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highwayguy

Redevelopment along 28th Street

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I always had good experiences at that Office Depot, I'm sad to see it go. The Office Max in Roger's Plaza, however, is not high on my list of liked places.

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The Press today had an article about a proposed used car dealership on 28th St pending approval. Wyoming's mayor is quoted ...

"We could fill all these buildings, but I'm not excited about 28th Street being filled with tattoo parlors or secondhand stores because, at some point, things are going to turn around."

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2010/06/whats_the_future_of_28th_stree.html

I'm wondering if cities can afford to be selective in this day & age. Opinions?

Edited by arcturus

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I have received word on good authority that ALDI will be replacing the Fresh Market Store.

Remember the Fresh Market store, out in Cascade Twp (aka God's country)? Something's happening there...two matching panel vans with large logos (don't recognize the company), lights on inside the building.

Yah, the Target/Costco shopping center needs another viable business. Nothing to buy over there by the concrete reservoir.

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Radical new concept for 28th St in Wyoming. Basically an arc road S. of 28th curving through Studio 28 and Rogers Plaza properties to be filled in with new development. My initial reaction is, "It's going to cost a lot of money to displace and knockdown the existing businesses there to build a new roadway and start up a bunch of new buildings from scratch." It's a PUD. Nope, I can't get over my first reaction. I do like the idea but redevelopment to that extent would be a tough sell.

Would this even be in the running for state funding since it isn't really a part of the state road? That would chop out a huge pile of cash right there. I'd would assume it would fall under some other funding.

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Mixed emotions on this. A lot of criticism about 28th St seems to centered on the *type* of business (tattoo parlors, dollar stores, automotive, etc). While some might not like it, they do fulfill consumer's needs especially in this tough economic environment, part of their success owing to cheaper rent. Everyone goes there at one time or another (or Alpine). Accepting this, I'd rather see them concentrated in 1 or 2 areas in town rather than dispersed all over.

Cities across the country are coming to grips with this. Retail will never be the same because online shopping (and megastores) are replacing smaller brick & mortar establishments. There's a huge vacuum that's been created that will never be replaced. Maybe the best (and perhaps only thing) is to foster those remaining businesses where 'kicking the tire' retail will always be needed. That and encourage new businesses which seem to thrive in that type of environment like Hobo. For everything else let 28th St businesses close & contract, not blading new surrounding retail wastelands.

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Radical new concept for 28th St in Wyoming. Basically an arc road S. of 28th curving through Studio 28 and Rogers Plaza properties to be filled in with new development. My initial reaction is, "It's going to cost a lot of money to displace and knockdown the existing businesses there to build a new roadway and start up a bunch of new buildings from scratch." It's a PUD. Nope, I can't get over my first reaction. I do like the idea but redevelopment to that extent would be a tough sell.

Would this even be in the running for state funding since it isn't really a part of the state road? That would chop out a huge pile of cash right there. I'd would assume it would fall under some other funding.

In case any of you missed it, there is a link in the mlive article to the web page that explains and gives more details about the 28th Street project. Particularly interesting (although hard to slog through) is the Preliminary Market Assessment pdf.

project link

This may be just the opinion of a grumpy old man, but I don't see much chance of the proposal in the mlive map happening, and if it did that it would be successful. I think it is more of a wishful thinking default plan that eliminates what is even more likely to not happen, i.e. a new modern shopping mall, or quality big box stores.

What 28th Street used to have going for it back when Rogers Plaza was new was a strong base of good paying manufacturing jobs within about a mile to the south and a mile to the north, along with residential consisting of young growing families. To the north I'm thinking of Reynolds Metals, the GM Diesel Equipment (later Delphi) plant, and Kelvinator. To the south was the giant GM stamping plant. 28th Street was right in the middle of that. Most of those jobs are gone and I don't think the current demographics are going to attract the investment to carry out this proposal.

Mixed emotions on this. A lot of criticism about 28th St seems to centered on the *type* of business (tattoo parlors, dollar stores, automotive, etc). While some might not like it, they do fulfill consumer's needs especially in this tough economic environment, part of their success owing to cheaper rent. Everyone goes there at one time or another (or Alpine). Accepting this, I'd rather see them concentrated in 1 or 2 areas in town rather than dispersed all over.

I think certain streets and areas already fill this low rent incubator role. I’m thinking of Bridge Street, Leonard, Wealthy, and most of South Division. I think Wyoming is desperate for a not so low rent downtown.

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I love the idea. It's a clever way of getting around the problems of making 28th a "downtown" street: on-street parking and walkability. Whether it will happen and be successful is another matter.

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I think that it has a great chance to be successful as long as it isn't attempted all at once and they stick to their plan. In this case you aren't looking for a single, or even multiple developers to do the whole thing at once. you build some or all of the roads and zone the size buildings that you will allow. it will get built out as the market demand allows. it may take a while but it reminds me of downtown birmingham with old woodward and the "new" woodward as a bypass. I don't think that it will have the kinds of stores that downtown birmingham has but it doesn't need those it just needs a scale that supports pedestrian traffic along with a easy way to access it, which I think the plan does very nicely.

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While I like the concept, I wonder where the demand, and the money would come from. I don't see the need (other than the need for something better than already exists), and it seems like the money won't be there to build it. It's a shame, but I see the newly remodeled Klingmans, and many other buildings, sitting empty (or extremely under-utilized) for a long time to come.

Joe

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the money wont be a problem if they let it grow organically. let it be built building by building, like cities were built long ago. these days people have come to expect "developments" like what they did in gas light village or all these "lifestyle centers". It doesn't need to be done that way. it may take 10 years for it to get done (or longer) but if you give it a chance it will be far superior in the end. you end up with a far richer urban fabric when you allow it to be built piecemeal. that is as long as you have certain standards.

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While I like the concept, I wonder where the demand, and the money would come from. I don't see the need (other than the need for something better than already exists), and it seems like the money won't be there to build it. It's a shame, but I see the newly remodeled Klingmans, and many other buildings, sitting empty (or extremely under-utilized) for a long time to come.

Joe

I agree, I don't see it ever being more than a dream. The reason why all those buildings are empty is not poor design, it's shifting demographics and buying habits. Who's going to live in this development that will be able to sustain the retail aspects? Young people? With no money? Plus, as soon as you start tearing down buildings and displacing the current retailers left there, they'll move on to other locations and never come back.

Wasn't the idea of clearing entire blocks to create "a new city" tried before? And failed?

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I saw this link on MSN today and immediately thought of 28th St. Nine dead malls that thrive in the afterlife. They all follow pretty much the same story- 1960s mall, 1990s death, 2000s restructure. Not always the typical PUD either. I would never argue against this type of re-use in general, I just can't see it happening easily on 28th St. Obviously a mall would have one owner to deal with and they would probably be more willing to knock it down to reinvest. The 20-50 owners (total guess there) in the areas noted on the Wyoming Map would be far more difficult to corral.

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Went to the Big Boy restaurant in Roger's Plaza yesterday and we found out that they will be closing down at 2PM next Sunday for good. Sad to see it go out of business.

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Since for one day at least Wyoming was hopping thanks to the metro cruise, I decided to take my daily walk along 28th Street yesterday. I haven't seen the parking lot at Rogers Plaza as full as it was last night since the Christmas shopping season of 1970 (I think it was full of mostly the same cars as then.)

I noticed that there has been some recent deconstruction going on just east of Burlingame on the north side. An old auto service building and unrelated adjacent auto parts store have been torn down leaving a significant gap in the streetscape. Based on the torn up parking lot the next property, the old Sweeden House restaurant, might (hopefully) be next. Anyone know if there are any plans for these properties?

Here's a goggle map street view of the three buildings:

http:// http://maps.google.c...=12,332.87,,0,0

Similarly on 44thStreet the old music store and adjacent house west of the Ace Hardware store have been torn down very recently:

http://maps.google.c...p=12,22.36,,0,0

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There wasnt a dedicated Wyoming topic that I could find, and this does count as along 28th street, but here is the video of the proposed "28 West" development.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUAI4S0jMDM

 

Obligatory link to the Mlive fun house:

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/08/imagine_28_west_go_on_flyover.html

 

13304641-large.jpg

 

Ok. I dont quite know what to make of this. I feel sorry for Wyoming. I really do. My parents now live just down the road from where all of this would take place, and seeing the sad landscape I drive through in order to visit them, I would want nothing more than for this to happen.

 

But I'm not naive. This isnt ever going to happen.

 

First of all, the scope of this project would involve demolishing EVERYTHING between Clyde Park and Bulingame. Every single structure. There is nothing there now that fits the map shown in the video. No one in the video said if there was even a loose agreement of the existing property owners to participate in this effort where their businesses will have to close and the buildings demolished.

 

Second, Wyoming will have to run several new streets where there are now massive parking lots and strip malls. They tried this idea once and the property owners thoroughly rejected it.

 

Then you have the whole idea that this is supposed to be a "downtown". Downtowns generally are not lifestyle centers, which this is. One of the 3 legs of a central urban area (outside of residential and commerce) is a municipal presence of some sort. less than 10 years ago Wyoming won the ability to rebuild their police station, city hall, courthouse, and public library. Pretty much all of their civil structures. They chose to scatter them. Their city hall is still a forgetful building on 28th street like the one it replaced. The courthouse is behind it, front door facing a parking lot and the back of city hall. The police station, while impressive, is down the street by some parks and a retirement home. The amazing looking library is someplace I cant even remember off the top of my head, but the 2 times a decade I drive past it on accident, it looks really nice!

 

The point is that while real downtowns have those buildings in a nearby cluster. Downtown Wyoming....or 28 West will have none. It will never have the look or feel of a real downtown. i cant even tell if it will be a real place of a roofless mall. Those places are incredibly important if this is to be taken seriously as a real place to be the center of Wyoming life. No civic buildings = no civic core = no one may care about the place.

 

Then there is my pet-peeve of the massive visible parking lots. While the ones to the south arent too bad for now, what is the deal with the ones facing 28th street? There are no building there to screen that off from view. There basically is no development to improve the look of the street that this development is taking it's name from, and completely abandons the area north of 28th to view nothing but the ugly backs of these new structures that will be facing a new central road. It lends more to the idea that this is going to be something like a Celebration Village lifestyle center, and not a real attempt at a dense urban core.

 

What better way of taming 28th street then having zero setback development on both sides? Eventually traffic circles and planted medians, maybe mass-transit stops will come in and further help tap down the traffic. You already are proposing a rudimentary street grid that will siphon off some cars naturally.

 

But this is Wyoming. It is the 2nd largest city in the county, and a amorphic blob of a place that has never had a civic soul. It just was that town that you moved to when you got a good income and wanted to get away from the blight of GR. The unfortunate thing is that those people ditched the place and went to Grandville, Jension, Hudsonville, and Georgetown when the houses started to look better out there. Heck, maybe even Holland Twp..

 

They left a city that is basically a place you drive through to get somewhere you'd rather be, and as a stop for where you go when you want an inexpensive place to live...until you can afford to get out. So Wyoming, for its sake, needs this BADLY. I just dont know if it can get its people to love the place enough to care.

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I agree with everything you said. Is 28th Street (in Wyoming) even still a "shopping and dining destination" for all of West Michigan? I don't really see it as such anymore...it's more of a dying area. Has anyone else been in Rogers Plaza lately? I have, and I got out as soon as possible because I felt so depressed in there.

 

Wyoming does not have a downtown, and it never really has. Grandville is really the only inner-suburb that has any semblance of a downtown. Any development like this that takes place off of 28th Street will, in my opinion, fail. If they continue to treat 28th St as simply a way to get from one point to the other, I'm afraid that all Wyoming will end up with is a failed 'town center.' The problem with places like Wyoming, Kentwood and Jenison is that they are not built around actually villages or towns (or at least what once were village centers are no more). These places (minus Jenison) incorporated purely as suburbs of Grand Rapids. If Wyoming officials actually want some sort of downtown, I think it will have to be directly on 28th St. This would be difficult to work-out since 28th St is a state highway, but I'm sure compromises could be made to calm the street down in order to provide a pedestrian-friendly environment.

 

 

^

Your last two paragraphs couldn't be more true! I'm still living in Byron Center right now (just graduated), and you wouldn't believe the amount of families that are moving out of Wyoming to Byron Center...has it really been that long ago since Wyoming was the place to be?

Edited by jonathan.jam

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Back in the day, when I was growing up in Cascade and going to Forest Hills HS (it didn't become Central until my senior year), we didn't have much of a high opinion of Wyoming then.  And that was in the early 1970s.  It wasn't that we were hoity-toity upper income class (my dad was a mid-level federal employee), but Wyoming just seemed so "schlocky" and just not that appealing to visit for whatever reason.  Even Rogers Plaza seemed past its prime back then.  Not that Cascade had a lot to brag about, but this was before the worst of the strip development came creeping down 28th Street to Cascade Road.

 

I'm not surprised to hear the comments about Wyoming, but many of us felt that way 40 years ago!

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I agree with most of the posters. One alternative for a viable town center street is to focus on a perpendicular street to 28th. This is a successful approach in many communities where you have the direct access and visibility from the major thoroughfare but the ability to create a more comfortable environment on a smaller street. Wyoming will never be able to achieve the density required to over-shadow 28th street. It works in Chicago on Michigan Ave, because there are 15-100 story buildings and 25 ft sidewalks. Sorry, but that ain't happening here.

 

While I commend the 28 West vision, a parallel street is going to lack the visibility, the traffic, and is a too large for what the market can support. I would start with investing on a one block stretch of an existing street -- do a road diet on one of the N-S street, put some substantial CDBG dollars towards redoing the infrastructure on that section, and subsidize or fully pay for the first few buildings to get things up and running. There is no reason that walkable redeveloped neighborhoods can only cater to the affluent. People like community, and I would be a wager on Wyoming residents desiring supporting some sort of town center -- ice cream, coffee, deli, dinner place, bar, etc on the ground floor with possible apartments above.  

 

GR_Urbanist is absolutely right -- Wyoming had a viable investment opportunity to anchor the concept with their civic buildings. But by choosing a typical suburban, non-synergistic approach to their civic buildings it is going to very difficult to find those anchor buildings that can feed day-time demand.  

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I think there might still be some possibility for the sort of town center development were more attention paid to Michael / DeHoop. Consider that as a boulevard with walkable spaces and you could link the s neighborhoods directly to Pinery Park. The 28th St crossing then could be built with something like a plaza at the city hall. A strong center with a real civic gathering point would help make the cross street work better.

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The cost to do this will be tremendous, which means the rents will be tremendous, which means the businesses will charge a lot for their goods, which means the customers will have to have lots of money...

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Don't be hung up on whether or not this is a "real" downtown.  Calling it "Downtown Wyoming" is just a marketing strategy.  All the city wants is a viable commercial retail strip that gives them revenue.  They're just following the current trends of suburban retail, which demand ample surface parking and a "town center" look.  Likewise, that's why Centerpointe Mall is being torn down for something that will look similar.

 

The "28 West" model has been successfully built in other places.  Brea, CA comes to mind.  In the late 1990s, Brea Mall was ugly and outdated compared to the newer malls in surrounding cities, so they built a "Downtown" nearby to spark some new retail investment (BTW, I know this area, and the map doesn't even show all the surface parking that's there).

 

Obviously, Wyoming is not Brea.  Brea is smaller, with a median income of $81,278.  Wyoming is still growing overall, but it's mostly been south of 44th Street (and predominantly in the Grandville School District).  Most neighborhoods north of 44th shrank in the last census.  

 

And that's what it boils down to.  No matter the flaws in the design or the bad urban planning; if the area were growing, incomes going up, and the demand was there, that would be enough to make this work.

 

To be fair, Wyoming doesn't plan to do this overnight.  This is supposed to be built in increments over literally 50 years; that's why they're not aggressively seeking agreements and tearing things down now.  But I have no solutions on how to turn the area's shrinking demographics around.  Maybe they're banking on astronomical economic growth for the metro area over the next 50 years?

Edited by RegalTDP

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For Wyoming not to go the way of Detroits inner ring they are going to have to find ways to attract the crowd everyone wants.  I applaud them for trying at least :)

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I'm not sure what inner ring you're talking about.  There are few suburbs from Detroit that compare to those in GR. Most burbs there began as actual individual cities but now basically merge together.  You still get the original early 1900s downtown feel from Grosse Pointes, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Berkley, Garden City, Wyondotte etc etc.  Varied degrees of current success of course, but still an individual central business area in the inner ring.  EGR and Grandville are the only similar burbs here.  Varied degrees of success there too.

Wyoming is more like Warren with an unforgiving, aimless sprawl.  What Wyoming wants to do is focus it's sprawl a bit better.  I like the idea but this undertaking seems filled with numerous obstacles.  

I went to Ikea Canton this past weekend and drove down Ford Road from 14 to I-275.  Much of that stretch is a major shopping district that has exploded in the past 10-15 years.  All the traffic and parking you guys hate, but it has an overall cohesive feel to it with complementing brick buildings, a low brick wall along the length of the sidewalk, a number of art pieces, imaginative planting.  Despite the traffic and strip mall nail salons, it was very well done.  I was surprisingly impressed and most of the spaces were rented.

The Wyoming web site has some alternate iterations that are not quite as adventurous but would accomplish much of the same.  Even the Canton approach was less work than 28 West.

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