joeDowntown

Two Competing Casino plans for Grand Rapids (?!)

31 posts in this topic

Has anyone been watching these events unfold?

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/208670/14/Competing-GR-Casino-Plans-

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2012/04/casino_plans_would_be_devastat.html

Two competing casino organizers from outside of the area are trying to shoe horn a casino into Grand Rapids (one identifies the old Sligh Furniture Building off Century ~ ultimately demolishing a piece of history with 'good bones' ).

I sure hope neither of these proposals get off the ground. I don't think a casino is the answer, let alone one that hasn't been well thought out and intergrated into the fabric of downtown (even then, I'd be opposed).

Thoughts?

Joe

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The fact that the group pushing this statewide initiative is called "Citizens for More Michigan Jobs" just makes me sick. These casinos would not be destinations for out-of-state tourists. Therefore, they'd simply be redistributing some money from one group of GR citizens to another, with the non-local owners taking a hefty percentage. For any initiative to actually create jobs, it must either lead to the export of goods or the import of non-local customers. This would do neither.

Also, this is hardly the kind of business I'd like to see come into downtown. Casino advertising sure makes it look glamorous, but in reality it'd be mostly a bunch of retirees blowing through their Social Security checks while sitting glassy-eyed in front of a slot machine. Casinos don't contribute to their surrounding environment - to the contrary, they try to encourage their victims to never leave until they've spent all their money.

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I'd be shocked if this proposal gains traction in GR. It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the culture of Grand Rapids - and I don't mean religion, I mean culture of development. Newsflash to the group pushing this: You know all the work that has gone into downtown in the past fifteen years? It obviously wasn't done to lay groundwork for a casino. Just the opposite, in fact.

And why target a beaut like the Sligh Factory? I can think of much better candidates. Like actual eyesores that aren't even, you know, OCCUPIED.

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Thoughts?

Yeah: Disgusting. These [blanking] [blankers] can go [blank] themselves in the [blank] [blank] [blanking] [blankety] [blank]. 'Nuf said.

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Why is it our job to regulate what people do with their money? I swear every time I see a story on this it is full of moralizing busybodies that act as if everyone that goes to a casino is either a sleaze, trash, crooked, a moron, or some old geezer with an oxygen tank. Here is a rule to live by: If you dont like it, dont go there. These people are not children and should be free to play some slots without them taking their money to Wayland or up north.

Bring the casino! Are we holding out for Google or Amazon to open a corporate HQ in this place? Right now the Sligh building isnt seeing anything beyond these antique shops and some miscellaneous businesses on the other floors. For all of the lamenting of any of them having to maybe move, I haven't seen any real effort from any of them to really improve the look of the structure over the past 10 years. The ground floor of the place looks as ramshackle as the backside. Nothing more than slightly altered loading dock doors next to a slab of asphalt. These places may actually see more customers if they weren't located virtually hidden off a freeway wall.

And what exactly is the cozy neighborhood ambiance they are trying to preserve that they assume will be ruined by a casino? The beautiful 131 expressway? The blank backside of the GR Ballet that is across the 4-5 lanes of high-speed traffic of Wealthy? Maybe it's the pot-hole nightmare that is Century ave with its weeds and adjacent hill that is covered with trash the residents toss down it that is clearly visible during the winter?

With the chance to pump millions into that creepy area, that will then lead to millions of spin-off development and jobs, maybe it's time for people to get over the NIMBY attitude about casinos and actually work with these people to make it as great as it can be.

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With the chance to pump millions into that creepy area, that will then lead to millions of spin-off development and jobs, maybe it's time for people to get over the NIMBY attitude about casinos and actually work with these people to make it as great as it can be.

Not in my backyard indeed. What next? A bordello on the upper floors? I'm sorry, but I just cannot support another place that sucks the economic lifeblood out of the poor around here. It isn't like the high rollers are going to come and drop some bank. And even that worked oh-so-well for Vegas. Because gambling is just the cat's meow for economic development. That it appears to be more economically viable than running a factory speaks volumes, however. Instead of being abuzz about a new furniture factory, we're now abuzz about a new casino! Fantastic!

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Not in my backyard indeed. What next? A bordello on the upper floors? I'm sorry, but I just cannot support another place that sucks the economic lifeblood out of the poor around here. It isn't like the high rollers are going to come and drop some bank. And even that worked oh-so-well for Vegas. Because gambling is just the cat's meow for economic development. That it appears to be more economically viable than running a factory speaks volumes, however. Instead of being abuzz about a new furniture factory, we're now abuzz about a new casino! Fantastic!

A bordello? Really? Is the knowledge of these places coming from some B-Movie from the 70s?

And why is it anyone's business how the "poor" spends money they earned? Should we start regulating how everyone spends money now? Can we stop new coffee houses and craft beer breweries because so many broke college hipsters (i.e. poor people) keep blowing cash on booze and espresso?

As long as they are not using welfare dollars, then who cares? If people feel that poor people are so stupid, then round them up and put them in a camp to protect them from themselves.

This is just getting silly. I went to a casino maybe a couple of times, I also have family that go far more often, and the people there were very kind, and welcoming. the people at the front counter were nice old ladies! It wasn't some sleaze joint full of hookers with cocaine fountains and rejects from the Jersey Shore walking around. People aren't outside shooting up cars and getting into fights either.

Only in GR could we just blatantly reject something like this in hopes a furniture factory of all things might show up someday.

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I actually think it's not a bad idea. The Sligh Factory is just so huge (bigger than The Boardwalk) that what realistically are the chances of redevelopment? The factories by the new Urban Market? For sure.

If a casino is going to be downtown, why not on the outskirts.

There's an awesome ballroom that used to be a bank on the ground floor of the Amway Grand that would work perfectly for "Vegas nights" with slots, blackjack, roulette, etc.. I'll bet the AGP would consider doing this if they had to compete with a casino resort on the South end of downtown.

The articles talk about the current businesses in there, but I gotta believe with enough forewarning they could find another place to do business. Maybe even closer to downtown? I'm guessing other than the shops along Century, the other 90% of the building is unoccupied (thinking back to when Jon Rooks wanted to redevelop it into condos and couldn't get the Ren Zone expanded).

If they don't need government tax breaks, I say let em. They'll never get the votes though to even pass these proposals.

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GR_Urbanist-

You've been on this board way too long use such broad strokes. We're not MLive commenters. Heck, I'd rather see a brothel than a casino. ;)

Casino's are seen as a way to economic prosperity (for cities), and history shows that this just isn't the case. I agree with Organsnyder; "Citizens for more Michigan jobs". Whatever. I could honestly care less how people spend their money (rich or poor), but I personally don't think some crappy interpretation of a "Vegas Style" casino will do much for Grand Rapids as a city.

I think this is a weak effort at trying to get tax breaks to build a casino, which I'm totally against. If Steve Wynn made an announcement that he was going to invest serious money in a destination casino that would help further downtown development and spur growth, I'd be intrigued.

But this just seems like a bad attempt by a bunch of investors to get designated "casino zones", and then selling the rights to the highest bidder.

Joe

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Casino's are seen as a way to economic prosperity (for cities), and history shows that this just isn't the case.

But are they a drain? If not, I don't see the point in opposition.

Another group, known as Michigan Is Yours, has not yet identified where in Grand Rapids it's casino would go. One of it's leaders, former Detroit Lions football star Billy Simms, said Wednesday, "There would be a concerted effort to sit down with Grand Rapids officials - the mayor, people up there - let them select the spot they think is best...we just want to help Grand Rapids."

I like this. If approached as more than a casino and as an entertainment complex, Fulton & Market seems like a good site. After all, didn't someone say it had the potential to be the Times Square of GR?

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I'm not a big fan of casinos but I also believe that if someone is hell bent on throwing their money away they will find a way to do it. Nothing against Wayland, Manistee, Mount Pleasant, etc. but if a GR resident wants to give their money to a casino and its employees, why not keep that money here in town?

My other question is would a casino near downtown help the efforts to bring in convention business?

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Don't know about helping the convention business but a casino would at least bring in those washed up bands from the 70's and 80's that feature maybe 1 person from the original group!

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Don't know about helping the convention business but a casino would at least bring in those washed up bands from the 70's and 80's that feature maybe 1 person from the original group!

Aww, they're not washed up. They are just targeting a more select audience these days.

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I'm not a big fan of casinos but I also believe that if someone is hell bent on throwing their money away they will find a way to do it. Nothing against Wayland, Manistee, Mount Pleasant, etc. but if a GR resident wants to give their money to a casino and its employees, why not keep that money here in town?

My other question is would a casino near downtown help the efforts to bring in convention business?

Good question. I wonder if it has helped Detroit at all. Probably some.

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I live in Metro Detroit and am born and raised in Grand Rapids. I frequently go to Detroit casinos however not to just gamble but to have a great time. Casinos are spoken as if they are sinful havens for society's trash. To me this seems to be a a result of narrow-minded naivety. Detroit's MGM Grand for example has many restaurants ranging from a dining court to high end restaurants such as Saltwater, Wolfgang Puck and Bourbon Steakhouse. It has V nightclub which attracts many celebrities as well as many other clubs/bars. Although I have never even seen their hotel service, I can assume it is probably top notch on account of the rest of the place. To add, Iridescnece restaurant atop Motorcity Casino has won countless awards including the 4-Diamond Award and Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for many consecutive years.

Detroit would hardly exist today (satire) if not for its three casinos. If I can remember correctly one of the city's laws was that the casinos would remain as long as city population remained over 800,000. After it fell last year below that number, did the casinos close? Absolutely not, the law was amended. The fact is that Detroit casinos generate so much revenue, provide so many jobs, and attract so many people, that they are a true asset to the city.

I agree with a comment made earlier in this thread. "If you don't like it, don't go". Everyone is entitled to their opinion so here is mine: I feel Grand Rapids has grown so much in the past few years that the conservative mindset it has maintained for the past 20 needs to go. The notion that casinos are bad is blissful ignorance. It is comparible to (and for the record I DO NOT advocate smoking) anti-tobacco companies claiming that even one cigarette will kill you, just as everyone that gambles will ruin their life. In reality, both examples are typcially untrue. In addition, I'd rather have someone driving on the streets after a night at the casino gambling then a night at a bar drinking. What people choose to do with their money is their choice. Personally I have not had issues with losing or winning. Its all just fun.

And with that I will open the floodgates for comment...

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Thanks for the comments AvtpeasK. But, people overestimate the "conservative mindset" influence in GR. That misconception is what really needs to go.

I'm not conservative by any stretch of the imagination, and I don't think Joe or organsnyder are either (at least, it doesn't seem to drive their points of view on this forum). But I agree with their thoughts exactly, and they aren't about morality. Truth is, this won't be a Steve Wynn project, or MGM Grand. We're not big enough to attact that.

And am I the only one who likes the Sligh Factory building? I don't want to see that go, or at least I can think of better sites. If you don't like the factory, I guarantee you won't be impressed with the glass pillbox that replaces it.

Edited by RegalTDP

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Thanks for the comments AvtpeasK. People overestimate the "conservative mindset" influence in GR. That misconception is what really needs to go.

I'm not conservative by any stretch of the imagination, and I don't think Joe or organsnyder are either (at least, it doesn't seem to drive their points of view on this forum). But I agree with their thoughts exactly, which aren't about morality. This won't be a Steve Wynn project, or MGM Grand. We're not big enough to attact that.

And am I the only one who likes the Sligh Factory building? I don't want to see that go, or at least I can think of better sites. If you don't like the factory, I guarantee you won't be impressed with the glass pillbox that replaces it.

If it were to go for something cool and unique, I could part with it. There is no shortage of large rectangular brick warehouses around downtown, particularly in that area South of Wealthy.

I don't know, the Turtle Creek Casino near Traverse City is quite striking when you come across it on M-72. And it's pre-cast!

turtlecreek.jpg

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I'm not conservative by any stretch of the imagination, and I don't think Joe or organsnyder are either (at least, it doesn't seem to drive their points of view on this forum). But I agree with their thoughts exactly, and they aren't about morality. Truth is, this won't be a Steve Wynn project, or MGM Grand. We're not big enough to attact that.

Exactly. If this is built, it will be slapped up in the minimum amount of time, with little regard to the surrounding community. You're mostly right about my politics, BTW. Though I am a Calvin grad, I consider myself to be fairly progressive (like more Calvin grads than many think). I do have a moral issue with casinos (and the state lottery, for that matter), in that many of their customers are the people that can least afford it. Looking at a lot of the advertising that casinos put out, they're not trying to solely attract recreational gamblers.

I don't know, the Turtle Creek Casino near Traverse City is quite striking when you come across it on M-72. And it's pre-cast!

I hope you're joking. Straighten that slanted wall, and you've got a Holiday Inn Express.

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Exactly. If this is built, it will be slapped up in the minimum amount of time, with little regard to the surrounding community. You're mostly right about my politics, BTW. Though I am a Calvin grad, I consider myself to be fairly progressive (like more Calvin grads than many think). I do have a moral issue with casinos (and the state lottery, for that matter), in that many of their customers are the people that can least afford it. Looking at a lot of the advertising that casinos put out, they're not trying to solely attract recreational gamblers.

I hope you're joking. Straighten that slanted wall, and you've got a Holiday Inn Express.

Nope, not joking. I've never seen a holiday inn express that looked that good.

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And am I the only one who likes the Sligh Factory building? I don't want to see that go, or at least I can think of better sites. If you don't like the factory, I guarantee you won't be impressed with the glass pillbox that replaces it.

I think the old factory is quite a nice building. If they want to do a casino, why not use what is already there? That said, I don't see this casino actually materializing. Let's hope not. Contrary to the comments of many here, casinos do not produce any real, sustainable long-term economic growth. Not like an actual productive enterprise that does something. As an entertainment venue in Vegas, or a way to part rich people from their money in Vegas, perhaps, but its more just a want to fleece the poor around here. It isn't like Michigan's high rollers are cruising to Vegas and blowing cash that they would rather spend around here. At least, not that I can fathom.

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Contrary to the comments of many here, casinos do not produce any real, sustainable long-term economic growth.  Not like an actual productive enterprise that does something.

But I've asked, are they conversely proven to be a drain on the economy? If not, then they're neither and are just neutral, in which case there isn't much reason to oppose them.
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But I've asked, are they conversely proven to be a drain on the economy? If not, then they're neither and are just neutral, in which case there isn't much reason to oppose them.

This discussion is old, but useful: http://www.library.ca.gov/crb/97/03/Chapt9.html. As they note, casinos don't actually generate revenues or produce much of anything useful. They simply transfer money around (particularly to those who run them). As such, you need to either stop the transfer of money out to other casinos, or transfer money in to your casino in order to have a net positive impact. Detroit's idea was to stop the outflow of money to Windsor, and attract some tourists from outside the area, both of which it did. So in that sense, it worked. But are the casino's actually going to develop Detroit, or Grand Rapids in a long term, sustainable fashion? I don't think so. At best, they're simply another entertainment venue. At worst, they suck money out of established local businesses and divert it to the casinos.

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There are pleny of empty lots to build a new casino, why do they have to tear down one of the largest old factory buildings in order to build this??

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This discussion is old, but useful: http://www.library.c...03/Chapt9.html. As they note, casinos don't actually generate revenues or produce much of anything useful. They simply transfer money around (particularly to those who run them). As such, you need to either stop the transfer of money out to other casinos, or transfer money in to your casino in order to have a net positive impact. Detroit's idea was to stop the outflow of money to Windsor, and attract some tourists from outside the area, both of which it did. So in that sense, it worked. But are the casino's actually going to develop Detroit, or Grand Rapids in a long term, sustainable fashion? I don't think so. At best, they're simply another entertainment venue. At worst, they suck money out of established local businesses and divert it to the casinos.

I don't want to sound like a jerk, but I would like to note that back when the arena was announced and discussed there were a lot of people who said it wouldn't do much to help the community. Walk around the "arena district" now and it is clear that is did spur development. Back then, if you had told people the number of bars, restaurants, apartments, etc. that would spring up in Heartside just because an arena was built there they would've said you were crazy.

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