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localtalent

The Ideal Urban Development Project

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This sums up my feelings exactly, except I like Riverhouse and everything about it. I had this all planned out on how I was going to reply, and here I see it posted by someone else. Get out of my head!!!! :wacko:

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sorry :blush:

With those Denver projects, yes, its all about the look and form of the building. I don't give a rip if its feasable or not, we need standards here that will result in buildings that look like that, not concrete slabs and blank walls. Then when it IS feasable, we'll get good infill, instead of so-so infill. :thumbsup:

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I agree; and I think really the only part that I wonder about with respect to feasibility is the scale. 500,000 sq ft of infill in Denver is nice; maybe Grand Rapids could start with a similar look and form at 150,000 sq ft.

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I agree; and I think really the only part that I wonder about with respect to feasibility is the scale. 500,000 sq ft of infill in Denver is nice; maybe Grand Rapids could start with a similar look and form at 150,000 sq ft.

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To answer a question that I don't think is being asked :) I think this would look perfect along Ionia on the Arena lots. It's a great looking building.

Where would something like this go in Grand Rapids?

It's about 515,000 sq ft on 13 stories. 300 apartments with retail below.

It's exactly the kind of thing I think GR needs more of (interesting other examples on that Denver Infill site)....infill to support density in the core via market-rate residential units and basic service oriented retail (drugstore/market as also suggested more than once on this site).

Could downtown Grand Rapids currently support a building of this scale?

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I love every one of the uses for the new development in downtown. I think that everything has been done is phenomenal, I am just a historic architectural detail loving snob and I have come to accept that. :-)

As for development ideas...

We have a river... so do they:

http://www.sanantonioriverwalk.com/

Some like that would be very possible for Grand Rapids.

I also think that there should be a regulation written into the ordinance that prohibits street level parking with frontage on a public street. Instead require all parking to be behind buildings to maintain the street walls. Additionally, parking ramps need to have an office or retail element for the first three levels on the exterior of the building with the parking being internal.

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Thinking at a smaller scale here. One of my favorite projects is in Washington DC. It is known as the Ellen Wilson Townhomes or the Capitol Hill Townhomes.

I like it for many reasons:

It is one of the most well executed projects that I have seen. The design, IMO, is very, very good. It is an interpretation of 19th century rowhouses, but not a copy. The forms are simple and the massing is straightforward, its materials are true and the details are restrained, convincing and well built. It is properly addressing the street. It does many things at many levels very well.

It also happens to mix income levels very successfully, providing market rate homes and subsidized housing. The key is that from the street, you can not distinguish the different socio-economic levels in the built form. Rich and poor have the same quality of design, construction and articulation. The building of the project was financed by grants from HUD through the Hope VI grant process.

It replaced a 1941 low income housing project that resembled a barracks that was basically a slum, the design of which screamed povery and segregation.

Some stats:

147 units on 5 acres for a density of 29 dwelling units per acre (the kind of density we should be doing here).

Two, three and four bedroom townhouses and apartments. I think most of the units are owned.

Three and Four story brick buildings, built in 1996.

Designed by Amy Weinstein

Financed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The only photo I have of it is from an ad:

ELLENWILSONINDC2.jpg

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What I would like to see is an exchange of surface lots for underground parking similar to Grant Park parking garage in Chicago. It would free up space for more building, while not eliminating parking. It would be expensive, and not free to use, but a little bit for everybody.

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On the subject of pedestrian-friendly design aspects, I just had to post pictures of the Monroe Center parking ramp. One of the best parking ramps I've ever seen. It looks like a building, it's all brick, and the ground floor is very welcoming. And you can see inside into the restaurant, which adds interest.

439906987_65951715e6_b.jpg

439907003_5829451c45_b.jpg

439907013_c041445673_b.jpg

These design standards seem to have disappeared from the city's radar lately.

Another thing I noticed yesterday and today is that there is a large conference going on at Devos Place (don't know what), and I see literally hundreds of people walking through the skywalk from the Amway Grand to Devos Place, and wonder how much better it would be for vibrancy downtown if these people were outside on the sidewalks. I meant to get a picture, but didn't get a chance. For people to be inside on a day like today is ludicrous, but I'm sure they just follow the signs inside the AGP telling them where to go.

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On the subject of pedestrian-friendly design aspects, I just had to post pictures of the Monroe Center parking ramp. One of the best parking ramps I've ever seen. It looks like a building, it's all brick, and the ground floor is very welcoming. And you can see inside into the restaurant, which adds interest.

<snippage>

These design standards seem to have disappeared from the city's radar lately.

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I was in Scottsdale in October and was floored by all the amazing retail. They have 2 or 3 malls within a 8 mile drive on Scottsdale road and a huge park and walk villiage in downtown scottsdale with ma and pa retail, art galleries, restaurants, bars, etc. Wish I could've stayed and explored longer. I think our downtown could easily transform into this type of retail environment with a few parking modifications and renovation of all our abandoned buildings.

Also, I stayed in a hotel really close to the most amazing condo project I've seen to date. Seriously, unbelievable. Here's their web: http://www.optimaweb.com/CamelViewVillage/

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I would like to see a high speed/light rail system that would connect Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, & Holland. The combined population of these (3) cities is well over one million. With that kind of accessiblity, I believe many more projects could be suported.

On another note...

Many of these projects proposed are very feasible and seem necessary to sustain a vibrant core. So other than the condos why aren't any of these projects being built? An urban market - excellent idea, a downtown theatre - couldn't agree with you more, an indoor waterpark - why not, a multi-level retail complex - every other city has one.

Do the residents of Grand Rapids actually care or know about the potential these projects bring to the city. I have a feeling the answer is no.

Change is Good.

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On the subject of pedestrian-friendly design aspects, I just had to post pictures of the Monroe Center parking ramp. One of the best parking ramps I've ever seen. It looks like a building, it's all brick, and the ground floor is very welcoming. And you can see inside into the restaurant, which adds interest.

439906987_65951715e6_b.jpg

439907003_5829451c45_b.jpg

439907013_c041445673_b.jpg

These design standards seem to have disappeared from the city's radar lately.

Another thing I noticed yesterday and today is that there is a large conference going on at Devos Place (don't know what), and I see literally hundreds of people walking through the skywalk from the Amway Grand to Devos Place, and wonder how much better it would be for vibrancy downtown if these people were outside on the sidewalks. I meant to get a picture, but didn't get a chance. For people to be inside on a day like today is ludicrous, but I'm sure they just follow the signs inside the AGP telling them where to go.

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This is a nice looking parking structure if you like traditional design. That said is it actually brick (brick veneer) or is it a tilt up concrete product with fake brick (stamped)?

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