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  #61  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 5:38 PM
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WMU's plan to demolish a long-standing group of student-occupied homes near campus has been scrapped, after demolishing two of the houses (941 and 945 Bellevue Place).

Houses demolished near WMU but plans to raze several more scrapped

The Bellevue Place homes are part of the South Street-Vine Area Local Historic District. While the homes have all seen better days, they were among some of the first homes constructed in the early 1900s by private developers to provide off-campus housing for students (before any on-campus housing was available). This small neighborhood reminds me of a lot of the narrow streets in Pittsburgh / Oakland, from my college days. Student ghetto, sure - but I would rather see them rehabbed than torn down just to provide some 'green space.'
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  #62  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 5:47 PM
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The redesign of the planned roundabout for Downtown Kalamazoo's Eastside was given a 'D+' by The Complete Streets Coalition of Kalamazoo on Wednesday, 5/10. The first design received an 'F' rating, and the Coalition recommended that plans not proceed for any design with less than a B+ rating. Ultimately the decision is up to the City Commission, when it votes on the plan tomorrow.

Transportation safety advocates give Kalamazoo roundabout design 'D+'


Image Source: MLive | Courtesy City of Kalamazoo
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  #63  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 5:59 PM
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Posted this on the building thread, but since probably not many will look there:

Quote:
Official groundbreaking for The Exchange was on Friday, although site prep and foundation work is already underway. Opening is now set for spring of 2019. At 15 stories tall, this is about as good as it gets for Kalamazoo.

Work begins on long-awaited Exchange Building in Kzoo
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  #64  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 6:04 PM
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Not directly development-related, but WoodTV did a short news story on the 37-year anniversary of the 1980 tornado that struck the heart of downtown. The aerial footage of the damage caused by this F-3 tornado is pretty incredible.

Following Kalamazoo tornado’s path 37 years later
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  #65  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 6:39 PM
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The long-vacant Lee Paper Mill in Vicksburg is finally being repurposed, as a mixed-use 'life style destination' according to the new owner, Paper City Development, LLC. (Vicksburg is a small (but growing) village located about 15 miles south of Downtown Kalamazoo)

Paper making, once Kalamazoo's largest industry, went the same way as a lot of domestic industry in the 1970s & 80s (downhill). Of the many former paper mills in the area, some have been demolished, some have been repurposed, and some are awaiting redevelopment. It's a relief to see a solid plan for this one, although I'm not sure that it will be able to support some of the planned uses...

Quote:
This mixed-use development, upon completion, could have spaces available for retail, interpretive museums, restaurants, higher education research, craft breweries, large indoor and outdoor event venues, artisan makers, and residential lofts apartments with a unique hotel and hospitality experience. Source
Here is a simple master plan for the site, from the Byce & Associates website, along with 'then & now photos':





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  #66  
Old Posted May 16, 2017, 6:01 PM
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Last night, in its ongoing effort to encourage development and reduce traffic constrictions in the east end of downtown, the City Commission voted yes on the proposed Harrison St / Ransom St / Gull Road roundabout.

The Commission also approved a 'Memorandum of Understanding' with local developer Treystar to extend Harrison Street south of E Michigan Ave, alongside The Foundry development, currently underway. In this partnership, the public road will be constructed by the private developer, with on-street parking provided, and the city will provide utilities, street lights, etc. It will end in a cul-de-sac for now.

Longer-term plans involve extending this road all the way to Pitcher Street, in an effort to improve the road network and make the entire area more attractive to potential development. 50 acres, comprising 45 parcels in this area, were recently rezoned to mixed-used.

Street extension, parking planned near downtown Kalamazoo developments


Image Source: MLive

Here's a quick sketch of what the future extension of Harrison to Pitcher would probably look like:

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  #67  
Old Posted May 18, 2017, 11:31 PM
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650 Trade Centre Way 'topped out' last week in Portage. The five story structure is the newest addition to Hinman Company's Trade Centre development.


Image Source: Hinman Company

Last edited by deja vu; May 19, 2017 at 3:13 AM.
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  #68  
Old Posted May 22, 2017, 2:32 AM
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Terribly sad news this week about the death of Alyssa Elsman, the 18 year old Portage resident who was killed in Times Square on Thursday. Her sister Ava remains hospitalized.

This is a development-oriented forum, but nothing discussed here matters in the slightest when compared against the intentional ending of a human life.
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  #69  
Old Posted May 22, 2017, 10:52 PM
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In March, Kalamazoo applied to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a bike-friendly community (the first time it has ever tried for this recognition). I just learned that the City was granted the Bronze award, putting it in the same bike-friendly class as Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, East Lansing, Portage, Battle Creek, and Midland. It's a win for the community, with much more progress to be made.

The report card for Kalamazoo is below. As you can see, there are a lot of low scoring areas. There was criticism from the league that there was insufficient road network data provided. I am not sure why the report card states there are 0 bike-friendly businesses, as Bronson Methodist Hospital (based in Kzoo) was recently granted Gold status (awards can be applied for by universities, individual businesses, or entire communities).


Source: League of American Bicyclists
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  #70  
Old Posted Today, 2:53 AM
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Kalamazoo's first 'official' tiny home has an open house tomorrow, May 24, from 4:30pm - 7:00pm. The house, built by the local Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity Chapter, is located at 1835 Charles Avenue. It is around 230 SF, Zero Energy Ready, and was built for a single occupant.

This property is the first of its kind to be legally recognized and permitted by the city. More info on the project can be found on Habitat's website.


Image Source: KVHH Facebook Page

I was surprised to learn that the City is making conscious efforts to encourage more tiny homes, and more surprised to read that the current minimum size for a single dwelling in Kalamazoo is specified at just 120 SF by local zoning. It sounds like the current hindrance to a greater proliferation of tiny houses in the City is related to other zoning limitations like minimum lot size and rules that limit the type of accessory structures on residential properties; things that the city is working on changing.

I think Habitat likes the tiny house option for a variety of reasons: it is affordable to construct, easy to maintain, it encourages sustainable lifestyles, and ultimately it is easier for the inhabitants to obtain full ownership.
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