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Yankee Fan

The Downtown Grid

Which Street is the best for...   74 members have voted

  1. 1. Retail Development

    • Monroe/Market
      42
    • Grandville Avenue
      4
    • Ionia
      18
    • Division
      25
    • Fulton
      11
    • Michigan Street
      3
  2. 2. Apartment Development

    • Monroe/Market
      12
    • Grandville Avenue
      28
    • Ionia
      30
    • Division
      16
    • Fulton
      16
    • Michigan Street
      9
  3. 3. Entertainment Development

    • Monroe/Market
      19
    • Grandville Avenue
      16
    • Ionia
      36
    • Division
      12
    • Fulton
      26
    • Michigan Street
      3

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23 posts in this topic

I think that everyone would agree that mixed use of space is the best overall way to developing a strong and vibrant downtown. I wanted to see, at the granular level, where everyone thinks each individual type of development would do the best.

Please note: The poll allows you to choose more than one per question.

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I voted for Monroe/Market for Best Retail, but think that Monroe Center really is set up the best for it. Can Monroe Center be an option?

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I think what would be best to do is study how things changed from the early 20th century to now and build off trends or how things are now. For retail I decided on the main thoroughfares into Downtown including an emphasis on Monroe Center, Grandville and Division. For entertainment I see each section of downtown having a center. Apartments in all corridors, with a maybe on Michigan ST. I'm not too sure if that is a correct way of looking at this, but this is just my guess.

EDIT: It appears by the polls that the best places (according to voters) for these types of developments follow today's trends.

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I actually voted for Ionia and Division for the best retail. Monroe Center may be the nicest, tree-line, walkable street in downtown, but it's rather short. I picked Ionia and Division (and would have picked Commerce as well) south of Fulton because they're parallel and still have a lot of good storefronts that could be used. Being a longer corridor with multiple streets it could really make for a pretty big mass of retailers. It could be as dense as a mall, really. Monroe Center is nice, but get half a block off the street and the retail opportunity is lacking. This area would also be helped immensely by the infill of Tall House and 240 Ionia.

For residential I like Ionia, but I also really like Monroe north of I-196. It's a little quieter area, and once you get a block off Monroe it could make for a nice quiet downtown neighborhood.

I think naming a street for these activities is a little restricting. I'd want to further specify which parts of these streets would work well, and which surrounding streets it could spill over. What might be more interesting is if we could pick which blocks would be best oriented to which sort of uses. You might also want to throw office use into the mix.

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I think Ionia has the most potential as a center for retail or entertainment with its existing buildings and the parking lots south of Van Andel that can be developed into a larger market or entertainment complex to draw people in. I voted Michigan Street as the spot for apartments because that side of town desperately needs something other than offices. Where the Press Building sits would be a great place to have apartments for all the medical professionals. Wouldn't the car traffic on Division hurt retail development there?

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Wouldn't the car traffic on Division hurt retail development there?

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Are you kidding? Retail lives and dies by traffic. If you can't see the store, it may as well not exist. You need to be on a busy street to be seen. I think if Division became more retail-oriented it would be easier for the lighter-traffic side-streets to more fully develop. Now with a large mass of retailers in one area the traffic may be less important because the area would be a destination of its own.

The traffic might be a deterrent to pedestrians, but if you can keep it from whizzing by too fast or buffer the sidewalk from traffic it's not a problem. On-street parking and wide sidewalks with planters can help with this.

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I was thinking N. Division where the only pedestrians you see are waiting to cross to get to Monroe Center or GRCC. I don't think car traffic helps downtown retail that much. Monroe Center does fine without it.

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I was thinking N. Division where the only pedestrians you see are waiting to cross to get to Monroe Center or GRCC. I don't think car traffic helps downtown retail that much. Monroe Center does fine without it.

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Monroe Center hardly has any retail. It's mostly restaurants and coffee shops. I suppose heavy foot traffic is as good or better than heavy car traffic, but either way businesses need to be seen. Monroe Center does have foot traffic, but only during business hours.

I think GRDad has mentioned it before, but for substantial retail downtown to sustain itself it must draw people from outside of downtown. It needs to be a destination. It would probably take another 10,000 condos and apartments downtown for the downtown population to support much retail alone.

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This is why I always say, gear Division towards retail and the arts. The Magnificent Mile in Chicago is proof enough that traffic does not hinder retail development. It is a primary artery into downtown, has no southern barrier to development, has the highest mass transit route, will be served by BRT, and a combination of the already existing artistic community on the 100 Block combined with a primary retail destination would make it a unique shopping experience.

I don't think any of that will EVER take off, however, until the SW corner is developed, the Junior Achievemt building fixed up and gets a tennant, and the buildings next to and including the Kendall building are fixed up and gain tennants. People walking down Monroe Center just will not continue beyond the police station because it, well, looks like crap beyond that point. Monroe Center/Division/Fulton is a CRUCIAL key to improving the city, IMHO.

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I think what also helps Michigan Ave. is the park and public space that is across the street.

We keep thinking retail in terms of just cars, streets, and people. While these are definitely integral in retail, I'm willing to bet that so is public spaces and parks. I really do think that places that interact with the public by providing places to sit, sculptures, space to mingle, etc... can help.

I'm wondering if this retail task force will address this issue?

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Monroe Center/Division/Fulton is a CRUCIAL key to improving the city, IMHO.

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Well, Monroe Center is gaining another pound in retail. The long-vacant store front next to West Coast Coffee was being demolished today. A Hallmark card shop and some kind of food service (?) are going in, they said. (Perhaps moving from the Founders Trust Building? :huh: )

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Well, Monroe Center is gaining another pound in retail. The long-vacant store front next to West Coast Coffee was being demolished today. A Hallmark card shop and some kind of food service (?) are going in, they said. (Perhaps moving from the Founders Trust Building? :huh: )

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That's what I heard as well.. Hallmark. I saw the first-floor facade completely gone, and later in the day it was boarded up.

I took a few photos which I'll add tomorrow.

In response to Rizzo, the park is more of an anchor on one end. The majority of the retail from what I've seen in Chicago is north of the park. In GR on Division & Monroe Center, we can effectively have 3 anchor points: RPC, Vetern's Park, and the new Wealthy & Division park.

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Well, Monroe Center is gaining another pound in retail. The long-vacant store front next to West Coast Coffee was being demolished today. A Hallmark card shop and some kind of food service (?) are going in, they said. (Perhaps moving from the Founders Trust Building? :huh: )

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Can't find my USB cable, so I'm afraid no pics of the building from me yet.

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Speaking of Monroe Center, I just went to get lunch today and stopped in Ski's Subs which I think is new. I only had $3 on my so I asked if they accepted credit cards. They said no, but the guy who I think is the owner gave me a sub anyway on the promise that I'd come back later and pay him. Very nice!

The sub's not bad either.

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In response to Rizzo, the park is more of an anchor on one end. The majority of the retail from what I've seen in Chicago is north of the park. In GR on Division & Monroe Center, we can effectively have 3 anchor points: RPC, Vetern's Park, and the new Wealthy & Division park.

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Vetern's Park could be more akin to the Water Tower 'park' further north on Michigan, I suppose. Nothing really to do except for a few history buffs to read a few plaques, and maybe a picture or two for tourists. Provide a visual relief for those walking by.

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Every time I've been to Water Tower 'park' there has been a huge crowd gathered to watch one street act or another. Very cool place to linger about if you have the time and people watch

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It's kind of interesting when you look at the numbers. There are definite trends as to where voters believe certain areas should be located. GR Dad, is there a way for you to mock up a color coded map that somewhat reflects the poll results? I would be interested to see how that looks.

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