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wyoming_mi

Van Andel Arena expansion?

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New member here from GR (good old Wyoming actually)

With all of the new development possibly about to burst on to our downtown GR scene within the next 2-4 years, does anyone else think it is time for the originally-planned-someday expansion of the 'Van? The arena is esentially what really kickstarted the excitement back in 1996, and expansion plans ARE in the arena's blueprints, probably expanding seating to around 15 or 16,000. Grand Rapids could definately benefit from a larger arena, but it might take the other projects being completed for the Van Andel to get a serious consideration for expansion.

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Welcome Wyoming_mi,

Personally, I do not think that the arena expansion will happen for atleast five years. Unfortunately, 2 of the main tenants (Rampage and Griffins) are having terrible attendance records. However, concerts make up a majority of the Arena's income so if they continue to do strong concert business, maybe.

I think another factor is that the Arena's profits are currently propping up the convention center's losses. As the convention center books larger conventions and lowers their operating loss, maybe they will consider it, hence a couple years down the road (after the Marriott is completed).

It would be nice to turn the horse shoe into a complete oval... :)

Joe

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Building out the arena depends almost solely on attendance at sporting events. I've been to dozens of concerts there, and I have never seen a stage set up that didn't put the stage in front of the dead wall. Some performers do perform "in the round," but they're the exception, not the rule. If concerts make money for your arena, it doesn't make sense to spend that money on adding more seats that you couldn't sell to concert-goers. Even concerts at the Palace of Auburn Hills, which is a complete oval, don't fill the seats directly behind the stage. Building the area out for Stars on Ice or Monster Trucks, which is essentially what we'd be doing without a viable sports team, doesn't make a ton of sense economically. We'd first need to establish ourselves first as a major league sports town, and that hasn't happened over the last decade of lukewarm support for our minor league teams, despite their level of success.

I spoke with former mayor John Logie about a year ago about the future of downtown and he predicted that in the next couple of decades, we would see a major league sports franchise in GR. At the time, it sounded possible. There are NHL teams and NBA teams in markets that aren't much bigger than GR, and based on our current, err, future facilities (assuming the Van does get built out), an expansion team would likely be a pro basketball franchise or a pro hockey franchise. The problem, however, is that no ABA or CBA basketball team has ever drawn in GR, whether at the old Welsh or the Van or the DeltaPlex. And now we don't even have semi-pro basketball anymore -- and no one seems to be lamenting that fact. As for hockey ... well, it looked like a very real possibility before this year. Now, the NHL has enough on its plate trying to bring back fans in its current markets whom it lost when it cancelled this season. I doubt they'll be considering expansion anytime soon.

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Building the area out for Stars on Ice or Monster Trucks, which is essentially what we'd be doing without a viable sports team, doesn't make a ton of sense economically.
Actually these events (Motocross, Rodeo, etc...) are growing into a very strong revenue stream for the Arena. They have increased in popularity (and visits) a lot over the last decade. I think that the Arena could absorb the seat without much of a problem.

Now, the NHL has enough on its plate trying to bring back fans in its current markets whom it lost when it cancelled this season. I doubt they'll be considering expansion anytime soon.

Unless of course they realize that the future of the NHL is the Northeast and Midwest (Canada too) as opposed to the South and Southwest. They can have as many teams as they want as long as they realize that they are the beotch child of pro sports and it is mostly a regional fan base.

What it really comes down to is for someone to front the cash for a team, or those locally that own a team to quit threatening Orlando every year and actually move their team. By the time this happens it will require a new arean, as the Van Andel would barely meet the minimum specs after the build out. An arena being a big part of any sports deal, we are in a bad position versus a similar market that would be willing to spend. For Grand Rapids to have attained a pro team we would have had to have struck while the iron was hot, about 1994 or so.

Another case of being a bit too cautious here.

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I think the answer would be a pro sports team, whether it is NHL or NBA. I think what second-tier sports teams are realizing is that after the novelty has worn off, not many people get behind a team that shifts players constantly (farm teams) or has a roster of "has beens" or "almost were" players. I'm sure an NHL team would easily sell double the seats of an AHL team.

I do however think that Arena Football could be something if it is nurtured right. But I think ultimately, it would be best served if we had a team that everyone could get behind on a national level.

Now the chance of that happening is iffy. I heard that DeVos has no interest in moving the Orlando Magic and would rather sell it than go through the hassle of moving.

The arena will probably grow as the region grows.

Joe

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I don't think GR is capable of hosting major leagues with Detroit in the picture.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:blink: Moon:

How easy it is to overlook real world situations that belie what you just said. If your logic were true, then you could have said in the past, "I don't think San Antonio is capable of hosting major leagues with Houston and Dallas in the picture" or that could have easily been tranferred to "I don't think Sacramento is capable of hosting major leagues with Los Angeles and San Francisco in the picture".

Michigan, like Texas and California, is becoming another state with multiple big cities - ideally positioned big cities, as a matter of fact. Metro Detroit and its 3.5 million people anchor the east coast of the state while Metro Grand Rapids and its 1.2 million people anchor the west coast of the state. Metro GR is forecasted to add another 300,000 people over the next decade. FACTUALIZE - don't give in to "I don't think" (especially about GR - it will turn around and prove you wrong every time - EVERY TIME).

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Technically Grand Rapids would have little problem with a pro team (except baseball). Economically we easily qualify for all of the leagues with the execption of MLB. Furthermore, most industry stats I have seen (I did look into this a while back) have GR as being capable of supporting two NBA/NHL class teams or one NFL class team. The lack of major college teams also adds to this disposable sporting income.

Look at the raw numbers, 1.3 million in the metro, about 1.7 - 9 or more within an hour drive (the real number they use), and perhaps the largest regional economy not to house a pro team, or one of the largest. The biggest thing we have going for us here is out economy, per capita we are extremely powerful.

Grand Rapids' yearly economic output is larger than cities like, Buffalo, Jacksonville, New Orleans, or Vegas (for now) and on par with Nashville and Salt Lake City. We need to start seeing ourselves in this way, or it will never happen. That being said, there would be stiff competition with the likes of Lousiville (about the same population and economically) and probably Birmingham (a bit smaller and less economically developed).

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hm, I know I know. I lived in GR for what, like 10 years. I moved to NC in 2000. Maybe a lot has happened since then. That is great if everything is going great but again, I hear that growth is behind the national average, especially economically. Prove to me that that is not the case.

If the leagues like the AFL and IHL(?) can't keep any interest in the city, who is to say that NBA would. Remeber with the NBA you are dealing with ticket prices that are much higher. In my opinion GR cannot support that. The metro. What else does the metro consist of? Muskegon and Holland. Er.... Muskegon is never going to ammount to anything and Holland... Holland. I know that there are other fine cities in the metro also.

And never compare Michigan with states like Texas and California. That is silly. Those are two of the most populated states in the union, and have exceptional amounts of BIG business.

I have never met such a group of GR fanatics :). I like this board. I am going up to GR in about a week, I am looking forward to it. Y'all are not planning on any snow are you? :D

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Moon,

Snow before March 15th is a given... ;) I had heard the same statistics as SuperNova. I do think the support for a major sporting team would be here, I just don't think it will happen because we're too wiley to pay for $500 million dollar stadiums with taxpayer $$$. ;) The odd thing to remember about Grand Rapids and major sports (I am not a sports fanatic). You go slightly North and they are Packers fans, you go South and they are Chicago fans. People in GR are not totally die-hard Detroit fans. I am sure people would buy new jerseys very quickly if a pro team moved to town.

Other than the fact that it is in a different State I think most Western Michigan people would rather align themselves with Chicago than Detroit. Us Outstate people get the shaft quite often. ;)

Like I said though, I don't think it is on the horizon though...

Joe

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. . . . Us Outstate people get the shaft quite often. . . .

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

JOE:

Part of the reason we have always been traditionally "shafted" by Southeast Michigan/Metro Detroit (among a GREAT many reasons) is that we allow it. When's the last time you heard ANY official from West Michigan/Metro Grand Rapids check a Detroiter HARD about the use of that moronic "Outstate" moniker? OUT, last time I knew, referred to "NOT IN", "NOT IN ON THE MAIN HAPPENINGS", "DATED", "PASSE", i.e. - "WACK AS HELL".

Words are powerful because they have the potential to precisely coalesce a thought and to leave an imprint on another's consciousness. We can do wonders for our regional self-respect if we start with just two little word plays: 1) drop that d____ "GREATER" crap (especially when we stopped being "Greater Grand Rapids" in 1996 when we crossed into the 1-million person population-having "Metro Area" strata) and 2) CORRECT THE S___ OUT OF DETROITERS (and our own slow local representatives/officials) WHENEVER THEY UTTER "OUTSTATE" AND REDIRECT THEM TO REFER TO METRO GRAND RAPIDS GENERICALLY AS "WESTSTATE". Sounds MUCH better and MUCH more precise, huh? Let's get on with it . . . . -_-

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MetroKid...where did you get your numbers for Metro Detroit? You used the broadest measure of Metropolitan GR, while using the narrowest measure to define Detroit. Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties alone have a combined population of over 4 million. Throw in the peripheral counties and Detroit is near 5 million. Also, do not forget that Windsor, for all intents and purposes, is part of Metro Detroit despite it being in another country. The consolidated Metropolitan statistical Area of Detroit (the broades measure), which includes Ann Arbor-Flind, is around 5.5 million. Throw in Windsor and you have around 6 Million.

I think that positive things are happening in GR. However, positive things are happening all over other parts of the country too. It is not wise to use the metrics of the past to rate GR. It is wiser to use the metrics of other cities as the competition for success is not with the past, but with other cities in present. GR is a contender in the Rust Belt or NorthEaster quadrant of the country, but it is only average outside the Rust Belt, when juxtaposed against Sun Belt cities, where the nation

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MetroKid...where did you get your numbers for Metro Detroit? You used the broadest measure of Metropolitan GR, while using the narrowest measure to define Detroit. Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties alone have a combined population of over 4 million. Throw in the peripheral counties and Detroit is near 5 million. Also, do not forget that Windsor, for all intents and purposes, is part of Metro Detroit despite it being in another country. The consolidated Metropolitan statistical Area of Detroit (the broades measure), which includes Ann Arbor-Flind, is around 5.5 million. Throw in Windsor and you have around 6 Million.

I think that positive things are happening in GR. However, positive things are happening all over other parts of the country too. It is not wise to use the metrics of the past to rate GR. It is wiser to use the metrics of other cities as the competition for success is not with the past, but with other cities in present. GR is a contender in the Rust Belt or NorthEaster quadrant of the country, but it is only average outside the Rust Belt, when juxtaposed against Sun Belt cities, where the nation

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The problem with GR is that there lacks enough investment in the Park Systems

Intersting, GR has a top notch park system. Few cities in the world offer as much in terms of area dedicated to public spaces and parks per area of development. With Millenium Park, GR blows past almost all.

I do agree with you. GR is not the end all be all. However, it is good to see some pride here, because it seems to be missing locally. Too many people in the region are happy to be a backwater, and the facts are (economically) we are not, not even close. This local malaise needs to be addressed before we move forward or we will always as a community be doomed to our current 'little big town' status.

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Please do not misunderstand my communication. I WANT to see GR rise and flourish and I believe that if this nation can sustain itself economically, given the rise of China and soon India, I believe GR can indeed become what you envision. I think the unaddressed strength of the area is the fresh water from the Great Lakes. Fresh water supply will be a major concern in the future, I believe, and will constrain growth in current fast booming places. Moreover, the GR Metro is adjacent to a great recreational area with beeches, boating, fishing, Sand Dunes and more. Ergo, the area has great future potential for those speculating.

That having been said, I think that the suburbs of Grand Rapids are booming. However, the area planners made a mistake by letting entropy take place in the city. I think Detroit offers a case study of how the fate of a region is tied to the image of its central city. In metro Detroit, for decades suburbanites would brag about not having a need to go to the city proper. They would be the first to speak disparagingly about the city to other suburbanites as well as to visitors.

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Please do not misunderstand my communication. I WANT to see GR rise and flourish and I believe that if this nation can sustain itself economically, given the rise of China and soon India, I believe GR can indeed become what you envision. I think the unaddressed strength of the area is the fresh water from the Great Lakes. Fresh water supply will be a major concern in the future, I believe, and will constrain growth in current fast booming places. Moreover, the GR Metro is adjacent to a great recreational area with beeches, boating, fishing, Sand Dunes and more. Ergo, the area has great future potential for those speculating.

That having been said, I think that the suburbs of Grand Rapids are booming. However, the area planners made a mistake by letting entropy take place in the city. I think Detroit offers a case study of how the fate of a region is tied to the image of its central city. In metro Detroit, for decades suburbanites would brag about not having a need to go to the city proper. They would be the first to speak disparagingly about the city to other suburbanites as well as to visitors. 

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I commend you MetroKid. Do not take this personal. I am not hoping at all that GR fails and I am not challenging you that it will. Thus, I do not understand "your WE WILL SEE". We will see What? I am only hoping for the Best for GR. I would like to move back to GR, but I have no compelling reason stay and try to help build GR. I would not sacrafice my full potential trying to make GR a better place...why should I?

My parents were born and raised in Jim Crow Mississippi. They left Mississippi for the same reason that I left Michigan...which was the quest for better opportunities and to escape racism. There situation however was much worse than mine in degree and kind. Today, Mississippi is still a basket case, partly because its history of racial animosity that has prevented investment. Michigan could end up like Mississippi if it is not careful and honest about addressing its problems...such as segregation levels born from polarization and persistant racism.

I think in a nation that is growing in diversity from minorities fueling the nations population growth, the

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Fred:

Thank you for your " :thumbsup: ", but can you hear yourself?  " . . . . I have no compelling reason stay and try to help build GR. I would not sacrafice my full potential trying to make GR a better place...why should I? . . . . ".

As a person that has donated the rest of their life toward making the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King real in Metro Grand Rapids for people just like you, your statement sounds profoundly self-serving, maddening and, actually, common.  I continue to be amazed that throughout history a very small few are allowed to bear alone the burden of engaging historic social change (like that required for GR) that will benefit many that they will never know and at the same time will probably only benefit the memory of that small few after they have passed away from the crushing weight of the task.  It does not have to be that way unfortunately your view - "why me? let some other sap do it" - is the one that prevails.

Oh well, onward I go . . . . always onward . . . .

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I do not feel

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I am glade for the new developments taking place in GR in the central business district. But as I said before, I do not know of any black moguls taking part in this new expansive period.

Actually just last week the Press had a good article about a few of the more prominant black developers and their developments. Some were very interesting, and by all means good for everyone. I wish I had a copy, it was a good read.

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Post it if you find it; I'm interested. Even though I don't post in the GR forum often, I almost always read it. :)

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Actually just last week the Press had a good article about a few of the more prominant black developers and their developments.  Some were very interesting, and by all means good for everyone.  I wish I had a copy, it was a good read.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes...I would be very interested to see what kind of minority developments are taking place in the city and the dollar value of those developments. I know that there are some new housing units being built in the Madison Square area (intersection of Madison and Hall). I am not sure who the developer or builder is for that project, however. What I do know is that the Rockford Construction Company, which seems to win the bid for most of the major construction in GR....has an atrocious record for hiring blacks on these sites.

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