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GRDadof3

City looking for development proposals for Fulton & Ionia surface lot - 22 Ottawa

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Some thoughts on this from "GRsuperCity" and myself over at MLive's GR Blog:

GRsuperCity December 07, 2011 at 2:30PM

Grand Rapids is the central hub or west Michigan. Building downtown will not only bring in more jobs to downtown but also create jobs. This would be a positive move to GR and to downtown.

GRSuperCity:

Your insight is in-line with proper urban planning logic. The conservatism of the proposal itself flies in the face of this same logic however. Said another way, with such a small footprint that has such a relatively pricey rate attached to it, the developers - and downtown in general - would maximize their investment to a far greater degree by making their plan capable of vertically containing more rent-paying uses that strengthen the entertainment/housing/retail/office synergy of the Arena District and that attaches itself to the strongest theme of that area - VANANDEL ARENA (i.e. - go in that location with 15 or more stories).

A dynamic example for this would be the analogy of Boston's Back Bay district and its Prudential Center/Copley Place area. With GR's Arena District standing in as our Back Bay, Van Andel Arena would supply the requisite icon structure as Prudential Center provides for Back Bay. In such an analog, the Fulton/Ionia lot of this article along with the Fulton/Ionia/Louis lot and former Michigan National Bank ramp site would provide complimentary footprints to be the sites of a unified three-tower mixed-use high-rise development that could be built over time in multiple phases.

The CWD Real Estate lot (Phase One) would be the analog of Copley Place (One Arena Tower?) with an atrium mall of 20-30 shops NOT FOUND ANYWHERE BETWEEN CHICAGO AND DETROIT on the bottom five floors with appropriate mix of housing/hotel/office space on the upper floors up to 15-40 stories. It would skywalk across Ionia into a Phase Two on the Fulton/Ionia/Louis lot (Two Arena Tower?) that would be an analog to the Shops at Prudential Center and likewise contain another atrium mall of 20-30 shops NOT FOUND ANYWHERE BETWEEN CHICAGO AND DETROIT on the bottom five floors with another appropriate mix of housing/hotel/office space on its upper floors up to 15-30 stories. This second phase, in turn, would skywalk across Louis Street into a Phase Three (Three Arena Tower?) on the former Michigan National Bank ramp site that would be an all-department store analog (Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s or Von Maur - all stores that have been looking at GR for since 1998) to the Neiman Marcus multi-story base of Copley Place. A 5-story branch of any of those lurking stores on the bottom five floors of a third tower with another appropriate mix of housing/hotel/office space on its upper floors up to 15-20 stories would round out a MUCH more impactful and super-regional anchor for the Arena District and the crossroads between South Downtown and Monroe Center/Rosa Parks Circle.

Such a three-tower concept in such a tight area – once fully realized – could become a phenomenal southern downtown hub with an incredible density of workers, residents and visitors. I suspect that it would become a spark for the third and fourth waves of Arena District development along West Fulton, Ionia and Commerce Avenues as well as the Area Four & Five Lots behind VanAndel Arena and even up the street at the SE corner of Metropolitan Center at Division and Fulton.

-Metrogrkid December 07, 2011 at 5:59PM

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Your insight is in-line with proper urban planning logic. The conservatism of the proposal itself flies in the face of this same logic however. Said another way, with such a small footprint that has such a relatively pricey rate attached to it, the developers - and downtown in general - would maximize their investment to a far greater degree by making their plan capable of vertically containing more rent-paying uses that strengthen the entertainment/housing/retail/office synergy of the Arena District and that attaches itself to the strongest theme of that area - VANANDEL ARENA (i.e. - go in that location with 15 or more stories).

A dynamic example for this would be the analogy of Boston's Back Bay district and its Prudential Center/Copley Place area. With GR's Arena District standing in as our Back Bay, Van Andel Arena would supply the requisite icon structure as Prudential Center provides for Back Bay. In such an analog, the Fulton/Ionia lot of this article along with the Fulton/Ionia/Louis lot and former Michigan National Bank ramp site would provide complimentary footprints to be the sites of a unified three-tower mixed-use high-rise development that could be built over time in multiple phases.

You sound like Duane Faust. Where's the market for all this retail and office space?

Remember, Back Bay is a highly dense and extremely affluent residential neighborhood that can support the Prudential Center. Though the trends are moving in a positive direction, downtown GR still has a long way to go before it has a dense low-to-medium income population, let alone an affluent one. I The only real similarities between GR and Back Bay are (1) the Convention Centers and (2) the hotels, both of which bring in out-of-town traffic. However, Boston has a lot more out-of-towners than GR does. That's not a slight on Devos Place; Boston's just a busier city.

I like CWD's proposal; I like how its ultramodern look slides right in, next to a dark red historic building. I don't think it's conservative at all; it fits with the size and scope of offices relocating downtown right now. If anything, I hope it's not too much of a gamble.

Edited by RegalTDP

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I heard from a reliable source that nothing is going on. The have some preliminary renderings but it is going to take a major tenant to move anything forward. Could be a while.

Joe

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I agree it should be mixed use (which I think the city called for), but I don't think they'd get move forward until they got a long-term office user (or two).

Joe

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With UICA doing well with its apartments and this to me a better location - is the price per square foot conducive to building more apartments?

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Iv been trying to find a nice apartment for a while. Everyone i talk to is full and puts me on the waiting list. Just look at icon and bond, they turned into apartments and filled fast.

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Joe,

Can you get your hands on the preliminary renderings from your reliable source? Even if they are very preliminary, it would be interesting to see what people are invisioning for this space.

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Unfortunately, I can't. I have to play dumb and act like I don't know much about what's going on downtown. I think if they knew I followed it so closely, they wouldn't talk as much. LOL.

Joe

Joe,

Can you get your hands on the preliminary renderings from your reliable source? Even if they are very preliminary, it would be interesting to see what people are invisioning for this space.

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Wasn't there an image posted on here? Or maybe in the Press? errr, Mlive.

Like this one from Mlive

10329589-large.jpg

Courtesy CWD Real Estate/Integrated Architecture

Edited by Gorath

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CWD buys the the neighboring "Trade Center" building at 50 Louis.

http://www.mlive.com..._the_downt.html

I have a feeling that whatever CWD puts up in the parking lot the Trade Center will be a part of it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the floors were connected.

In related news, Open Concept Gallery is moving out of the Trade Center.

Edited by Gorath

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Interesting. I walked past the Trade Center building yesterday. It needs some love. It's a beautiful building but have heard it's a maze on the inside. I hope CWD brings it back, makes it more usable.

Joe

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It was a maze just to get to the gallery, but I kind of enjoyed that aspect of it. Made it a bit fun. Does anyone know where Open Concept will be moving to?

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I totally missed this. I'll bet they got a deal with that stellar occupancy rate. According to AccessKent, 50 Louis is still owned by First Ward 2, LLC, whose registered agent is Peter Colovos of Prairie Real Estate (who supposedly has sold to CWD). First Ward paid $3.34 million in 2004 for a building that is about 75,000 square feet, so about $45.00 a foot. I've got to assume that they took a haircut, given the abysmal occupancy rates, and the interim real estate crash.

This leads me back to my original question a few months ago: Why in the world would CWD spend $15 million plus to put up a 127,000 sqft building ($120/ft)? Particularly so now that they own a building next door which is practically vacant. Either this is all pie-in-the-sky speculation, or they have a plan to make 1+1=3 by acquiring both properties and somehow tacking on adequate parking.

My thought: If, in fact, Gallery actually has decent occupancy at an outrageous $1700 a month for a two bedroom, CWD has found its magic bullet. At basically $20 a foot, with less than 10% vacancy, things would look a little more rosy (even if that isn't a NNN rate). Commercial leases are great, but residential isn't bad for those prices either.

(As an FYI--CWD either recently bought or took over management of Ledyard and Trust Buildings as well).

CWD buys the the neighboring "Trade Center" building at 50 Louis.

http://www.mlive.com..._the_downt.html

I have a feeling that whatever CWD puts up in the parking lot the Trade Center will be a part of it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the floors were connected.

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I totally missed this. I'll bet they got a deal with that stellar occupancy rate. According to AccessKent, 50 Louis is still owned by First Ward 2, LLC, whose registered agent is Peter Colovos of Prairie Real Estate (who supposedly has sold to CWD). First Ward paid $3.34 million in 2004 for a building that is about 75,000 square feet, so about $45.00 a foot. I've got to assume that they took a haircut, given the abysmal occupancy rates, and the interim real estate crash.

This leads me back to my original question a few months ago: Why in the world would CWD spend $15 million plus to put up a 127,000 sqft building ($120/ft)? Particularly so now that they own a building next door which is practically vacant. Either this is all pie-in-the-sky speculation, or they have a plan to make 1+1=3 by acquiring both properties and somehow tacking on adequate parking.

My thought: If, in fact, Gallery actually has decent occupancy at an outrageous $1700 a month for a two bedroom, CWD has found its magic bullet. At basically $20 a foot, with less than 10% vacancy, things would look a little more rosy (even if that isn't a NNN rate). Commercial leases are great, but residential isn't bad for those prices either.

(As an FYI--CWD either recently bought or took over management of Ledyard and Trust Buildings as well).

So you're guessing that the Trade Center Bldg will go residential?

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I can't see the Trade Center being residential. The building is just too big. By that I mean that you are very far from the exterior windows in the center of the building. And it would make for some very dark and cavernous apartments. Unless you plan to cut a light well down the center of the building. The Heartside Historic District crosses Fulton to include this building. I don't know if that would prevent someone from putting a light well in the center of the building.

The other problem is that the south wall that faces the parking ramp drive could in the future become windowless if something gets built right up next to it. Now with CWD becoming the potential buyer for that property they could work the new building to not block off these windows. But it is something that would have to be worked out before you decide to make the move to apartments at the Trade Center.

What are the current tenants? Federal Public Defenders, Brett N. Rodgers, Lee & Birch. Plus Open Concept which is moving out. Any I missed?

It makes more sense to me to make the new building apartments. You would have some pretty good views facing the streets from there. However the apartments that would look in to the parking ramp/drive wouldn't be so great.

Edited by Gorath

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I agree, the Trade Center building might be too deep for residential.

I could see residential in the new space (or a mixture of both), with more sq. footage per floor by combing the two buildings. I think something is in the works. And this is all second and third hand, lots of speculating on my part. :)

Joe

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So you're guessing that the Trade Center Bldg will go residential?

New building, although they could offer some of the Trade Center as residential. If you can sucker people into living at Union Square (although that should now be known as Foreclosure Square), the Trade Center should be a cakewalk! CWD now has tons of cheap office space which is apparently undesirable as it presently sits. If they are going to do a new building, I suspect they tie plans to the Trade Center.

Edited by x99

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When I rode past this lot on the way home today, there was a small Bobcat, or bobcat-like excavating machine that had just finished tearing up almost all of the asphalt in the parking lot.

I'm not sure this means much, but it was sort of refreshing to see a surface parking lot disappearing, instead of the opposite.

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