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michaelskis

Grand Rapids and the "WOW" factor.

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The first time that I walked into DeVos place was for a Michigan Association of Planning Conference, three years ago. My first thought was WOW, now this is impressive. Grand Rapids has several building and building elements that give the WOW factors.

In a book written by George Ross (attorney for Donald Trump) commented that one of the most important and biggest elements in Trump's buildings is spending the money where it can be seen. Specifically on impressive detail elements such as landscaping, surface materials, design elements, and site features such as sculptures, fountains, and other art. He also says that the inclusion of these elements gives the project an impressive feel that will increase the price of the sale far more than the cost of the elements. He calls it the 'Trump Touch'... I call it the WOW factor.

This leads to two questions...

Question one... What parts of Grand Rapids, Buildings, Design Elements, or other elements in Grand Rapids have a phenomenal WOW factor?

Question two... What can be done to other areas, buildings, corridors, and such to add WOW factor elements? Will this change the perception of that area? Will it increase the property values? Could it be cost efficient?

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1. I think Health Hill is becoming a huge wow factor. Wait until MSU's med school, VAI's phase II, and the new Children's hospital are built out. Another Wow factor for me is Rosa Park circle now esp. with the bold architecture of the new GRAM. Other Wow factors can be seen in the forms of the Van Andel Arena's north facade, the 'scrapers along the river, the view of DT from the north bound lanes of the S-curve.

2. As for instilling more wow factor into the city. I would rebuild Calder plaza to face Devos Place and feature a cluster of hi rises surrounding a new avant guard looking PAC. Then I would enhance the river with beefed up river walks, restored rapids, and parks. With these and other things are going on I would continue the urban beautification GR seems to be doing to its streets. Finally let's turn that ugly surface lot on Fulton and Market into a billion dollar development of some kind. Oh one more thing. How about replacing the I-196 bridges over the river with a signature bridge?

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Some "WOW" items that come to mind (if I get your point correctly):

Lighted blue bridge

Blue lighting in the JW

Flowers on the building housing VanHoeks (little touch, but looks awesome)

The cascading waterfall next to the blue bridge (hidden, but a great find for somebody not expecting it)

The water setup in front of the Ford Museum

The Convention Center (the line along the river is great)

The entrance to the JW will make visitors say "WOW" in my opinion

The Calder itself...not the surrounding buildings

Red brick streets

To add "WOW," I think some things can be done to mask the 60's/70's urban renewal projects. For instance, more plants could be added to Calder Plaza. I like the idea of adding murals to blank walls, and maybe local artists could paint fire hydrants and parking meters. Am I on the right track?

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The inside of the Amway Grand Hotel, especially that big room that you access from Monroe.

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I'd agree with all of the above. The Michigan Hill architecture will be WOW I think. We could use some more WOW factor in our public parks, plazas and bridges, like my bridge sculpture idea :whistling: :

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/204/463288279_57227a516e.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/171/463288283_9e4c4d7a53.jpg

Oh, and the fact that there are enough things going on around Grand Rapids to stimulate over 1900 topics and 66,364 responses on UP = WOW!

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I'd agree with all of the above. The Michigan Hill architecture will be WOW I think. We could use some more WOW factor in our public parks, plazas and bridges, like my bridge sculpture idea :whistling: :

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/204/463288279_57227a516e.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/171/463288283_9e4c4d7a53.jpg

Oh, and the fact that there are enough things going on around Grand Rapids to stimulate over 1900 topics and 66,364 responses on UP = WOW!

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Speaking of bridges, here's my I-196 signature bridge idea I did a long time ago.

196archbridgexk7.jpg

Shot at 2007-07-10

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I would agree with signature bridges. Bridges always get a large amount of respect. Maybe it is the modern marvel aspect. I do think a large suspension bridge over the Grand would add greatly to the fabric of the city. Much like some of the bridges in Pittsburgh, Austin, etc. It would be interesting to see private/public funding of something like this. If Bridge St. and Fulton St. ever need to be replaced, I think they need to think about the aesthetics. "The Bridges of Kent County"?

Joe

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Question one... What parts of Grand Rapids, Buildings, Design Elements, or other elements in Grand Rapids have a phenomenal WOW factor?

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I was in front of the Gerald R. Ford museum on Saturday for wedding pictures. Standing by the fountain and looking around at the city I got a wow, Grand Rapids is a pretty city.

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Sadly, DT is stuck with the USPS's ugliness mainly because of a hold on building new facilities. On that note, what about selling the air rights above the post office to a developer who can build on top of it and then use the money from the sale to reskin the existing building with something a bit prettier?

This one is easy. The downtown post office and USPS building. WOW! As in, "Wow!" what a waste of riverfront property and "Wow!" what an awful looking building.

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im all about beautiful old looking buildings like the Pantlin and the former art museum, they absolutely bring a tremendous wow factor to me, especially when new buildings go up that continue to have a sense of old structural beauty to them.

Example, Unviersity of Michigan

ford.gif

Surprisingly i cant find an actual photo of the place but this is Weill Hall on central/south campus border, it was only built a few years ago and really has a stunning look about it. I guess im not a fan of glass cubes as buildings.

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im all about beautiful old looking buildings like the Pantlin and the former art museum, they absolutely bring a tremendous wow factor to me, especially when new buildings go up that continue to have a sense of old structural beauty to them.

Example, Unviersity of Michigan

ford.gif

Surprisingly i cant find an actual photo of the place but this is Weill Hall on central/south campus border, it was only built a few years ago and really has a stunning look about it. I guess im not a fan of glass cubes as buildings.

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im all about beautiful old looking buildings like the Pantlin and the former art museum, they absolutely bring a tremendous wow factor to me, especially when new buildings go up that continue to have a sense of old structural beauty to them.

Example, Unviersity of Michigan

ford.gif

Surprisingly i cant find an actual photo of the place but this is Weill Hall on central/south campus border, it was only built a few years ago and really has a stunning look about it. I guess im not a fan of glass cubes as buildings.

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