Jump to content

The State of Downtown Grand Rapids Retail


Recommended Posts

Yeah, kinda like post 45 in this very thread. :D ^^^^

Ah, but who's counting?

Here's a fun tidbit to make up for that. I had dinner with someone who is involved in the project, and he said that the building was originally constructed with cast iron or wooden support beams, but at the turn of the century they replaced the wooden or cast iron supports with rolled iron. No one is sure why, but it was probably quite a job.

Edited by xopher
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to own the Karl Building. It was built in the late 1860's (just after the Civil War).

I still have a cup full of old straight cut nails that were removed when we remodeled the 2nd floor.



I was also an owner of the Founder's Building next door.

Compare the 1st floor design from this old photo with the current building.



Edited by civitas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool pictures civitas! It's amazing how many transformations even the smallest of buildings have been through over the years. The small building where Curves is now located looks like it had a nice bay window on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Think those are there anymore? Anyone work in that building? mp is right, that building is ugly now, and kinda looks like an inverted pyramid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...



My vote for the next exterior to be striped and restored is the building next door...96 Monroe Center I believe.

Ski's Sub shop is a tenant.

That is a hideous looking building compared to the makeover next door.

Edited by john_denver
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My vote for the next exterior to be striped and restored is the building next door...96 Monroe Center I believe.

Ski's Sub shop is a tenant.

That is a hideous looking building compared to the makeover next door.

I agree. Civitas posted a great photo of what that building looked like before 1900 in post #53 in this thread.

Edited by dbrok
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rats! You beat me Josh.

She's purdy. I don't think she'll be vacant for long looking like that.

Great job!

I like the cove uplighting on the sign band and the checkerboard tile around the corner entrance.

My office used to be in the corner room on the 2nd floor. That is one of the coolest spaces in GR. with great views in both directions down Monroe.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looked out my office window, and saw this today. I agree it looks great, when I saw the work starting though I had hoped they already had it rented. It was dark when I left, so didn't get a chance to peek inside. I know before they put up the temp surrounding they had cleared out the entire interior, knocked out the bathroom in the center and all the fixtures, etc. Not sure if they did anything more or not.

Wow! This looks fantastic. Who owns this building?


According to the tax records its owned by VANDERWEIDE PROPERTIES, LLC the address comes back to RDV headquarters, so looks like a DeVos family connection?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I think it's time that the UP community put its collective talents together and see if it can help bring some vibrant retail to downtown again. The thought would be to start a Downtown Retail UP Task Force, with the goal of coming up with ideas and input that could help inject some energy into the efforts to attract and retain retailers downtown.

I can help get this started, but since I'm becoming heavily involved in another UP based coalition, leadership would have to come from someone else. Some goals of this group:

- Meet regularly to brainstorm ideas, do research, increase exposure for downtown GR, etc..

- Ask the Downtown Alliance's permission to have a representative member from this group join the Downtown Alliance, attend meetings

- Have a representative member of this group attend DDA meetings, and be in contact with city officials working on downtown efforts (Jay Fowler for instance)

- Visit and meet with other downtown groups that seem to be making great strides, like Holland's, Rockford's, etc..

- No retail or planning experience required, just a passion for a vibrant city center

- It would be a great project for college credit if you are a student, and a great way to "get involved" in the community

- As much as people say this city is closed off to anyone but the big contributors, it's entirely not true. You'd be amazed at how easily is is to get your voice heard (if your voice is reasoned and you back it up with research and passion).

- The city very much wants public involvement like this. They are waiting and yearning to hear from all of us.

Just reply to this thread or send me a PM if you are interested in getting started. :thumbsup: Do it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.