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Strange places in metro GR

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Sometimes I see strange things and I wonder, what is with that place? So I thought I'd start a thread.

The first is 441 Cass Ave SE. It's a house surrounded by parking lots. Its just very strange looking when you drive by. It's on the corner of Cass and Logan. I know its owned by Mary Free Bed, but I was wondering if anyone knew what the story was. Why isn't it a parking lot like everything else over there?

The second one would be 701 Laurel Circle in East Grand Rapids. I can't really describe it, but it's weird looking. The assessor shows it was built in 1900 and the sketch looks like maybe it's an old garage or pool house or something. Maybe it was for some big old estate over there 100 years ago?

So, anyone have any details on these or maybe your own weird sightings?

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Sometimes I see strange things and I wonder, what is with that place? So I thought I'd start a thread.

The first is 441 Cass Ave SE. It's a house surrounded by parking lots. Its just very strange looking when you drive by. It's on the corner of Cass and Logan. I know its owned by Mary Free Bed, but I was wondering if anyone knew what the story was. Why isn't it a parking lot like everything else over there?

The second one would be 701 Laurel Circle in East Grand Rapids. I can't really describe it, but it's weird looking. The assessor shows it was built in 1900 and the sketch looks like maybe it's an old garage or pool house or something. Maybe it was for some big old estate over there 100 years ago?

So, anyone have any details on these or maybe your own weird sightings?

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The second one would be 701 Laurel Circle in East Grand Rapids. I can't really describe it, but it's weird looking. The assessor shows it was built in 1900 and the sketch looks like maybe it's an old garage or pool house or something. Maybe it was for some big old estate over there 100 years ago?

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The second one would be 701 Laurel Circle in East Grand Rapids. I can't really describe it, but it's weird looking. The assessor shows it was built in 1900 and the sketch looks like maybe it's an old garage or pool house or something. Maybe it was for some big old estate over there 100 years ago?

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How about the ranch-house-on-a-cliff just north of Celebration Village on the East Beltline? It looks like it's been trying to fall off that eroding dirt pile for at least a few years....but there are still blinds in the windows (as if to say "someone was home, sometime not too long ago"). That's a favorite "weird property" of mine. I cannot believe some safety law doesn't require the demolition of the place.

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All of that property was once the Wilcox Estate. The house to the north was the main living quarters and the buildings to the south was the natatorium and servants quarters and such. If I remember properly they did retain and restore the swimming pool. There used to be an old laundry room with some wicked old laundry equipment in it. It was strange.

The Wilcox house is pretty cool as well. We did some remodeling work in there a couple of years ago.

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I drove by that the other day and it looked like some contractor is digging the dirt out all around them and it sure does look like its about to tople over! It is so close to the edge it is not funny. Wonder if someone tried to buy it, the owners said no, and they are digging right up to their property line (which does not appear to be much!) haha Kind of like the home owner that refused to sell when the parking lot was built off Winter/Summer St. , one of those streets . . .so they just built it all around him! :wacko:

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The people who own the house actually live in it and have gone through the approval process of having it developed into a commercial/retail project. They even had all the tree clearing and excavating done, but I'm not sure why they stopped. I drive by there all the time and more and more of the house's foundation is beginning to show due to erosion. It's a complete eyesore. The brown modern looking house behind it used to be completely buried back in the trees and is now out in the open and vacant.

For Grand Rapids Twp historically having a reputation for their (edit) tough development standards, they sure are allowing a lot of crap to go on. Every single one of the new commercial buildings on the E. Beltline from Fulton up to Northland Dr looks terrible. No cohesion, poorly designed, some facing backwards (by the BBQ place), poorly spaced (the new building butting right up behind O'Charley's), poor quality materials (the concrete block UNO's), you name it. What a hodgepodge of planning going on. The trifecta project with Northpointe Bank, UNO's and the hotel takes the prize for the worst mix of architecture (?) in the metro area in one development.

Sorry, off topic.

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For Grand Rapids Twp historically having a reputation for their (edit) tough development standards, they sure are allowing a lot of crap to go on. Every single one of the new commercial buildings on the E. Beltline from Fulton up to Northland Dr looks terrible. No cohesion, poorly designed, some facing backwards (by the BBQ place), poorly spaced (the new building butting right up behind O'Charley's), poor quality materials (the concrete block UNO's), you name it. What a hodgepodge of planning going on. The trifecta project with Northpointe Bank, UNO's and the hotel takes the prize for the worst mix of architecture (?) in the metro area in one development.

Sorry, off topic.

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You need to check the political boundaries along the Beltline. Some of your examples are in the City of GR so the township isn't responsible for it all :(

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Yeah, I know. It's predominantly GR Twp though that looks like hell. I know the Northpointe/UNO's/greenhotel is the city, and probably the buildings South of it as well. So why didn't the city of GR require some kind of design review for such a high profile area? The only thing I saw in the planning commission proceedings was a squabble over dumb signage (which the city is absolutely OBSESSED with lately). And I know Plainfield covers North of 4 Mile, but that only makes it even more complicit across municipality lines. :sick: I know it's a suburban area and you can't expect much in the way of design, but I think it really reflects poorly on the whole area to visitors.

So much for the East Beltline overlay idea that has accomplished nothing.

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How about the ranch-house-on-a-cliff just north of Celebration Village on the East Beltline? It looks like it's been trying to fall off that eroding dirt pile for at least a few years....but there are still blinds in the windows (as if to say "someone was home, sometime not too long ago"). That's a favorite "weird property" of mine. I cannot believe some safety law doesn't require the demolition of the place.

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I know of an elderly couple at my church that owns a house by mary freebed and has a deal with either them or st. mary's. I am not sure whether this house is theirs or not, but the deal is that they sold them the house, but they won't tear it down until they move. From what I hear it is a good deal for them.

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