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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2009, 8:00 PM
DetroitMan DetroitMan is offline
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Kalamazoo officials hope to redevelop key block downtown

Kalamazoo officials hope to redevelop key block downtown to make it more affordable
by Kathy Jessup | Kalamazoo Gazette
Monday June 08, 2009, 12:12 PM

Redevelopment of the 100 block of East Michigan Avenue could offer a new price-point for housing in downtown Kalamazoo.

While specifics about a new, multi-use development on the north side of downtown's main thoroughfare remain scarce, officials at Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. are saying it is expected to include "work-force housing" on the upper floors.

"To date, the condos that have been developed downtown are priced on the higher end," said Vicky Kettner, DKI community relations director. "Here we're looking to have living space for the work force so that people who work downtown can afford to live close to their jobs."

Increasing the number of affordable residences in the central business area is one of six strategic priorities in Kalamazoo's newly adopted 10-year downtown plan. Specifically, planners say 500 new "affordable" residential units should be created downtown during the next decade.

Officials say downtown Kalamazoo currently has about 500,000 square feet of residential space and most of it is full. That market is dominated by mid- to high-end units that can cost $150 to $200 per square foot to buy.

Recent studies commissioned by DKI found demand for downtown condos starting at $95,000 and units that could be rented for $500 to $2,200 a month.

According to the downtown plan, "a developer has stepped forward to take up the challenge" of redeveloping the 100 block of East Michigan.

"The project economics are huge and beyond the capacity of any single entity," the plan states.

Sources familiar with the tentative redevelopment concept say it represents a fraction of the $77 million investment contemplated in 2006 by local developers William Johnston, head of Greenleaf Cos., and J. Craig DeNooyer, president of development firm Treystar Inc.

Now expected to be closer to $10 million to $15 million, the latest concept follows a model that puts retail/office space at street level, adding residential and more office units on upper floors. It does not include the city's adjacent surface parking Lot 9, which was part of the 2006 proposal.

The project area includes four historic buildings that are in deteriorated condition. The plan does not make clear how many of the buildings would be renovated or how extensive the work would be.

The plan calls for "Renovation of Existing Buildings" followed immediately by "Demolition/Development of a Multi-Use Signature Building."

Key partners listed include the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, "a private developer," the city and county of Kalamazoo, the Historic Preservation Commission and Kalamazoo's Local Initiatives Support Corp. that works on affordable housing projects.
Funding resources include private money, local government support, and several historic and economic development tax-credit programs.

Privately, observers say keeping all those balls in the air long enough to close the deal will take a master juggler. The private partner has not been publicly named.

"We have three nice (street) corners there and one that needs some attention," DKI President Kenneth Nacci said of the intersection of Michigan Avenue and the Kalamazoo Mall. "If A through Z happen, we might have a project. We're hoping all the pieces of the puzzle come together in June."

City records show Downtown Tomorrow Inc., the real-estate arm of DKI, acquired the four buildings with addresses from 105 to 127 E. Michigan Ave. in 2001 and 2002 at a total cost of nearly $1.37 million.

Contact Kathy Jessup at kjessup@kalamazoogazette.com or 388-8590.
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/...ope_to_re.html
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2009, 10:11 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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Smaller cities like Kalamazoo should not be demolishing historic structures
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Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 2:52 AM
gardenoaksguy gardenoaksguy is offline
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Smaller cities like Kalamazoo should not be demolishing historic structures
What does city size have to do with it?
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Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 3:09 AM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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^ Smaller cities have much less building stock, and their existing building stock is much more important to their identity.

That's all I was trying to say
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Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 5:15 AM
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LMich LMich is offline
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The Gazette really should have waited until this was more fleshed out to report on it. Given the incredible sparse story, we'd have been better hearing about it once more was able to be revealed about it. As it stands, it's almost impossible to make any kind of judgement about the 'plan'. There is no unit count given, square footage, etc...
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Old Posted Jun 9, 2009, 6:01 AM
hudkina hudkina is offline
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I wouldn't doubt this story was written somewhat at the developers' request.
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2009, 7:50 PM
DetroitMan DetroitMan is offline
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Details of a downtown Kalamazoo development project outlined
by Paula M. Davis | Kalamazoo Gazette
Wednesday June 10, 2009, 12:05 PM



This is a rendering of the proposed redevelopment in the 100 block of East Michigan Avenue in downtown Kalamazoo.

KALAMAZOO -- Details are emerging in the $10 million proposed project to redevelop four buildings in the 100 block of East Michigan Avenue in downtown Kalamazoo for residential and retail space.

Kalamazoo-based MAVCON Properties is the private developer that is buying the buildings from Downtown Tomorrow Inc. for $1.5 million.

Plans are for the sale are to be completed by Sept. 30. Construction on the project is to start in November and conclude by February 2011.

"We are very pleased to be involved in the redevelopment of downtown and look forward to a very bright future," MAVCON Properties President James Dally said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The development involves 8,000 square feet of retail space at the ground level and 20 residential units on second and third floors.

The extensive renovation includes maintaining the four separate buildings but refurbishing their facades "to look like the architectural style in which they were built," said Ken Nacci, president of Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. DTI is the real-estate arm of DKI.

The buildings will get interior renovations and new roofs, windows, elevators and stairwells and other improvements.

Unlike some of the housing in the heart of downtown, these residences are intended to be affordable by more people than just upper-income earners.

Using the examples of a nurse who might work downtown or graduate student, "it'll be affordable for a wide variety of folks," Nacci said. "We want more housing units downtown, and this is an area that can be converted."

Tuesday's announcement did not include potential prices for the units or whether they would be rentals or owner-occupied.

Plans call for several players to contribute to the development, including the city, county, state and federal government.

But the plan is not finalized, as most of the allocations are still pending the approval by the boards of the various agencies.

Some of the financing includes $1.25 million in approved funding from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation for seller financing, more than $1.2 million from the Downtown Development Authority in facade grants and site improvements and $726,000 from various departments in the city of Kalamazoo.

Also, MAVCON is expected to contribute nearly $2.5 million if the deal is finalized.
Most of the funding sources must be in place by July 3, according to the agreement between DTI and MAVCON, Nacci said.

"It's been a long time in coming," Nacci said Tuesday. "I'm hopeful. I think it'll come to fruition."
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/..._kalamazo.html
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2009, 10:03 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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^ How does this project produce affordable housing if it costs 10 million dollars to create 20 residential units?
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Old Posted Jun 11, 2009, 2:59 AM
hudkina hudkina is offline
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The project will only work because it will be heavily subsidized. Though, it does seem kind of expensive to spend $10 million to renovate four tiny three-story buildings.

If I'm not mistaken, the developer is investing $4 million ($1.5 towards the purchase and $2.5 towards the renovation.) in the property, so as long as he can recoup at least the $4 million with this investment he'll turn a profit.
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Old Posted Jun 11, 2009, 3:36 AM
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This does seem quite expensive if you're purpose is to create affordable housing. It really sounds like a bunch of hype, but I wish anyone luck if they truly believe that they can pull it off and for it to be successful.
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Old Posted Jun 19, 2009, 2:59 AM
gardenoaksguy gardenoaksguy is offline
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Originally Posted by LMich View Post
This does seem quite expensive if you're purpose is to create affordable housing. It really sounds like a bunch of hype, but I wish anyone luck if they truly believe that they can pull it off and for it to be successful.
If any Michigan city can pull this off, it is probably Kalamazoo. Look at it's history of public and public/private projects and things like the Kalamazoo Promise. They do manage to do an awful lot for a city of 80,000.
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