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GRDadof3

Health Park Central

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This looks pretty interesting. A big new development is before the PC for the area bounded by Cherry, Jefferson and State. The plans are for three phases of construction:

Phase 1) Demolition of the three multi-unit rental homes near Cherry Street and Jefferson for surface parking (hold on, there's more)

- Construction of a new 3 story 45,000 square foot Advantage Health office building that will connect with the existing office building on Cherry across from the new Hauenstein Neuroscience Center

- Existing one-story Advantage Health building at corner of Cherry and Jefferson to be demolished

Phase 2) Construction of a multi-story medical office building at the corner of Cherry and Jefferson, with a parking garage in the interior of the "triangle of land" between State, Cherry and Jefferson. No definitive timeline set.

Phase 3) Construction of a multi-story office building along Jefferson across from the new Hope Lodge, and a new multi-story mixed-use (office/retail) building along State Street, with all existing surface parking eliminated. No timeline set for this portion yet.

First phase plans:

2284858938_91b71b6fe4.jpg

Site plan with a zoom in of the first-floor floorplan:

2284859316_55979eae06_b.jpg

Elevations:

2284859084_a99ba8c281_o.jpg

I think it's too bad they are planning on tearing down those homes. Isn't there enough on-street parking, in addition to the lots, to not have to necessitate this? It appears they are just doing it for logistical reasons, as they shuffle workers from the old building to the new building and provide parking for patients. I love the urban format of the whole development though. Will the Planning Commission ask for a definitive timeline for complete buildout, in order to allow the demo of those houses?

Construction is set to start this year on Phase 1.

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Wow...a few things finally happening on the State St. corridor. So, did they ever make this area an NEZ? If so, the effects of doing so seem to be going as intended--Gateway Charter School to mixed use residential/office/retail and now this project. It would be nice if State St. got some new brick. There's some "dips" and "waves" in the brick that are a killer on my car. Would NEZ designation allow this to happen?

I agree with GRDad about those houses though--would be nice if they utilized them for offices or something instead of tearing them down (See: Davenport).

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Does someone have a guess as to how old those homes are? If they're kind of historic, they should not be tearing them down. That area has a tendency of loosing historic residences (there are some duplexes that are left that are pretty sweet) and currently it has more parking lots than homes. I will not be thrilled if this is the case. I am glad that there's a slight increase in density and the renderings look great, but I emphasize the word slight since most of the parking is still there.

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Does someone have a guess as to how old those homes are? If they're kind of historic, they should not be tearing them down. That area has a tendency of loosing historic residences (there are some duplexes that are left that are pretty sweet) and currently it has more parking lots than homes. I will not be thrilled if this is the case. I am glad that there's a slight increase in density and the renderings look great, but I emphasize the word slight since most of the parking is still there.

If I had to guess, they're probably of the same time period as most of the Heritage Hill homes just to the East. The issue that might arise is that they are NOT in the historic district, so I don't know if there is any protection for them from a historical perspective. I'll try and get some photos of the homes this week. Even in the application, it says they are multi-family properties now occupied, that they would need to purchase.

In fact, in a letter from Paradigm Design on behalf of the owner, the 3 houses were not part of the original plan for Phase I, but that "an opportunity has arisen" to purchase the homes (and tear them down). I don't get it. Why are perfectly fine homes being torn down to make way for parking? That doesn't sound like it's needed?

See for yourself:

http://www.ci.grand-rapids.mi.us/download_...58687b7c650.pdf

(item 6a)

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Will the Planning Commission ask for a definitive timeline for complete buildout, in order to allow the demo of those houses?

They better do this.

I can easily see after the demo, that the money for this project mysteriously never materializes or that the market "just didn't seem ready for a project like this", so now we have a brand new parking lot for St. Mary's to add to the growing number they already have, and no project.

I still think surface parking in DT should be taxed at 3 times the level of what it would be if an actual building sat there. St. Mary's is addicted to parking lots and would prefer taking their whole operation out of GR rather than give them up, so the city might as well make extra cash off of it.

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Here are some aerials of the homes until I can get photos (or anyone else who gets a chance).

The left aerial is the home on State Street, looking South. The right aerial is the of the two homes on Jefferson, looking East. They are definitely Heritage Hill era (turn of the 19th/20th Century).

2287862193_048b139b31_o.jpg

I have noticed before that the home on State looks like it had an addition put on to give the units balconies, probably in the 70's or 80's?

I agree Urbanist. It seems like St. Mary's is addicted to surface parking, even though they are building a big new parking ramp on the Cherry/Jefferson corner and tore down the Eerdman's facility for even more surface parking.

If I were the Planning Commission, and since the applicant does need a demolition approval, I'd say that they can come back with a demo application for the three homes when they have definitive plans/timeframes for Phase III. Meeting is Feb. 28th at the Planning Center on Monroe Ave NW (North of the Autodie plant), for those interested in attending.

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Someone should go on behalf of those homes. If I wasn't all the way down in FL I would certainly be there to express my opinion about it. That opinion being that they should come back when they are ready to build phase III and are asking for a demo application. Those homes should even be saved because I think they'd be excellent office space, even if phase III would add more density later. By the way, did all three of those homes OK their purchases?

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Someone should go on behalf of those homes. If I wasn't all the way down in FL I would certainly be there to express my opinion about it. That opinion being that they should come back when they are ready to build phase III and are asking for a demo application. Those homes should even be saved because I think they'd be excellent office space, even if phase III would add more density later. By the way, did all three of those homes OK their purchases?

I assume they have an option on them. They are all owned by the same individual, who lists 216 State St (one of the homes to be demo'd) as his home address. I'm not against tearing down houses if it means that the site is put to better use. But to tear them down for parking, that they don't need right now, is moving backwards, IMO.

It's noble that their final plan is to eliminate all the surface parking in the area, and build an interior parking ramp for the whole development, if that ever happens. But doesn't tearing down these houses go against the whole principle of building wisely in an urban environment? It's like they get it, but they don't really get it. It's like they're just looking at this as an opportunity to add to their land holdings and parking inventory. Can't they just give the option a deadline 3 or 5 years out, that locks in their price?

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As much as none of us like to see more parking, I think St Mary's like any other business looking at expansion has to keep in mind that when you add x many jobs, you need to add x many parking places, because right now in this city, there is almost a 1 to 1 employee to car ratio, not to mention the patient's (customer's) cars. The only way to aleviate this is to offer a viable alternative to bringing your car to work. That is why mass transit development is important NOW, not 20 years down the road, when things will be that much worse. Also, look at what happened to Metro Hospital, when the neighbors refused to sell.

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Here are the homes in question, as well as other structures in the immediate area that are also NOT protected by historic preservation status:

Chris Knape, in an article today, mentions that one of the homes dates back to the 1880's.

House on State St:

TO BE DEMOLISHED FOR A PARKING LOT

2293175965_5456a6d7a8_b.jpg

Homes on Jefferson:

TO BE DEMOLISHED FOR A PARKING LOT

2293961420_6ebdf0911d_b.jpg

2293961852_ecd49ae87f_b.jpg

2293961638_3200722060_b.jpg

In their context:

2293176669_0a91837898_b.jpg

Across Jefferson (not protected, can be demolished today for a few bucks):

2293966172_051e1b573c_b.jpg

Not protected:

2293178893_89f180b556_b.jpg

Get the dozers ready:

2293963896_b94fa642c3_b.jpg

In the way of progress:

2293964346_ff94377913_b.jpg

Not worth the dirt it sits on:

2293965052_12838255f5_b.jpg

The new Hope Lodge across the street (which did replace a junky old garage):

2293966772_e7714c0e3e_b.jpg

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TO BE DEMOLISHED FOR A PARKING LOT

Across Jefferson (not protected, can be demolished today for a few bucks):

Not protected

Get the dozers ready

In the way of progress

That's a shame. I think that Half Century apartments is going to stay though. The owner was very proud that he won a historic preservation award a few years ago for the exterior renovation, and he wants to make them condos. I suppose that could all change if the offer was right though...I hope not.

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Here are the homes in question, as well as other structures in the immediate area that are also NOT protected by historic preservation status:

Actually, a few of the places you show are within the Heritage Hill historic district... the district covers the area bounded by Fulton, Jefferson, and State (and east).

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Wait, so are you saying that all of those structures pictured will be demolished? Is there anyway they can move the houses?

Other than the demolition, I think this is a nice looking project. That area is way overdue for a makeover.

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Wait, so are you saying that all of those structures pictured will be demolished? Is there anyway they can move the houses?

Other than the demolition, I think this is a nice looking project. That area is way overdue for a makeover.

No, just the first three houses right now. And thanks for the clarification GRCP. I wondered where the HH district ended. So the one multi-family across the street (West) of this site is not in a historic district (?).

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No, just the first three houses right now. And thanks for the clarification GRCP. I wondered where the HH district ended. So the one multi-family across the street (West) of this site is not in a historic district (?).

Correct.

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Someone should go on behalf of those homes. If I wasn't all the way down in FL I would certainly be there to express my opinion about it. That opinion being that they should come back when they are ready to build phase III and are asking for a demo application. Those homes should even be saved because I think they'd be excellent office space, even if phase III would add more density later. By the way, did all three of those homes OK their purchases?

Why can't they just move the houses? If they could move the entire GEM theatre in Detroit (far larger), then they could move these houses to vacant lots close by.

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Why can't they just move the houses? If they could move the entire GEM theatre in Detroit (far larger), then they could move these houses to vacant lots close by.

Well I believe the Gem was the largest brick building ever moved in a single peice so it's kind of on the upper limit. Nevertheless, houses like that could definitely be moved, it's just a matter of whether it would be worth moving them (or demolishing them for that matter - though much cheaper) for a few more parking spaces.

I kind of wish I hadn't looked at the pictures, that blue house is really handsome...and in such good and original condition.

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You can't build those kinds of houses anymore. I too like the blue house a lot. It has a lot of character and thus, should be either moved or we (as passionate UPers) should do everything we can to convince St. Marys to reconsider. We all get upset when we see old photos of beautiful homes that no longer exist (I personally get really upset when I see the old city hall and courthouse). Anyone up to being handcuffed to the wrecking ball if they get the OK to demo??? ;)

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It seems like the very LAST thing this neighborhood needs is more surface parking. My most recent visit to bring a relative to the St. Mary's emergency room resulted in an instant parking space near the entrance - absolutely no problem in finding a spot in the very middle of the day. To tear down more historically related housing stock seems unconscionable and unfit for appeal of the neighborhood. I lived a year (1985 or 6) in that large apartment building at Jefferson and Oakes for VERY reasonable rent, and it was a solid, quality building. The owner at the time was named Allsburg, or VanAllsburg. Never had a problem in the neighborhood, it was quiet and comfortable and that building would make for a great rehab into higher end apartments or condos. Seems like there's no good reason for it to be demolished along with any of the other great looking homes shown above.

Planning commission - don't allow it!

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It seems like the very LAST thing this neighborhood needs is more surface parking. My most recent visit to bring a relative to the St. Mary's emergency room resulted in an instant parking space near the entrance - absolutely no problem in finding a spot in the very middle of the day. To tear down more historically related housing stock seems unconscionable and unfit for appeal of the neighborhood. I lived a year (1985 or 6) in that large apartment building at Jefferson and Oakes for VERY reasonable rent, and it was a solid, quality building. The owner at the time was named Allsburg, or VanAllsburg. Never had a problem in the neighborhood, it was quiet and comfortable and that building would make for a great rehab into higher end apartments or condos. Seems like there's no good reason for it to be demolished along with any of the other great looking homes shown above.

Planning commission - don't allow it!

Same guy still owns them. And like I mentioned earlier, they don't need the parking spaces for Phase I, as outlined in this letter. It's just that the opportunity has arisen, and they probably don't want to buy them and become landlords for the current tenants. Plus, to hospitals, parking = GOLD. St. Mary's will say "sure, if you want to buy them from us and move them, go right ahead".

2296279616_b1cd989774_b.jpg

They should be denied the application to demolish the homes until definitive plans for Phase III are in play. That would at least allow time for someone interested in buying them to move them, to do the legwork. That blue house is pretty sweet. Has a Mackinac Island feel to it with the rounded bays. The house on State also has a nice Italianate feel to it.

Planning Commission meeting is tomorrow afternoon.

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From the GR Press article:

Last year, Saint Mary's unveiled plans to redevelop the area around its hospital campus into a more walkable, mixed-use neighborhood.

I guess the area has become way more walkable since that hospital has removed almost everything that you have to walk around. Nothing but straight-line traveling in that part of town.

At one time, the area around Saint Mary's was a gritty district filled with offices, a publishing house, churches, auto shops, restaurants and lower-end housing.

This is the same reasoning they used for Urban Renewal in the 60s, and now many of the same people who were all for that now lament losing those buildings. At one time HH was like that and so was the Heartside area. And yes, St. Mary's wanted to take out a chunk of HH at one time too.

In recent years, tens of millions of dollars have been invested to expand the hospital's facilities and redevelop other nearby properties.

A side effect has been the demolition of many buildings to make way for parking lots.

Some redevelopment! <_<

I cant believe that after all the efforts for New Urbanism and Green Cities that we still have this garbage taking place!

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I'll sit there right on the steps of those homes, chained to the porch if there's ever a dozer or wrecking ball out front. There is no reason those need to be demolished at all.

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I'll sit there right on the steps of those homes, chained to the porch if there's ever a dozer or wrecking ball out front. There is no reason those need to be demolished at all.

Especially for a f#$^in parking lot. I'll sit with ya :)

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