid.  Hello!?  Where's the full disclosure, Kos?  His position is noted in his website profile page but it should also be noted in the article.  That's just basic.

 Normally, this article would be a typical firing salvo we usually see during labor negotiations.  But not disclosing his interest with the Rapid hurts his own case, because now the essay reads like he has some bizarre personal grudge against the community.

 

Good catch Regal. I bet the guy has never even been to Grand Rapids, or not spent much time here.

It should definitely be disclosed either at the very beginning of the article or at the end. Beginning preferably.

Edited by GRDadof3
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