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joeDowntown

In my Utopian World...

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I have always thought about things I would like to see if money or beauracracy were not an object. So, I offer this Game.

In my utopian world...

We would tranform Anabawen park into a true outdoor concert venue with a bandshell (similar to Meijer Gardens but with a bandshell by Frank Gehry like Millenium park in Chicago).

In my utopian world...

We would add a vintage Ferris Wheel to the Public Museum on the riverfront. It would add interest to the skyline and would be a great way to view the skyline (and get more people to walk around at night/enjoy the riverfront). It's such a whimsical thing, but wouldn't it be fun?

In my utopian world...

We would have more public sculpture downtown. However, we would not devote an acre to each piece like we do with the Calder.

In my utopian world...

We would move the Calder and open Calder Plaza for high density development.

In my utopian world...

The weather ball would be back downtown, not sitting atop a cellular tower wondering where in the heck its view went. ;)

In my utopian world...

We would hold an ice cream social as professionals imploded the Grand Rapids Press Building for a grand new development.

Ok, your turn...

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Joe:

You know such an open-ended question is dangerous with a dreamer and seer such as I around. I'd like to see what you think MY response to this thread's query would be (HINT: think HEIGHT, DENSITY, WORLD-CLASSNESS AND IMPRESSIVENESS). My actual response will follow shortly thereafter.

-metrogrkid

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In my utopian Grand Rapids;

A majestic tower would be on Lyon @ Ottawa.

The museum's carosel would ride along a pole to catch majestic glimpses of the city.

GRCC would bulldoze their campus, and start anew (or move to the old davenport campus)

Division and Fulton wouldn't have a dinky structure proposed for its corner, but a grand building with culture around it.

Government Row would look more like the courthouse, and less like a sore thumb

Calder Plaza would be home to an multcultural complex, and not the city hall. A place where lots of people would gather daily for entertainment, fun, and excitement. Shopping, movies, live theatre, and more would thrive on this area.

The City Hall would move to Ionia St where the busses used to go.

The Devos Performance Hall would move into the new entertainment/retail complex on calder plaza, and further expanding the convention center

The wall across from the Devos Convention Center would be replaced with small shops

The planning commission *poofs* into thin air.

Joe Moch keeps his word

That every man woman and child would celebrate the diversity, and general coolness of Grand Rapids.

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In my Utopian world...

They would start the second phase of the Van Andel Institute. RIGHT NOW! Right now, the VAI is so-so. When it is done, it will be a landmark building.

Whole Foods would locate downtown (ok, so this one is for a co-worker). :)

The city would allow ME to be on the selection committee for the City Centre lot. I would scold the developers and tell them to think bigger (and that is not merely commentary on size).

Joe

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In my Utopian world...

They would start the second phase of the Van Andel Institute. RIGHT NOW! Right now, the VAI is so-so. When it is done, it will be a landmark building.

Whole Foods would locate downtown (ok, so this one is for a co-worker). :)

The city would allow ME to be on the selection committee for the City Centre lot. I would scold the developers and tell them to think bigger (and that is not merely commentary on size).

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The second phase of the VanAndel Institute will triple the current space:

381_tmp537.jpg

More general info about VAI:

http://www.rvapc.com/ht/HTProject.aspx?Bas...AssetCat=Images

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In my Utopian Grand Rapids...

- City Hall would've gotten in on the new police station / sec. of state project. They would've added some stories above the existing structure creating a centralized and stunning new image of local government.

- The county would sell their riverfront land for high-rise residential. (And relocate to a poll barn for all I care.)

- The main post office would relocate by the airport allowing for another riverfront development and the renewal of Olds Manor as a hotel.

- All the parking ramps in the Campau Promenade would be demo-ed for riverfront development.

- The entire area between Lyon & Michigan and Monroe & Ionia would be demo-ed to create a stunning, high-density mixed-use urban park that is accessible by pedestrians from all sides. The mix would include several significant structures as well as many smaller buildings with dinning, live entertainment, lots of small retail, public performance space, and public art. The active 'soul' of the city would extend all the way from Monroe Center to Michigan St.

- The facade and grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Museum would be refinished in much more stately way, to boldly say, 'Yes, a U.S. President was born and will be buried here.'

- Rivertown Crossings would never have been built in Grandville. Instead, a classy, multi-story mall with national retailers and a theatre would be built just west of 131.

- MSU medical school will come to the 'medial mile.'

- The Planning Department would be re-structured into 2 seperate commissions. A 'community' commission would deal with the largely unimportant tasks of zone changes, parking requirements, plot boundaries, etc outside of downtown. A more qualified, specialized commission would work in conjunction with the Downtown Development Advisory exclusively in the planning and requirements for downtown land use.

Wow, I sure can dream... :wub:

-Michael

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In my Utopian Grand Rapids...

- The entire area between Lyon & Michigan and Monroe & Ionia would be demo-ed to create a stunning, high-density mixed-use urban park that is accessible by pedestrians from all sides.  The mix would include several significant structures as well as many smaller buildings with dinning, live entertainment, lots of small retail, public performance space, and public art.  The active 'soul' of the city would extend all the way from Monroe Center to Michigan St.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Even the new courthouse?

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great find GRCentro. I have seen a rendered view of this but I can never find it. I think the contrast of the 19th century church with the cascading glass of the 21st century VAI is going to be dramatic. For some reason I envision the same impact as the I.M Pei building in Boston that reflects the old church sitting right next to it. Let's build it already! :)

I hope Van Andel's death does not stop the second phase. Does anybody know what kind of timeline they have for construction on the second phase? I remember the construction of this building taking a really long time.

Joe

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A couple items on my wish list. The enire riverfront from Fulton to the old Berkey & Gay building to be developed with walkways, lined with restaurants and shops, with loft condos above. I cannot believe that we just put a large blank wall (DeVos Place) along the river. What a waste. I would especially like to see the parking lots S of Fulton (to Charley's Crab) fully developed and inviting. A good retail example is the shopping plaza at Lake Lansing Road and 127 in E. Lansing. High end retail (Pottery Barn, Restoration Hdwre, etc), with new outdoor plazas, etc.

Another wish is high rise development along the W side of 131 to create another "city wall" when driving up the highway.

GRguy

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I would love to be able to hop on a light rail train and go to the airport instead of driving and parking or begging for a ride.

I would also love to be able to jump in a street car from Dowtown and go to Eastown or the west side just for lunch. :rolleyes:

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I would especially like to see the parking lots S of Fulton (to Charley's Crab) fully developed and inviting. A good retail example is the shopping plaza at Lake Lansing Road and 127 in E. Lansing. High end retail (Pottery Barn, Restoration Hdwre, etc), with new outdoor plazas, etc.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree with you completely GRguy. The parking lots there are a huge waste of riverfront/ downtown property. There is enough space for significant structures to be built in a prime location. We can only hope... ^_^

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At one time the lot South of Fulton was going to be a 15-17 story building for Amway Asia. They then went public, did horribly and Amway took it private again. Alticor owns the lot and I'm sure they are just waiting for the right project. I know that it was considered for the new hotel. I'm glad they picked the Israels lot.

Joe

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At one time the lot South of Fulton was going to be a 15-17 story building for Amway Asia. They then went public, did horribly and Amway took it private again. Alticor owns the lot and I'm sure they are just waiting for the right project. I know that it was considered for the new hotel. I'm glad they picked the Israels lot.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That would be a nice place for some condos, or an office complex.

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Even the new courthouse?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No. Although the court house doesn't exactly make my top ten, I don't find it unbearingly offensive either. It can stay. ;)

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A couple items on my wish list. The enire riverfront from Fulton to the old Berkey & Gay building to be developed with walkways, lined with restaurants and shops, with loft condos above. I cannot believe that we just put a large blank wall (DeVos Place) along the river. What a waste. I would especially like to see the parking lots S of Fulton (to Charley's Crab) fully developed and inviting. A good retail example is the shopping plaza at Lake Lansing Road and 127 in E. Lansing. High end retail (Pottery Barn, Restoration Hdwre, etc), with new outdoor plazas, etc.

Another wish is high rise development along the W side of 131 to create another "city wall" when driving up the highway.

GRguy

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree with the idea for a developed riverfront with walkways. The river is a great natural asset that should be emphasized. I'd say, however, that DeVos Place doesn't do any harm. They put in a great riverfront walk that I'm sure will be a delight for conventioneers (especially now that the weather is tolerable!) What they do need to do now is improve the surrounding riverfront space. The river naturally draws people to it - there just need to be better connections to retail, entertainment, and other points of interest.

And I'd say its about time they did something with the lot south of Fulton. It has great visibilty from the highway and potential to make great visual impact on travelers. Currently it's only used for arena parking and we all know it could yield something much more than that.

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One day in G.R...

131 (the Great Wall of the West) will be leveled and converted into a tree-lined boulevard filled with striking mixed-use buildings and a light-rail line.

tolleys will return to our streets

transit-oriented development in many of the older neighborhoods (based on the aforementioned)

the urban-planet forum will collectively purchase the government complex across from the convention center and develop it to our liking.

parking minimums will replace parking requirements

every new building will have green roofs

donald trump will be begging to develop in our city, but will be squeezed out by the local entrepeneural spirit that is already transforming the skyline.

young-professionals will be flockig to the city before they even find a job, not because there is none, but because they just want to live in this city.

form-based zoning will demand new buildings be pedistrian-oriented (this one may be coming sooner than you think).

the sky-walk debate will not be even be considered because no one would want to walk in them anyways, regardless of the weather.

a long waiting-listed of corporations that are attempting to relocate IN this city.

a healthy mix of yuppy stores and eclectic locally-owned ones.

I am mayor.

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I agree that the Market & Fulton corner is ripe for development. Maybe a high-rise condo/hotel, mixed use project with ground level retail (perfect for a Whole Foods and a Borders Books) fronting both Market and Fulton (see Evanston, Illinois). On the highway side could be a multi-story indoor waterpark visible from the highway, for those of us with children who would love to get downtown more often.

With access to the skywalk, the convention center and the arena, it would be a great draw for conventioneers who might want to bring their families along with them year round.

It is time for Alticor to s**t or get off the pot on that parking lot there.

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I agree that the Market & Fulton corner is ripe for development.  Maybe a high-rise condo/hotel, mixed use project with ground level retail (perfect for a Whole Foods and a Borders Books) fronting both Market and Fulton (see Evanston, Illinois).  On the highway side could be a multi-story indoor waterpark visible from the highway, for those of us with children who would love to get downtown more often.

With access to the skywalk, the convention center and the arena, it would be a great draw for conventioneers who might want to bring their families along with them year round.

It is time for Alticor to s**t or get off the pot on that parking lot there.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

hahaha an indoor waterpark downtown? thats brilliat! :D

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I honestly think someone should be looking into this. The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City is INSANELY busy. The Holiday Inn on 84th Street has a 4 week wait on weekends. Could you imagine a boutique hotel with a waterpark (I think west of 131). A place where conventioneers could bring their families, Grand Rapids residents would buy day passes, and the metro area would stay overnight as a day-tripper vacation. All the while spending money at restaurants, retail (if it exists) and giving everyone a better perception of downtown. It is a slam dunk. I read an article in the Business Journal that said the Holiday Inn hit its 75% occupancy goal in 12 months when they projected it would take 5 years. Build it and they will come. Innertubes and all. :)

hahaha an indoor waterpark downtown? thats brilliat! :D

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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GRCentro,

I have not heard much about it lately, but I still think it is planned. It would be a great addition stetching downtown proper south of Wealthy. I also think an urban market/year round farmers market would be a huge success. I hope this goes through!

Joe

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I just read an interesting article on Slate.com. It is by Andrew Blum, called "The Mall Goes Undercover". It has some great photos of the new "lifestyle" centers around the country (what I was hoping for in the parking lot South of Fulton at the river...). It is the culturebox column for April 6.

Enjoy the photos.

GRguy

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GRguy,

I'll check that out. Breton Village mall is supposed to ripped down (half of it atleast) and be transformed into a lifestyle center. Should be interesting to see what design Jade Pig comes up with (that mall definitely needs a kick in the pants).

Joe

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GRCentro,

I have not heard much about it lately, but I still think it is planned. It would be a great addition stetching downtown proper south of Wealthy. I also think an urban market/year round farmers market would be a huge success. I hope this goes through!

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is being patterned after Pike Street Market in Seattle (the place with the zealous fish-throwers :D ), Copley Place in Boston, South Street Market in New York City and Lexington Market in Baltimore. ALL of the above are also nodes of mass transit access just as the proposed GR version needs to be.

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