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Old Posted Mar 12, 2017, 9:48 PM
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KALAMAZOO / PORTAGE | Development Thread

Last Updated: April 14, 2017

Mall City. K-Zoo. Celery City. Paper City. The Zoo. The Bedding Plant Capitol of the World... This place has a lot of nicknames, a lot of character, and a LOT of development going on for a place of its size. Development throughout the entire state of Michigan has been picking up steam lately, and it is very evident in the Kalamazoo area that the economy is growing.

In an effort to celebrate this development, this new thread shall be a resource for all general development and construction located in and around the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area. Feel free to make suggestions, as I'm sure I am missing several things. As I think of more developments I will add them below as well.


Image: Downtown Kalamazoo, as viewed from Arcadia Creek Festival Place
Image Source: Wikipedia

Brief Background:

Kalamazoo is a unique city in Southwest Michigan. It is situated equidistant between Chicago and Detroit (less than 150 miles from each). The city holds its own as a hub for arts, culture, industry, and education, not to mention the many breweries and dining establishments frequented by locals and visitors. Likely the most famous of these is Bell’s Brewery and Eccentric Café. Kalamazoo is characterized by more than 20 distinct neighborhoods, many with active neighborhood associations. The city is remarkably diverse for a place of its size. It was settled around 1829 by westward-migrating white settlers. It was later incorporated as a village
in 1843, and it eventually became a city in 1884. Before white settlement, the land was home to the Potawatomi Nation. Prior to that, Natives of the Hopewell civilization called the land home.


Image: Kalamazoo Satellite View
Image Source: Google Maps (April 01, 2017)


Image: Kalamazoo Neighborhoods Map
Image Source:Wikipedia

Populations:

The City of Kalamazoo has a population of around 75,000, and it is the largest city in Southwest Michigan. When combined with the neighboring city of Portage located immediately to its south, the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area anchors a population of about 335,000 persons. Add to this the population center of nearby Battle Creek, and the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek-Portage CSA ranks / ties for third in the state of Michigan, coming in at around 524,000 (source: Wikipedia).

Industry:

The area has a strong manufacturing history. Some historic industries included paper, stoves, automobiles, musical instruments, cigars, fishing gear (Shakespeare), and celery. Kalamazoo is where Gibson Guitars was founded, and it is where the Checker Cab was manufactured by Checker Motors Company. Today, the Kalamazoo-Portage area manufacturing scene has evolved to more high-tech and healthcare-related specialties, and it is also still host to a lot of plant nurseries and greenhouses. It is home to Fortune 500 company Stryker Corporation, a medical technologies leader. Other prominent businesses invested in the area include:

• Fabri-Kal (thermoformed packaging)
• Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet designs (outdoor kitchen equipment)
• Parker Hannifin (hydraulic components)
• Pfizer Corporation (ranks among the world’s largest Pharmaceutical businesses)
• Zoetis (world's largest producer of animal medicines)
• Eaton Corporation (Power Management / Distribution)
• Bell’s Brewery (Beer Brewing / Distribution)


Image: Gibson Inc. Interior, 1936
Image Source: KPL

Arts / Culture:

There are not many cities the size of Kalamazoo that can boast such a diversity of culture. The area has many museums, performance venues, organizations, and events dedicated to the arts. Perhaps most well-known is the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, hosted in the city each year by the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation. This weeks-long event attracts talent and visitors from around the world. The Kalamazoo Civic Theater has been active as a community theater ensemble since 1929. Also not to be overlooked is the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the third largest symphony orchestra in the state, with a nearly 100-year history.


Image: Bell's Eccentric Café Interior
Image Source:Crain's Detroit

Healthcare:

Kalamazoo is home to two large hospitals - Bronson Healthcare and Borgess
Health. Both have roots dating to the nineteenth century, and both hold a large influence on development in the area. The city is also home to the Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital, the largest mental health institution in the state, housed in a Kirkbride-planned building.


Image: Bronson Atrium by night
Image Source: CSM Group

Higher Education:

Kalamazoo is home to three large institutions of higher education: Western Michigan University, a public research university founded in 1903 with a student body around 24,000; Kalamazoo College, a private liberal arts college founded in 1833, with a much smaller student body of around 1,400; and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a 2-year community college system founded in 1966 and serving a student body of around 10,000. All three of these schools have a lot to do with the economic growth and diversity in the city.

Development - Historic:

Development-wise, Kalamazoo has had its fair share in the history of larger development trends. The city is home to what can be considered the worlds’ first modern, outdoor shopping mall, designed by Victor Gruen in the 1950s. It is still very much a part of the thriving downtown business area today.


Image: The Kalamazoo Mall, circa 1960s
Image Source: MI Genweb

The city has been a leader in historic preservation and adaptive reuse. It has one of the most active Historic Preservation Commissions in the state, and it is the smallest city in the state that manages to maintain this full-time department, dedicated to promoting historic preservation. Because of this, Kalamazoo boasts a variety of well-preserved structures from every architectural style from the 1830s on, especially Art Deco. That said, Kalamazoo was also witness to 'urban renewal' efforts beginning in the 1960s, like so many other cities. The Kalamazoo Center project meant demolition for historic structures that didn't fit the 'modern' identity that developers were striving to achieve.


Image: Kalamazoo Center, renovated and known now as The Radisson Plaza Hotel, was at the center of Kalamazoo's urban renewal efforts.
Image Source: Byce Associates

Kalamazoo also played host to several historically significant planned communities, two of which were spearheaded by citizens that enlisted the design efforts of Frank Lloyd Wright. These two Usonian communities, one in the Kalamazoo Winchell neighborhood (Parkwyn Village) and the other near Galesburg (The Acres / Galesburg Country Homes), are to this day some of the few planned communities designed by Wright that were actually built and continue to thrive.


Image: Parkwyn Village Sign, marking the entrance to the community.
Image Source: Parkwyn Village Association


Image: An early proposal for the Parkwyn Village community, indicating Wright's design for circular lots (which was ultimately not accepted by the FHA).
Image Source: Parkwyn Village Association

Development - Today:

So much exciting development is happening today in the greater Kalamazoo area, and it is certainly worthy of having its own development thread. Below is a list of some current projects and development-related news for both Kalamazoo and Portage, Michigan. Since this is a new thread, information for significant developments that have been recently completed is also provided, to give a better picture of just how much change there has been in recent times. Updates will be made periodically; projects listed below are meant to be a good start – but if there are projects you know of that are missing from this thread, please let the group know!

Note: All original image sources are credited. To satisfy the OCD in me, I saved copies to my hard drive and resized them all to match width-wise.

Kalamazoo - Current Projects / Development-Related News:

The Foundry - Phase 1

Location: 600 E. Michigan Ave.
Involved Parties: Treystar (Developer), CSM Group (CM)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: Phase 1 is a $10 million, 35,000 SF development on a brownfield redevelopment site, to include a 6,000 SF restaurant and office space for up to 200 people.


Image: Artist's Conceptual Rendering, The Foundry, Phase 1


Image: Phase 1 Groundbreaking Ceremony
Images Source: MLive

New Family Health Center Clinic

Location: Alcott St. - Edison Neighborhood
Involved Parties: Family Health Center, CSM Group (CM), Eckert Wordell (Architect)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: This building is a new 50,000 SF health care clinic geared towards providing health services to residents on the city's south side. Estimated construction cost is $15 million. The Family Health Center partnered with the City of Kalamazoo to build the clinic on a brownfield redevelopment site at the location of the former Allied Paper Company.


Image: Construction progress April 2017
Image Source: MLive


New RX Optical Laboratories Inc. New Corporate Headquarters Building

Location: 1700 S. Park St
Involved Parties: RX Optical
Status: Under Construction
Summary: RX Optical is building a new $6 million, 22,000+ SF new administrative structure to house the 69-year-old Kalamazoo-based company, which has over 50 locations in Michigan and Indiana.


Image: Site Development Plan
Image Source: MLive


Image: Project Rendering
Image Source: MiBiz

The Exchange Building

Location: 151 W. Michigan Ave (SE corner of W. Michigan and Rose)
Involved Parties: PlazaCorp, Phoenix Properties, Chemical Bank, Byce Engineering & Architecture, Orion Construction
Status: Site prep has begun (April, 2017)
Summary: Proposed 15-story, 340,000 SF mixed-use tower, estimate at $52.7 million. Has been stalled for 6 years now, but appears to finally be moving forward.


Image Source: MLive

Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence

Involved Parties: City of Kalamazoo, Various City Stakeholders / Donor Groups
Status: In-Progress
Summary: In 2016, $70.3 million, to be distributed over a three-year period, was committed to the City of Kalamazoo from a group of donors. The Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence is being set up to draw up a plan for management and use of the funds. Goals include using the money for infrastructure improvements, education, rolling back the city’s property taxes, reducing city budget deficits, and ending generational poverty in the area.


Image: Downtown Kalamazoo
Image Source:Imagine Kalamazoo

Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Visioning Process

Location: Various
Status: In-Progress
Involved parties: City of Kalamazoo, Various City Stakeholders / City Residents
Summary: Ongoing visioning process to gather community input for strategic development goals that the City will strive to achieve by 2025.


Image: Citywide Plan It Meeting
Image Source:Imagine Kalamazoo

Peregrine 100 - Phase 1

Location: Corner of W. Michigan Ave. and S. Burdick St.
Involved Parties: Peregrine Realty (Tom Huff, Owner)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: A $5 million residential and commercial mixed-use development in a former PNC Bank branch. Phase 1 includes 12 luxury residential units, Phase 2 will include more units and development of the vacant, historic 8,000 SF former bank space, which at one time was the home of First National Bank of Kalamazoo. Amenities to include indoor parking, rooftop terrace, and some units with 40 ft high ceilings.


Image: Exterior Rendering
Image Source:Second Wave Media

“The Gateway” Phase 1

Location: Maple Hill Drive (North of West Main St, East of US 131)
Involved Parties: AVB, Inc. (Developer)
Status: Proposed
Summary: Proposed 140-acre development, to potentially include up to 3 hotels, large retail, and several restaurants.


Image: Developer's Plan
Image Source:MLive

Arcadia Commons West

Location: Downtown Kalamazoo West End, Four Blocks @ Cooley / Eleanor Sts.
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo County, City of Kalamazoo, PlazaCorp (Developer), Western Michigan University
Status: Proposed
Summary: Plan to develop vacant property and catalyze development in the west end of downtown. Work will potentially include new courthouse building, private commercial development, and Western Michigan University development.


Image: Map of proposed development
Image Source: Wood TV


Image: Corner of Cooley & Eleanor Streets
Image Source: AP

Demolition of Former Kalamazoo Gazette Building

Location: 401 S. Burdick St.
Involved Parties: Bronson Healthcare Group, CSM Group (CM)
Status: Demolition in Progress
Summary: Demolition is underway on more than half of the 131,000 SF+ structure that was formerly the home of the Kalamazoo Gazette. The property was bought by Bronson Healthcare Group in 2015 with goals to increase its downtown Kalamazoo footprint. The original portion of the structure was built in 1925 and was designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn. This portion is being preserved. New construction will include lab space and other functions.


Image: Former kalamazoo Gazette Building, as seen from Burdick St. The portion on the left is the original 1925 building to be preserved


Image: Map showing the demolition site, southeast corner of Burdick and Lovell Sts


Image: Demolition progress, as of January 2017

Images Source:MLive

Kalamazoo – Recently Completed Projects / Development

Walnut & Park Coffee Shop

Completion Date: March 2017
Location: 322 W. Walnut St.
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo KPEP
Summary: A new 1,300 SF coffee shop and cafe; part of the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program that will offer solid employment for men and women who are participants in KPEP's culinary arts program. Total project cost around $500,000.


Image: Walnut & Park Coffee Shop Exterior
Image Source: MLive

Nova Virtual Reality Arcade

Completion Date: December, 2016
Location: 806 S Westnedge Ave (Vine Neighborhood)
Involved Parties: Nova VR
Summary: Interior fit-out of an existing structure to house a new virtual reality arcade in the eclectic Vine Neighborhood.


Image: Exterior View, along S. Westnedge
Image Source: MLive


Image: NOVA lab partners Ryan Edgar and Bill Brieger
Image Source: MLive

Kalamazoo County Criminal Justice Complex / Family Court Building

Completion Date: Winter 2016
Location: 1536 Gull Road
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo County, HOK / Tower Pinkster (Architect), AVB (CM)
Summary: New $24 million, three-story, 82,000 SF Criminal Justice Complex built to consolidate all family court functions for the entire county.


Image: Criminal Justice Complex, Exterior
Image Source: AVB, Inc


Image: Criminal Justice Complex, Exterior by night
Image Source: AVB, Inc


Image: Criminal Justice Complex, Interior Atrium
Image Source: AVB, Inc


Image: Criminal Justice Complex, Interior Courtroom
Image Source: AVB, Inc

Family & Children Services Expansion

Completion Date: November, 2016
Location: 1608 Lake St.
Involved Parties: Family & Children Services, Kingscott Associates (Architect), Miller-Davis (CM)
Summary: Two-story, 14,000 SF addition to Family & Children Services' Kalamazoo facility, marking the largest building project in the organization's 100+ year history. Family & Children Services provides services in youth development and counseling for children and families. The new addition is dedicated to services that support foster children and their foster families.


Image: Family & Children Services - Exterior - Front


Image: Family & Children Services - Exterior - Back - Dusk


Image: Family & Children Services - Interior lobby
Images Source: KAI

Bell's Brewery Expansion

Completion Date: Fall, 2016
Location: Comstock
Involved Parties: Bell's Brewery Inc, Byce & Associates (Architects / Engineers), Walbridge (CM)
Summary: Multiple phased projects to expand facilities. The most recent project included a $50 million, 200,000 SF facility expansion to add a new packaging / bottling hall, a warehouse logistics center, a point-of-sale warehouse, new offices and employee areas, an 800 barrel fermentation addition, and a Two Hearted fermentation addition . The expansion allowed production to increase from 800,000 barrels per year to 1,000,000 barrels.


Image: Exterior View
Image Source: Byce


Image: Exterior View
Image Source: MLive


Image: Fermentation Hall
Image Source: Bell's Website


Image: New Bottling Hall
Image Source: Byce


Image: New Warehouse
Image Source: Byce

The Depot

Completion Date: Fall, 2016
Location: 300 E Water Street
Involved Parties: PlazaCorp, Hopcat, Cherry Tree Financial, Maru Sushi
Summary: Project involved the restoration of a 1920's-era train depot to create over 13,000 SF of space for a financial institution and two restaurants, including the 11th HopCat location with over 100 beers on tap.


Image: The Depot, Exterior


Image: HopCat at The Depot, Exterior
Images Source: PlazaCorp/


Image; HopCat at The Depot, interior
Image Source: HopCat

Milwood Elementary School Renovations / Additions

Completion Date: Fall, 2016
Location: 3400 Lovers Lane
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Public Schools, Tower Pinkster (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Summary: Updates and addition to Milwood Elementary, including 39,365 SF in renovations and 26,700 SF in additions.


Image: Milwood Elemetnary School, exterior
Image Source: Tower Pinkster

Walbridge Common Apartments

Completion Date: Summer, 2016
Location: 714 Walbridge St. (River's Edge Neighborhood)
Involved Parties: NoMi (Developers)
Summary: 48 apartments and a restaurant in a renovated, 34,000 SF warehouse built in 1924, located in the northeast Kalamazoo River’s Edge District. 




Images Source: River's Edge District

Landscape Forms - Powder Coat Finishing Facility

Completion Date: 2015
Location: Midlink Office Park
Involved Parties: Landscape Forms, Eckert Wordell (Architect)
Summary: 166,000 SF renovation to create a new powder coat finishing facility, offices, and employee space for this industry leader in site furnishings and outdoor LED lighting.


Image: Employee Break Area
Image Source: Eckert Wordell


Image: The powder coating facility
Image Source: Eckert Wordell

The Corner@Drake

Completion Date: Fall 2014 - 2016
Location: northwest corner of Stadium Drive and Drake Road
Involved Parties: Costco, Field & Stream (Anchor Tenants), COnsumers Credit Union, AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: Conversion of wooded property to a $70 million shopping plaza, anchored by Costco and Field & Stream.


Image: Developer Plan
Image Source: AVB, Inc


Image: Consumers Credit Union at The Corner @ Drake
Image Source: MLive


Image: Field & Stream @ The Corner @ Drake
Image Source: MLive

Norbridge Building

Completion Date: 2014
Location: 510 E. Butler Ct. (River's Edge Neighborhood)
Involved Parties: NoMi (Developer)
Summary: Norbridge was completed in 2014 as a multi-use building featuring one 8,000 square foot office space and five loft style apartments.




Images Source: River's Edge District

Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

Completion Date: 2014
Location: 300 Portage St
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, The S/L/A/M Collaborative (Architect), Walbridge (CM)
Summary: Renovation and addition to a former pharmaceutical research building downtown, 330,000 SF total project to create a new home for WMU's School of Medicine.


Image: Exterior, Night
Image Source: Architect Magazine

Peregrine Plaza

Completion Date: 2014
Location: 336 S Kalamazoo Mall (Corner of E South St & South Burdick St)
Involved Parties: Peregrine Properties, MLive, Various Tenants
Summary: A mixed use renovation & development to bring commercial space and 14 residential units to the heart of downtown. The first floor is the new home of the Kalamazoo Gazette / MLive, along with an art gallery, a yoga center, and other retail establishments.


Image: Pergrine Plaza Exterior
Image Source: Peregrine Company

Washington Writers' Academy

Completion Date: 2014
Location: 1919 Portage Rd
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Public Schools, Tower Pinkster (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Summary: Construction of a new K-5 school building that integrates parts of the historic original structure into the new design.


Image: Exterior View
Image Source: CSM Group

Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes Benz Dealership

Completion Date: 2014
Location: 543 W Michigan Ave
Involved Parties: Orrin B. Hayes, AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: A new 5,000 SF showroom anchors this project, which included extensive renovations to an existing building. Estimated construction cost: $1.2 million.


Image: New Showroom, exterior


Image: New Showroom, interior


Image: New Showroom, interior
Images Source: AVB, Inc,

Arcadia Brewing Company / Arcadia Ales

Completion Date: Spring 2014
Location: 701 E Michigan Ave
Involved Parties: Arcadia Brewing Company, AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: Arcadia Ales opened a new 30,000 SF facility capable of producing up to 21,000 barrels a year in 2014. The $3.2 million facility features a full commercial kitchen and open concept restaurant and bar with outdoor seating. It is adjacent to the Kalamazoo River; kayakers can take their kayak right up to the river's edge, and dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area.


Image; Exterior by night


Image; Exterior Seating Area


Image: Interior production area
Images Source: AVB, Inc.

HARK Orchids, L.P. New Company Headquarters

Completion Date: July 2013
Location: 5301 Park Circle Dr.
Involved Parties: Hark Orchids, L.P., CSM Group (CM)
Summary: A new 35,000 SF headquarters in the Midlink Business Park for Hark Orchids, a company established in 1904 that deals in the hybridization, cultivation, and propagation of orchids.


Image: HARK Orchids Exterior
Image Source: CSM Group

Radisson Plaza Hotel Renovations

Completion Date: 2012
Location: 100 W. Michigan Ave.
Involved Parties: Radisson, Eckert-Wordell (Architect)
Summary: Project included a full design of the lobby and registration areas, as well as renovations to guest rooms and event areas for downtown's premier hotel.


Image: Radisson Registration Lobby


Image: Radisson Main Lobby

https://quh24g-sn3301.files.1drv.com...&cropmode=none
Image: Radisson Ballroom


Image: Radisson Double Room


Image: Radisson Suite
All Radisson Images Source: Eckert Wordell

Family Health Center of Kalamazoo - Expanded Flagship Location

Completion Date: 2012
Location: Patterson St - Northside Neighborhood
Involved Parties: Bronson Healthcare, CSM Group (CM)
Summary: A 41,000 SF, $8.3 million expansion of its existing facility, this project allowed FHC to double the number of patients it treats each year.


Image: Exterior by night
Image Source: CSM Group

610 S. Burdick St. / InterAct

Completion Date: 2011
Location: 610 S. Burdick St
Involved Parties: InterAct, Hinman Company (Developer)
Summary: A 24,000 SF, LEED Gold-certified, Class A single tenant office building. Home to the Kalamazoo offices of InterAct, a mental health and substance abuse treatment center, this was a Brownfield Redevelopment Project.


Image Source: Hinman Company

Bronson Advanced Radiology - Diagnostics Lab and Imaging Center

Completion Date: 2009
Location: 524 S Park St
Involved Parties: Bronson Healthcare, CSM Group (CM)
Summary: A new 17,000 SF imaging facility in downtown.



Image: Exterior at night
Image Source: CSM Group

Linden Grove Middle School

Completion Date: 2009
Location: 4241 Arboretum Pkwy
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Public Schools, Tower Pinkster (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Summary: A new, 143,000 SF Middle School to serve 700+ students in the Kalamazoo Public Schools district. The school has a green roof terrace and achieved LEED Gold certification.


Image: Linden Grove Exterior by night


Image: Linden Grove Lobby
Images Source: CSM Group

Midlink Business Park

Completion Date: Phased / Ongoing Development
Location: I-94 & S Sprinkle Rd
Involved Parties: Midlink, CSM Group (CM)
Summary: Conversion of a former General Motors stamping plant into a massive business park facility, with over 1.6 million square feet of multi-tenant space under just two roofs, and 240 surrounding acres of development land.


Image: Midlink Interior View


Image: Midlink Exterior
Images Source: CSM Group

Greenleaf Trust

Completion Date: 2009
Location: 211 S Rose St
Involved Parties: Greenleaf Trust, Eckert-Wordell (Architect)
Summary: A 38,000 SF renovation to create new office space for Greenleaf Trust, a wealth management firm. The original structure was built in 1921, and its renovation was part of a larger downtown revitalization effort.


Image Source: Eckert Wordell

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan - Glowing Embers Council Program & Training Center

Completion Date: 2007
Location: 601 W Maple St
Involved Parties: Girl Scouts of America, h3 (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Summary: A 28,000 SF new building to support programs and serve as an 'urban oasis' in the city for girl scouts and administration staff.


Image: Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Exterior, by night


Image: Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Exterior, rear view
Images Source: CSM Group

Miller Canfield

Completion Date: 2007
Location: 277 S Rose St
Involved Parties: Miller Canfield, Other Tenants, CSM Group (CM)
Summary: A new, 154,000 SF, multi-story office space in Downtown, anchored by the law firm of Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone.


Image: Miller Canfield Front Entrance
Image Source: CSM Group

Borgess Brain and Spine Institute


Completion Date: 2006
Location: 3025 Gull Rd
Involved Parties: Borgess Health, AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: This 45,000 SF addition to the Borgess campus became the region's only dedicated neuroscience institute when it opened in 2006.


Image: Borgess Brain and Spine Institute
Image Source: AVB, Inc.

Kalamazoo College Developments

Kalamazoo College Fitness and Wellness Center

Completion Date: October 2016
Location: Corner of Catherine and Academy Sts.
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo College, TMP Architecture, Owen-Ames-Kimball (CM)
Summary: Two-story, 33,000 square foot, $8.7 million facility dedicated to campus health and wellness.


Image: Front Entrance
Image Source: OAK

Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

Completion Date: 2014
Location: Aacademy St, Kalamazoo College
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo College, Studio Gang (Architect)
Summary: This 10,000 SF hub for advancing social justice packs a lot of design into a small area. The Center was developed to promote and sustain leaders in the fields of human rights and social justice, and features 'wood masonry' technology to create a low-tech, high-performance exterior façade.








Images Source: Studio Gang

KVCC Main Campus Developments

KVCC Student Success Center

Completion Date: 2010
Location: 6767 W O Ave, Texas Township
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Eckert Wordell (Architect)
Summary: 73,000 SF addition + renovations to KVCC's main campus in Texas Township. The project was designed to bring all student services under one roof while expanding and refurbishing campus areas for classrooms, labs, faculty offices, and maintenance. The building followed LEED design guidelines and features a large green roof.


Image: Exterior View
Image Source: Eckert Wordell


Image: Interior View
Image Source: Eckert Wordell

KVCC / Bronson Healthy Living Campus Developments

KVCC Culinary Arts and Allied Health Building

Completion Date: Fall, 2016
Location: 418 E Walnut St
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Bronson Healthcare Group, DEQ, EPA, Tower Pinkster (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Summary: 75,000 SF building to house Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s new Food and Health Studies programs.


Image: KVCC Healthy Living Campus Site Plan
Image Source: CSM Group


Image: Exterior View of the new building
Image Source: Tower Pinkster /

KVCC Food Innovation Building

Completion Date: Fall, 2016
Location: 418 E Walnut St
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Bronson Healthcare Group, DEQ, EPA, Tower Pinkster (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Summary: One of three buildings within the new Bronson Healthy Living Campus development in downtown Kalamazoo, the new 16,500 SF Food Innovation Building responds to the rising trend of simulation within the academic environment and promotes wellness while increasing community access to healthy food and nutrition.


Image: KVCC Food Innovation Building exterior


Image: KVCC Food Innovation Building exterior
Images Source: Tower Pinkster

Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Completion Date: 2015
Location: Bronson Healthy Living Campus
Involved Parties: City of Kalamazoo, Bronson Healthcare Group, Eckert Wordell (Architect)
Summary: 17,000 SF facility, part of the new Bronson Healthy Living Campus, where guiding principles address issues of nutrition, mental and physical health, sustainability, and social concerns.


Image Source: Eckert Wordell

Western Michigan University - Main Campus Developments

Western Michigan University Valley Dining Center

Completion Date: Fall, 2016
Location: 4717 Campus Drive
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, Bakergroup / SGJJR Architects
Summary: $36 million, 61,000 SF facility featuring 9 micro restaurants with seating capacity for 1,000.


Image Source: MLive

Western View Apartments

Completion Date: Fall 2013
Location: WMU West Campus
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, Progressive AE (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: $21 million project to construct 330 new apartment units. Project achieved LEED certification.


Image Source: AVB, Inc.

Western Michigan University - Sangren Hall

Completion Date: 2012
Location: 4121 Sangren Hall - 1903 W Michigan Ave.
Involved Parties: WMU, SHW Group (Architect), Miller-Davis Company (CM)
Summary: This new structure replaced an earlier Sangren Hall, providing 30% more classroom seats and achieving LEED Gold certification. The estimated construction cost was $47 million for the 230,000 SF building, which has reshaped the central part of the university's main campus.


Image Source: inhabit

Western Michigan University - New Chemistry Building

Completion Date: 2007
Location: WMU West (Main) Campus
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, Holabird & Root (Architect), Miller-Davis (CM)
Summary: A new 85,000 SF building for the Chemistry Department, designed to support collaborative learning.


Image Source: WMU Facilities

Western Michigan University - Richmond Center for Visual Arts

Completion Date: 2007
Location: 1903 W Michigan Ave
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, CSM Group (CM)
Summary: The 44,5000 SF Richmond Center serves as the hub of the University's fine arts village, and houses three separate gallery spaces.


Image: Exterior View
Image Source: CSM Group

Western Michigan University - Parkview Campus Developments

Consumers Energy Solar Gardens, WMU Business Technology & Research Park

Completion Date: August, 2016
Location: 4601 Campus Drive
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, Consumers Energy
Summary: 8.5 acres, 1-megawatt solar power plant at Western's BTR Park. This marks Consumers' second large-scale solar project in Michigan, the first being a 3-megawatt plant at Grand Valley State University that opened in April. 


Image Source: MLive

Western Michigan University WMed Innovation Center

Completion Date: 2016
Location: 4717 Campus Drive
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, URS Corp. (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: Located on Western's Parkview Campus, this 69,000 SF building is designed to be an incubator for ventures in life science, technology, and engineering. Estimated construction cost was $12.5 million.


Image: Exterior view
Image Source: AVB, Inc.

Western Michigan University - East Campus Developments

Western Michigan University - Heritage Hall Alumni Center / Former East Hall Renovation

Completion Date: Fall, 2015
Location: WMU East Campus, Prospect Hill
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, Tower Pinkster (Architect), Hopkins Burns Design Studio, Ann Arbor (Preservation Architect)
Summary: This structure, one of the original of the university, was designed by John Charles Olmsted and Fredrick Law Olmsted Jr. (sons of famous landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted Sr) and constructed in 1903. The repurposing of the building into an Alumni Center involved partial demolition of two wing additions, as well as demolition of several surrounding structures, also original to the campus (West Hall, Speech and Hearing Building, and North Hall).


Image Source: Tower Pinkster

Western Michigan University - Oakland Drive Campus Developments

Western Michigan University - Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center

Completion Date: Fall, 2013
Location: WMU Oakland Drive Campus
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University
Summary: An $8.7 million new building to house WMU's Archives, Regional History Collections, and the entire Kalamazoo Gazette Archive. The project achieved LEED Silver, and features 3-ft high, high-density storage units.




Images Source: MLive

Western Michigan University - University Medical and Health Sciences Center Building / Unified Clinics Facility

Completion Date: ??
Location: WMU Oakland Drive Campus
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University
Summary: The Unified Clinics are one large multi-specialty group practice established to provide “real world” clinical training experiences for students in the College of Health and Human Services.


Image Source: WMU Unified Clinics

Western Michigan University - Health and Human Services Building / Bronson School of Nursing

Completion Date: August, 2004
Location: WMU Oakland Drive Campus
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, SmithGroup (Architect)
Summary: The first building constructed on the Oakland Drive Campus, it was designed to provide teaching and research space for all programs within the College of HHS. The building is 196,000 SF and earned LEED gold in 2009 (for an existing building).


Image Source: WMU Bronson School of Nursing

Portage - Current Projects / Development-Related News


Image Source: City of Portage

The City of Portage, just south of Kalamazoo and not to be outdone by its neighbor to the north, is experiencing something of a boom itself in new construction in all sectors. Portage, achieved $65 million in new construction value for 2015-2016. For the first half of 2016-2017 alone, new construction is valued at $57.5 million (Source: The Portager, February 2017)

Trade Centre III

Location: 650 Trade Centre Way
Involved Parties: H & G L.L.C. (Developers)
Status: Proposed
Summary: A new five-story office building, currently under construction near I-94 and S. Westnedge Ave. The office building is situated between the two previous three-and-four story Trade Centre office buildings and the new Hilton Homewood Suites hotel. A height variance was approved by the city, allowing the developers to add an extra story to the earlier designs, which called for just four floors. The larger planned development also includes the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, completed in 2013.


Image: Rendering of the new Trade Centre III
Image Source:MLive


Image: Construction progress as of 04/08/2017
Image Source: The Author


Pfizer Multi-Million Dollar Expansion


Location: Pfizer Portage Manufacturing Complex, Corner of Portage and Romence Rds
Involved Parties: Pfizer Inc., City of Portage
Status: Under Construction
Summary: A planned $145 million expansion to the Portage campus is underway. Work is underway on the first part of this plan; a large, 98,000 SF warehouse addition at the north end of Building 41 ($41 million).


Image: The Pfizer Campus in Portage
Image Source:MLive


Image: Construction progress on the cold-storage warehouse.
Image Source: MLive

Stryker Corporate Campus & Manufacturing / Research & Development Expansion

Location: 4100 E. Milham Ave., on 288 acres of land zoned industrial and bordered by Portage Road, East Milham Avenue and Ramona Avenue
Involved Parties: Stryker Corporation
Status: Site prep has begun
Summary: Planned development of existing brownfield site into a new $130 million corporate campus. Would create an estimated 100+ new jobs over three years. Couldn't find higher-res images.


Image: Rendering of the new facility


Image: Site Development plan

All Images Source:
MLive

Portage Public Schools 2015 Bond Projects

Location: Various Locations throughout the City of Portage
Involved Parties: Portage Public Schools, C2AE / Stantec (Architect), Owen Ames Kimball (CM)
Status: In Design Development
Summary: In November, 2015, residents of Portage voted to approve two bond proposals, totaling $144 million. Work will include:
  • Portage Central HS - New Natatorium – Spring 2018
  • Portage Northern HS - New Stadium – Summer 2018
  • New Portage North Middle School – Fall 2019
  • Portage Central HS - New Stadium – Fall 2019
  • Portage Northern HS – New Natatorium – Summer 2020
  • New Portage Central Middle School – Fall 2020
  • West Middle School Improvements – Fall 2020


Image: New Portage Central Middle School Rendering


Image: New Portage Northern Middle School Rendering


Image: New Portage Northern HS Athletics Rendering
Images Source: PPS Construction

Oakland Hills Condominiums

Location: South Oakland Drive
Involved Parties: AVB, Inc. (Developer)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: Attached condo development nearing completion. Part of the larger Oakland Hills at Centre development.


Image Source: The Author

Whisper Rock Condominiums, Phase 1

Location: corner of West Centre Avenue and South Oakland Drive
Involved Parties: AVB, Inc. (Developer)
Status: Phase 1 Under Construction
Summary: 45 attached condos in 18 two-unit and three three-unit buildings. Part of the larger Oakland Hills at Centre development.


Image: Condominium unit nearing completion - Spring 2017
Image Source: The author

Randall J. Baas Condominiums

Involved Parties: randall J. Baas (Builder)
Status: Phase 1 Under Construction
Summary: 12 attached condos in 6 two-unit buildings.


Image Source: The Author

Arbor Financial Credit Union Branch

Location: Corner of West Centre Avenue & Oakland Drive
Involved Parties: Arbor Financial Credit Union
Status: Under Construction
Summary: New credit union branch - the existing branch is located across the street and will move in here once it's completed.


Image Source: The Author

Portage Pediatric Dentistry

Location: 3020 Old Centre Road
Involved Parties: Portage Pediatric Dentistry, Hansen Building and Design Corp.
Status: Under Construction
Summary: New dental office suite under construction in the Woodbridge Hills area of Portage.


Image Source: The Author (photograph of rendering on project site sign)

Walmart Expansion and New Fuel Station

Location: 8350 Shaver Road
Involved Parties: Walmart
Status: Under Construction
Summary: The 8-pump fuel station is now complete, and work is nearing completion on a 40,000 SF addition to upgrade the store to a 190,000 SF supercenter with expanded grocery merchandise, full-service pharmacy with drive-through, tire and lube express, and garden center.


Image: Walmart Exterior
Image Source:MLive

Portage Memory Care

Location: 710 E Centre Avenue
Involved Parties: Woodland Terrace
Status: Under Construction
Summary: A new 32,000 SF Memory Care Living Facility


Image: Front View
Image Source: The Author

Copperleaf, Phase 1 / Phase 2

Location: 3800 W Milham Ave.
Involved Parties: Allen Edwin Homes (Developer)
Summary: Phase 1 includes 32 new single-family residential lots in a planned residential community.


Image Source: The Author

Some More Residential-Related Projects in Progress
  • Greenspire Apartments, Tozer Court - 70 new apartment units
  • Whispering Meadows, Phase 4, 6513 Angling Road - 15 new single-family residential lots

Portage - Recently Completed Projects / Development

Story Point Senior Living Community

Completion Date: Spring 2017
Location: 3951 West Milham Avenue
Involved Parties: Senior Village Management, Triple M Investments (Developer)
Summary: Story Point has 18+ communities in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana for independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Their newest community just opened in Portage. At a construction cost of $18 million, this 181,000 SF facility has four neighborhood wings totaling 122 independent living units and 36 assisted living/memory care units. The property is also home to the historic Van Riper homestead, which is the oldest remaining residential structure in the city. No official plans are in place for what to do with the homestead.


Image Source: The Author

Zeigler Motorsports Dealership & Entertainment Facility

Completion Date: March, 2017
Location: 5001 Park Circle Drive
Involved Parties: Zeigler Motorsports, Millennium Restaurant Group
Summary: A new 50-acre facility, featuring a 30-ft mountain and waterfall, birch trees, a 300 sq-ft. video wall, 36 motorcycles suspended from the ceiling, and a Tap House Restaurant & Bar, further solidifying Zeigler's standing as one of the largest motorsports dealers in the nation.


Image: New Zeigler Motorsports Showroom, Exterior
Image Source: PR Web

Chick-fil-A Portage

Completion Date: February, 2017
Location: 6202 S Westnedge Ave
Involved Parties: Chick-fil-A
Summary: When people start camping out the day before for a change to win a year's supply of free meals, and when the police have to close down lanes and guide traffic on opening day, you know it's a big deal. As Chick-fil-A continues its expansion into west Michigan, the Portage location marks the newest chain to open this year.


Image: Chick-Fil_A, nearing completion
Image Source: MLive

Design 1 Salon and Spa

Completion Date: Winter 2017
Location: 212 W Milham Ave
Involved Parties: Design 1 Salon and Spa, Tropical Smoothie Café, Other Tenants, Innovate Design, PC (Architects)
Summary: A new 2-story commercial development near the corner of S. Westnedge and W. Milham Ave, this development is anchored by Design 1 Salon and Spa.


Image: Design 1 Exterior
Image Source: The Author


Image: Design 1 Interior
Image Source: Design 1 Website

Southern Michigan Bank & Trust - New Branch

Completion Date: Spring 2016
Location: 531 W. Kilgore
Involved Parties: SMB&T, Roger Hinman and Hinman Companies, Integrated Architecture, Orion Construction (CM)
Summary: A Coldwater, MI-based bank, this new, 2,800 SF standalone branch represents the first newly constructed LEED-certified bank branch in southwestern Michigan.


Image: Exterior for the new branch
Image Source: Second Wave Media

Hilton Homewood Suites Hotel

Completion Date: 2016
Location: 500 Trade Centre Way
Involved Parties: Hilton
Summary: New four-story hotel in the Trade Centre development near I-94 and S. Westnedge Ave.


Image Source: Hilton Homewood Suites

Stryker Corporate Headquarters

Location: 2825 Airview Boulevard
Involved Parties: Stryker, Yamasaki (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: 80,000 SF, $16.5 million new corporate headquarters location in Portage.


Image Source: AVB, Inc.

Courtyard by Marriott Hotel

Completion Date: 2013
Location: 400 Trade Centre Way
Involved Parties: Marriott
Summary: New four-story hotel in the Trade Centre development near I-94 and S. Westnedge Ave.


Image Source: Bing Places for Business

Stryker Instruments

Completion Date: 2013
Location: Portage
Involved Parties: Stryker Instruments, CSM Group (CM)
Summary: 47,000 SF worth of renovation at two properties; Buildings 4100 & 6201.


Image: Exterior View


Image: Interior View
Images Source: CSM Group

Portage Northern HS - Addition & Renovations

Completion Date: 2011
Location: 1000 Idaho Ave, Portage
Involved Parties: Portage Public Schools, TMP (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: Part of a $120 million bond proposal, this $25 million, project included a 55,000 SF addition and 185,000 SF of renovations to the existing Portage Northern High School. The new addition contains a cafeteria, administrative and counseling offices, school store, and common areas. The renovations included enlarged learning spaces and new science labs. The High School has a current enrollment of around 1,400 students.


Image: Portage Northern High School - Exterior
Image Source: AVB


Image: Portage Northern High School - Commons
Image Source: AVB


Image: Portage Northern High School - Renovated Gymnasium
Image Source: AVB

Portage Central High School

Completion Date: 2010
Location: 8135 South Westnedge Avenue, Portage
Involved Parties: Portage Public Schools, TMP (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: Part of a $120 million bond proposal, this $40 million, 280,000 SF new high school was built around an existing auditorium saved from the earlier high school, which was demolished during the construction process .The three story structure has an enrollment of about 1,400 students.


Image: Exterior of the new Central High School
Image Source: TMP


Image: The renovated auditorium, saved from the earlier school and integrated into the new construction.
Image Source: AVB


Image: Commons Area, Portage Central HS
Image Source: AVB


Image: Gymnasium at the new Central High School
Image Source: AVB


Image: Media Center
Image Source: AVB

Portage Lake Center Elementary School

Completion Date: 2010
Location: 10011 Portage Rd, Portage
Involved Parties: Portage Public Schools, TMP (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: Part of a $120 million bond proposal, this $10.2 million school was built near the site of Portage's first school building. It is two-stories, 73,000 SF, and serves about 600 K-5 students.


Image Source: AVB, Inc

Portage 12th Street Elementary School

Completion Date: 2009
Location: 6501 S. 12th St, Portage
Involved Parties: Portage Public Schools, TMP (Architect), Byce & Associates (Architect Sub), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: The first new school in Portage in 15 years. Part of a $120 million bond proposal, this $14.8 million, two-story, 72,000-square-foot school was constructed to serve 500 K-5 students. It features very similar plans to the Lake Center Elementary, constructed with the same bond dollars (to save on design costs).


Image: Exterior


Image: Interior Lobby


Image: Music Room / Stage
Images Source: Byce

750 Trade Centre

Completion Date: 2008
Location: 750 Trade Centre Way
Involved Parties: H & G L.L.C. (Developers), Yamasaki Associates (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: 83,000 SF of Class A, 3-Story office building in the city of Portage near I-94. Estimated construction cost, $13.5 million. Trade Centre III is currently under construction nearby.


Image: Exterior by night
Image Source: AVB, Inc.

950 Trade Centre

Completion Date: 2007
Location: 950 Trade Centre Way
Involved Parties: H & G L.L.C. (Developers), Yamasaki Associates (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Summary: 110,000 SF of Class A, 4-Story office building in the city of Portage near I-94. Estimated construction cost, $17.5 million.


Image: Exterior View
Image Source: AVB, Inc.

Stryker Medical - Consolidated Facilities

Completion Date: 2006
Location: 3800 E Centre Ave, Portage
Involved Parties: Stryker Medical, Eckert Wordell (Architect)
Summary: 435,000 facility to consolidate the operations of two outdated existing plants under one roof. Contains manufacturing space, offices, employee cafeteria, research and development spaces, and a product showroom.


Image: Exterior View
Image Source: Eckert Wordell

Other Area Developments

Bronson Commons - New Post-Acute Care Facility

Completion Date: 2013
Location: Mattawan
Involved Parties: Bronson Healthcare Group, CSM Group (CM)
Summary: Located in nearby Mattawan, this new 77,000 SF facility provides a 100-private-bed, short-term nursing care and therapy center for adult patients.


Image: Bronson Commons by Night
Image Source: CSM Group

Last edited by deja vu; Apr 15, 2017 at 7:58 PM. Reason: Content Update
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2017, 12:12 AM
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Kalamazoo-based Aaron Zeigler Opens Highly Anticipated 50-Acre Powersports Dealership & Entertainment Facility

KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN (PRWEB) MARCH 07, 2017

Quote:
Aaron Zeigler, one of the largest dealers in the nation, recently celebrated the highly-anticipated opening of the automotive group's first multi-line powersports dealership and entertainment complex. Upon opening its doors on Monday, March 6th, Zeigler Motorsports became the world's largest Action Park and Motorsports dealership, creating a one-of-a-kind destination for Motorsports enthusiasts.

Now located at 5001 Park Circle Drive Kalamazoo, MI 49048, inside MidLink Business Park, the 50-acre facility features a 30-ft mountain and waterfall, birch trees, a 300 sq-ft. video wall, 36 motorcycles suspended from the ceiling, and a Tap House Restaurant & Bar. It also includes an indoor service write up area and a 150-person training and development center.

"We are changing the way people experience Motorsports. This new location is more than just a dealership. It’s a destination and an entertainment complex,” said Aaron Zeigler, President of Zeigler Motorsports.

Dream Traxx, the nation’s premier track building company developed the dealer's 3 onsite tracks which span over 4 miles. These include a1.3-mile motocross track, a side-by-side track with natural obstacles, and an additional junior track.

“At our dealership you will be able to test drive vehicles in their natural environment. Every aspect of the complex was designed to give customers an amazing experience,” Zeigler added.

In addition to the attractions and entertainment features, Zeigler emphasized the one-stop-shop aspect of the complex by designating 85,000 sq. ft. for sales and service - including 24 large indoor service lanes; plus an additional 400,000 sq. ft for onsite storage.

The massive storage facility developed with Motorsports enthusiasts in mind, features an in/out service that allows clients to store their vehicles onsite and use them on the tracks without a trailer.

Zeigler Automotive Group plans to hold an official Grand Opening event for the new dealership in the near future.

About Zeigler Motorsports

Zeigler Motorsports in Kalamazoo Michigan is part of the Zeigler Automotive Group, one of the largest automotive dealer groups in the country.

The multi-line dealer carries a large volume of Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, SkiDoo, SeaDoo, Can Am, Arctic Cat, KTM, E-Z-Go, Bad Boy Off Road and Yamaha powersport products and specializes in the complete line of Honda Power Equipment and Yamaha Power Equipment. Its main focus is providing A Great Experience with the largest selection in Michigan and a knowledgeable staff always available at its 50-acre facility.

About Zeigler Automotive Group

Zeigler Automotive Group is one of the largest privately owned dealer groups in the nation with 71 franchises and 23 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and New York. Vehicle brands represented include the majority of domestic and imported manufacturers.

Founded in 1975, the company ranks among the top 1% of automotive dealers in the U.S., and has earned recognition for its commitment to both customer service and employee satisfaction. Recently, Zeigler Automotive Group was named one of the 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in Illinois and Michigan.
Full Article:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/032017...eb14120428.htm


Image: New Zeigler Motorsports Showroom, Exterior










Images: Zeigler Motorsports Showroom Interior Views, Opening Day March 06, 2017
Image Source: PR Web http://www.prweb.com/releases/032017...eb14120428.htm

Last edited by deja vu; Mar 16, 2017 at 3:18 AM. Reason: formatting
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2017, 2:14 AM
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Nice rundown.
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Check out the newest developments in The Burgh. Pittsburgh Rundown II

"Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam"
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Old Posted Mar 15, 2017, 3:35 PM
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Thanks. I will keep expanding it, and hopefully get out and take some photos of my own once the deep freeze ends.

Here's an interesting little project that just wrapped up downtown:

Walnut & Park coffee shop to open in downtown Kalamazoo
Al Jones, via MLive
March 02, 2017


Image: Walnut & Park Coffee Shop Exterior


Image: Walnut & Park Coffee Shop Interior


Image: Walnut & Park Coffee Shop Interior
All Images Source: MLive http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/...op_to_ope.html

Quote:
KALAMAZOO, MI -- Walnut & Park is the name of a new coffee shop and cafe that is set to open Monday, March 6, in downtown Kalamazoo.

Located at 322 W. Walnut St. (the corner of Walnut & Park), the business is a project of the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program and will put to work men and women who are participants in KPEP's culinary arts program.
KPEP is a private nonprofit residential and outpatient rehabilitation program that serves state and federal criminal offenders, probationers and parolees.

It has spent about $300,000 to demolish an unused former office building that was on the site and build a 1,262-square-foot structure to house the coffee shop. Including construction, it expects to have paid a total of about $500,000 to get the business up and going.

"We're in the business of helping people stay out of prison or reintegrate into the community," said Bill DeBoer, president and chief executive officer of KPEP. "Part of that is to teach them some jobs skills. In order to live independently you have to have employment. ... To that end we developed a 10-week culinary arts program. And in addition, we've opened a coffee shop to help people get jobs, teach them skills and hopefully go out in the community and be employed with other agencies."

Coffee served at Walnut & Park

Walnut & Park will be managed by Tara Staten, a former sales director at Water Street Coffee Joint, and Casey Grisolono, a former production manager there.

Walnut & Park will serve coffees ground by the Water Street Coffee Roaster along with homemade baked goods, and breakfast and lunch dishes. At any time, it will be staffed by a food prep worker, a barista, an expediter, a cashier, a dish washer and a floater.

The shop seats 32 people inside and expects to have seating in fair weather months on its outside deck for at least two dozen others. It also has a private conference room available for use and offers free WIFI.

Planning for the culinary arts program began about two years ago, DeBoer said. It got going on Sept. 1, and is a vocational program developed in partnership with Canteen Services and the Michigan Career & Technical Institute.

Graduates of the program earn certifications in culinary arts and ServSafe, a food safety and protection program that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute-Conference for Food Protection. Those certifications enable them to work at Walnut & Park and other restaurants or venues in the hospitality industry.

Walnut & Park is immediately south of the KPEP Park Street location. It is one of five KPEP residential locations that house a total of about 450 men and women. The others are on Chicago Avenue and on Olmstead Road in Kalamazoo, and in Battle Creek, Benton Harbor and Muskegon.

"The (Michigan) Department of Corrections is moving in the direction of vocational training," DeBoer said. "We're taking that to the next level."
On Jan. 9, KPEP started as custodial building maintenance program and has eight people enrolled. It is also working to get a construction program going to help train people for jobs in the construction trades. That hopes to include work with the Kalamazoo County Land Bank, rehabilitating homes and building houses.

Business hours for the coffee shop will be 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The business many be contacted at 269-903-0578.
Read the full article here: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/...op_to_ope.html

Last edited by deja vu; Mar 19, 2017 at 4:57 AM.
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Old Posted Mar 16, 2017, 1:58 AM
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2017_03_15 Walking Tour

I took a brief walk after work today to try and capture some recent development. Because it was so bitterly cold, it quickly turned into more of a driving tour than a walking tour. Anyway, below are some photos of current projects under construction in Kalamazoo and Portage, along with a few recently-completed projects. While walking and driving, I saw several projects that I forgot to include in the original project rundown, so I will be updating that shortly.

Please forgive the low image quality; I took these photos on my iPhone 4, and it was getting near dusk, and I was in motion for most of them. But, enough excuses!

The Foundry
600 E. Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo
(Phase 1, Under Construction)



Front View



Back View


The People's Food Co-op of Kalamazoo
507 Harrison St, Kalamazoo
(Opened 2011)





Old Douglass Community Center Building
NW corner of N. Pitcher and E. Ransom Streets, Kalamazoo

Not development, but hopefully being restored and repurposed soon.




Here's the same structure, in the 1960s:


Image Source: http://www.migenweb.org/kalamazoo/views.htm


Ministry with Community
440 N. Church St.
(Completed 2016)



Front View



Back View


This wonderful old Art Deco structure is right next door to the mothballed Old Douglass Community Center Building, and across the street from the new Ministry with Community.





New RX Optical Headquarters
S. Park St, Kalamazoo
(Under Construction)











New Family Health Center
Alcott St. - Edison Neighborhood, Kalamazoo
(Under Construction)








Portage Memory Care Living Facility
710 E. Centre Ave, Portage
(Under Construction)



Front View



Back View


Walmart Expansion
8350 Shaver Rd, Portage
(Under Construction)



Building Addition



New Pump Station

Last edited by deja vu; Mar 16, 2017 at 4:15 AM.
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Old Posted Mar 16, 2017, 2:45 AM
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Kalamazoo is perhaps just a tad more exciting than Battle Creek. But looking at those pics--typical Michigan.
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Old Posted Mar 16, 2017, 4:13 AM
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Updates have been made to the list of active projects at the top of this thread. Updates include:

New project listing & information for:
  • The Foundry - Phase 1
  • New Family Health Center Clinic
  • New RX Optical Headquarters Building

Additionally, all photos have been resized for consistency, and several more photos of active projects have been added.
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Old Posted Mar 16, 2017, 4:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Kalamazoo is perhaps just a tad more exciting than Battle Creek. But looking at those pics--typical Michigan.
Battle Creek...I need to explore there more. For being so close to each other, I feel like the two cities have very different characters. I thought about including Battle Creek in this new development thread, but then I thought it might be too much, at least to start with...

There is some bland infill around here, to be sure, but on the whole, it is exciting to see Kalamazoo's downtown slowly becoming denser, while lots of fringe areas (including several brownfield sites) are seeing renewed efforts at revitalization.
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Old Posted Mar 17, 2017, 10:12 PM
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Updated Project Rundown

I've updated the project rundown to include some more recently completed development. Because this forum is less than one week old, it wasn't around to capture all of these great projects when they were being built. That said, since they are part of the bigger story of development that has been happening here in recent years, I'm including them here for the record.

Completed projects that have been added are as listed below. Scroll to the top post to see images and more info for each. Much more to come.
  • Arcadia Brewing Company / Arcadia Ales
  • Borgess Brain and Spine Institute
  • Bronson Advanced Radiology - Diagnostics Lab and Imaging Center
  • Bronson Commons - New Post-Acute Care Facility
  • Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan - Glowing Embers Council Program & Training Center
  • HARK Orchids, L.P. New Company Headquarters
  • KVCC / Bronson Healthy Living Campus - Food Innovation Building
  • Linden Grove Middle School - Kalamazoo Public Schools
  • Midlink Business Park - a massive business park conversion with over 1.6 million of SF in just two buildings
  • Miller Canfield New Office Building
  • Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes Benz Dealership
  • Stryker Corporate Headquarters
  • Stryker Instruments - Renovations to (2) of its buildings
  • Washington Writers’ Academy - Kalamazoo Public Schools
  • Western Michigan University - Richmond Center for Visual Arts
  • Western Michigan University - Valley Dining Center
  • Western Michigan University - Western View Apartments
  • Western Michigan University - WMed Innovation Center
  • 750 Trade Centre
  • 950 Trade Centre

Last edited by deja vu; Mar 18, 2017 at 3:55 AM.
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Old Posted Mar 18, 2017, 4:01 AM
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Stryker Instruments wins tax break from Portage for $154 million development
By Tom Haroldson | Special to MLive
March 15, 2017

Quote:
PORTAGE, MI - Stryker Instruments has won a Portage tax break for its proposed $154 million research and development facility, and could begin construction in May with a completion anticipated by August 2019.
 
The Public Act 198 tax break for the 485,000 square foot facility at 6520 Portage Road was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Portage City Council. The company expects to retain 966 jobs and create an additional 105.

The last hurdle for Stryker with the project is a height variance request before the Portage Planning Commission Thursday night. If approved by the commission, the council will consider it at its March 28 meeting.

Stryker requested the 50 percent tax break on the $154 million project, though the company has said the total investment will be more than $224 million. The tax break request is for 12 years on real property for six years on personal property.

The discount will begin in 2019 when the facility is nearly completed so that the company can see its full value as opposed to starting it this year when construction is just beginning.

Brent Lalomia, Stryker Instruments vice president of quality and facilities, thanked the city for its cooperation in making the project happen and for the tax break.

"We appreciate all the support," Lalomia said. "We're excited about it."

Portage Mayor Pete Strazdas thanked the company again for expanding in Portage, calling it a win for not just Portage but the entire region.

"Not every day do we have a facility of this magnitude happening in our community," Strazdas said. "We are increasing the tax base, it's a major expansion of a facility and there are a lot of quality jobs."

The development will be on 79 acres of the 288-acre site, in the southeast corner of the property bounded by Milham Avenue, Portage Road, Ramona Lane and Lovers Lane.

While there are gains to a tax break, there are also losses. A city analysis of the project's impact on taxes shows that, for Portage, the 12-year tax break will cost the city $3.3 million in general fund taxes, but will gain $5.7 million in revenue along with providing community economic benefits of more than $8.3 million.

All taxing units will lose tax revenue from the Stryker project as a result of the tax break. Portage tops that list with a total loss of $4.5 million followed by Kalamazoo County at $2.9 million, KRESA $2.5 million, KVCC $1.1 million and the Portage District Library $587,781.

Portage Public Schools revenue is subject to 1994-94 school aid legislation and is largely provided by the state, so the district will not lose funding with the tax break.

After the project is completed, Stryker Instruments will retain 966 employees who will be relocated from five separate facilities in the city at 4100 E. Milham, 6201 S. Sprinkle, 6300 S. Sprinkle, 1901 Romence Road and 6901 Portage Road. Other than 6901 Portage Road, the four other facilities will be used for either manufacturing or commercial operations associated with Stryker Instruments.

The 105 new jobs will have an average salary of $68,000 a year and will be created within two years of the facility completion.
Link to the full article
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Old Posted Mar 19, 2017, 2:27 PM
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Jack White bought George Nelson’s Kalamazoo midcentury time capsule

Not exactly development-related news, but still an interesting story related to architecture. Kalamazoo has a lot of prominent examples of mid-century architecture, including an atypically large amount of Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes. However, I did not know about the George Nelson-designed Kirkpatrick House until I saw this article. At one time, George Nelson was the Director of Design for the Herman Miller furniture company. His studio had a heavy influence on furniture design during the 20th century.

Jack White bought George Nelson’s Kalamazoo midcentury time capsule
The White Stripes rocker paid $60K above the asking price
By Lauren Ro, Curbed
via Realtor, The New Yorker
March 17, 2017











All Images Source: Curbed

Quote:
When this incredibly restored home by George Nelson first came on the market in Kalamazoo, Michigan last summer, we were awed by its beauty and more than a little envious about its eventual owner—especially since the home was offered at a screaming deal of $450,000.

Now we’ve come to learn that the lucky owner of the 1958-built house is none other than Jack White, rock musician extraordinaire, formerly of the White Stripes, and a native of Detroit.

According to an article in a recent issue of The New Yorker, Whitebought the
home above asking for $510,000—sight-unseen. (We like to think he first
peeped the photos on Curbed.) He currently lives in Nashville, where his label Third Man Records is based, and plans to use the 3,500-square-foot Kirkpatrick House as an occasional writing retreat.

As a former upholsterer’s apprentice, White is something of a furniture and
design enthusiast and sees himself as a “custodian” of the property rather than its owner, according to the article.

“I’m a believer in nobody owns anything,” he said. “If you could take care of it and pass it along, it’s good.”

The sale of the home included most of the original Herman Miller furniture,
which presumably White is going to preserve. The rocker recently opened Third Man’s first physical location in Detroit, a vinyl pressing plant.
Read the full article here.
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2017, 7:13 PM
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Kalamazoo Gazette Building - Demolition Progress Update

On a work break this morning, I walked around the site of the ongoing demolition of the former Kalamazoo Gazette building. Lots of activity, and demolition has progressed to the final portion of building to be removed. Ironically, this final area that is being demolished is actually the newest addition to the complex, having opened in 2004. The original building was designed by Albert Kahn and completed in 1925, with two other additions built in 1941 and 1968. Only the 1925 and 1941 portions will remain to be repurposed by Bronson Healthcare Group, as its downtown footprint expands.

All photos below are my own.

View from S. Burdick St:



View from John St:



View from John St:



That tower is not long for this world:



View from NE Corner of E Lovell St. and Henrietta St:



Close-up of Upper Ceiling:



Close-up of tower:



View from NW Corner of E Lovell St. and Henrietta St:
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2017, 7:27 PM
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Kalamazoo Gazette Building - Clock Demolition Photos

Related to the previous post, I found the following photos, which show the process of removing the large clocks that were previously attached to the tower. All photo credit goes to Carly Geraci, at MLive. You can view the original photos, and read the accompanying article, here.




























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Old Posted Mar 23, 2017, 9:21 PM
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WMU East Campus pulled from National Register of Historic Places

WMU East Campus pulled from National Register of Historic Places

A pretty long, but interesting, article was just released, regarding the recent demolition (decimation?) that took place on Prospect Hill, the home of the original campus of Western Michigan University. Originally known as the Western State Normal School. In 2013 - 2014, three historic buildings were demolished (North Hall, West Hall, and the Speech & Hearing Building) and another was greatly altered (East Hall) to prepare for the creation of a new Alumni Center, which opened in 2015 in the remains of East Hall, and which is now referred to as Heritage Hall.

The project was controversial when it happened, and now, the NPS has revoked National Register status for the University's East Campus. This marks the first time ever in the history of the State Historic Preservation Review Board that a physical site visit was conducted by SHPRB to determine whether or not a listed property / area should remain listed after alterations were made. It seems like a blow, but the University's reaction to the news seemed rather nonchalant.

Images below are courtesy of WMU Archives and Regional History Collection, via MLive, unless noted otherwise. The article follows after the images.

East Hall, shortly after it opened in 1905:


East Hall, after the north and south wings were added, in 1908 and 1909:


The WMU Inclined Trolley, to access Prospect Hill from below (I had no idea until now that Kalamazoo had its own incline of sorts, at one time):


Two aerial views of Prospect Hill, showing the early WMU campus:




A similar aerial view from the recent past, when demolition was complete. The partially-demolished East Hall stands alone in the middle of the cleared area:

Image Source: Google Maps

WMU West Hall Demolition, June 2013:

Image Source: Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette, file

WMU Speech and Hearing Building Demolition, July 2013:

Image Source: Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette, file

WMU East Hall Demolition of South Wing, July 2014:



Image Source: Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette, file

Protester's graffiti at the construction site, in September 2014:

Image Source: Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette, file

Heritage Hall Alumni Center / Former East Hall as it looks today:

Image Source: Tower Pinkster


WMU East Campus pulled from National Register of Historic Places
By Malachi Barrett, via MLive
March 22, 2017

Quote:
KALAMAZOO, MI -- What was once called the "Acropolis of Kalamazoo" is no longer deemed worthy of historic recognition after renovations to Western Michigan University's East Campus.

East Hall, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and Western State Normal School Historic District, added in 1990, were stripped of their historic status by the National Park Service, effective March 7.

Rodger Parzyck, a Kalamazoo resident, former member of the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission and owner of The Heritage Company, petitioned in March 2015 to remove the sites' recognition, feeling that renovations from 2013-14 destroyed their historic value. Historic preservation bodies at the local and state level agreed with the decision, supporting the delisting before it reached the National Park Service

"It was such a jewel on the hill and (residents) were so proud of it," said Parzyck, who has lived in Kalamazoo since 1974. "What (I was) trying to do is let them know that after tearing down basically two-thirds of East Campus, and on top of that defacing the open gymnasium and Waldo Stadium, there's not much integrity left."

J. Paul Loether, chief of the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks, agreed in a letter sent to Parzyck dated March 8. The National Register of Historic Places is an official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation in the United States.

"Due to substantial alterations and extensive demolition, East Hall and the Western State Normal School Historic District ... have ceased to meet the criteria for listing in the National Register because the qualities which caused them to be originally listed have been lost or destroyed," the letter reads.

WMU Executive Director of University Relations Cheryl Roland said the university has viewed the designation as a benefit for the community, but remains proud of renovations made use of underutilized buildings in East Campus.

"We are disappointed the community will lose that benefit, but the change really has no significant impact on the University," Roland said in a written statement. "We will always refer to the area and original building as historic East Campus and historic Heritage Hall."

Built between 1904 and 1909, East Hall gained its historical significance through its example of the Georgian Revival style of architecture. Marked by a taste for symmetry and proportion, the style is based on classical architecture of Greece and Rome.

When East Hall was listed on the National Register in 1978, it included an addition built in 1947 that connected a training building, administration building and gymnasium into one 480-foot long structure.

In 2014, two-thirds of East Hall was demolished, including the gymnasium, training school and the 1947 connection. A new west entrance was added to the remaining portion of East Hall, re-named the Heritage Hall alumni center after a $24-million renovation.

Since 1990, the bulk of the Archives and Regional History Collections had been housed in the old gymnasium in East Hall until the documents were moved to the $8.7 million Zhang Legacy Collections Center on the Oakland Drive after it opened in 2013.

"The cumulative impact of this massive demolition and substantial alterations have destroyed the historic integrity of East Hall," Loether said in the letter.
The Western State Normal School Historic district, commonly known as East Campus due to its location, was listed for its significance in education, architecture and landscape architecture from 1903 to 1940. 

It contained 14 buildings when it was listed, 11 of which were deemed historically significant. Only four of the 11 remain unaltered today. West Hall, constructed in 1915, was demolished in 2013. North Hall, constructed in 1924, was razed in 2014. Only a pavilion of the south facade remains. East Hall was reduced in size by two-thirds and significantly altered. The Speech and Hearing Building, built in 1939, was demolished in 2013. The Oakland Gymnasium, built in 1925, had two-thirds of its original building removed in 2001 and was given a large addition. A Printing Services Building, built in 1941 but not considered historic due to its age, was demolished in 2001.  Waldo Stadium, finished in 1939, is also significantly altered.

Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Coordinator Sharon Ferraro said to be listed, properties must represent the history that took place inside them. The buildings need to physically bear a strong resemblance to how they looked back when they were built. 

"What was accomplished here will never be erased, but the buildings are gone," Ferraro said.....
Read the Full Article, and see some pretty great historic photos, here.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2017, 12:08 AM
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Why on earth would they do that?!

Fucking idiots, WMU can go to hell.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2017, 3:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The North One View Post
Why on earth would they do that?!

Fucking idiots, WMU can go to hell.
Someone usually makes the argument that money is a factor - too expensive to maintain, too expensive to repurpose... Or that a structure can't be brought into communion with the expressed future goals of an organization. Those reasons usually sound like half-truths, excuses to explain away the most obvious of conclusions that good buildings and good spaces should be celebrated and preserved whenever possible.

It's fortunate that Kalamazoo has an active historic commission, and from what I know, a pretty good track record at repurposing and preserving historic structures. It's just too bad that this one got away. The original campus really projected the 'city on a hill' aesthetic that so many universities embodied. That cohesive massing of buildings around a central quad is now mainly a parking lot. At least one small part of it remains.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2017, 4:47 AM
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$2M PlazaCorp redevelopment to create 30 jobs in downtown Kalamazoo

$2M PlazaCorp redevelopment to create 30 jobs in downtown Kalamazoo
By Malachi Barrett, via MLive
March 23, 2017

Quote:
KALAMAZOO, MI -- An affiliate of PlazaCorp intends to invest $2 million to redevelop a contaminated manufacturing site in downtown Kalamazoo.

PS 383 LLC bought two parcels at 381 and 383 South Pitcher Street in January 2016. According to county documents, it plans to clean up contaminates at the brownfield site then renovate an existing building to lease to an unnamed automotive performance shop and create office space for up to four tenants.

The redevelopment is anticipated to create 30 new full-time jobs paying $15 an hour and is expected to finish by the end of 2017. It's expected to raise the taxable value of the property from $200,000 to $677,000. 

PlazaCorp bought the 1.82-acre property and 26,526-square-foot commercial building for $350,000 from Gulf Printing Company. A portion of the bottom floor will be used as a showroom for after-market performance vehicle upgrades, while the rest of the building will be renovated into offices.

Built in 1887, the site was the former location of a Checker Cab Manufacturing plant and Superior Color Graphics. Another part of the building was built in 1891, and it was historically used for printing and manufacturing purposes.

Rachael Grover, resource coordinator for the Kalamazoo County Department of Planning and Community Development, said contamination at the site is "extensive."

County documents state a representative of Gulf Printing Co. said water-based inks were used and stored on site in 55-gallon drums. Waste ink was stored in 55-gallon drums stored inside the building. Cleaning solutions and oils were handled similarly.

Chemicals for making plates, developing film and other uses were stored in a chemical shed on the east side of the building or inside the warehouse of the main building. Historic manufacturing operations at the property likely used similar chemicals, but also included bulk oil and coal storage, paints, solvents and bleach.

Soil sampling performed in December 2016 discovered evidence of volatile organic hydrocarbons and high concentrations of other metals. Ground water samples also indicate the presence of similar contaminants.

Lead and asbestos abatement activities are also necessary. Demolition is required to accommodate automotive lift equipment and associated processes and to resurface the parking lot and provide handicap parking spaces.

If approved by the county Board of Commissioners, the Kalamazoo County Brownfield Authority would use tax increment financing to reimburse $545,914 in activities to clean up the site.

Kalamazoo County would capture $186,820 to put into its local brownfield revolving fund for future projects.

A public hearing is scheduled for April 4 during the Board of Commissioners' regular business meeting. Commissioners will hear a brief presentation and public comment on the development before voting on the brownfield plan.

According to assessment records, the site is zoned as general manufacturing, which will not change following redevelopment. It lies east side of the Portage River near the intersection of Gibson Street and South Pitcher Street.

Though it lies within the city of Kalamazoo, the City Commission deferred the project to the county at its Monday, March 20 meeting. In a resolution concurring with the county brownfield plan, the city stated it supports the project for continuing development in the east area of downtown.

A brownfield plan also states the potential for a positive impact on the Edison neighborhood.

There been various outbuildings on the property since it was initially developed, including a coal house, an oil house and a transformer pad. A railroad spur served the existing building on the eastern side since the 1890s until sometime after 1972.

The building has been vacant since August 2015.
The investment by PlazaCorp in repurposing this facility is good news for the area, and yet another example of a brownfield site in Kalamazoo being redeveloped.

Link to the full article here.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2017, 3:26 PM
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Kalamazoo County Population Data for 2016

According to the recently released US Census Data for county-wide population changes between 2010 and 2016, Kalamazoo County faired well. The population increased from 250,331 in 2010 to 261,654 in 2016 - a gain of about 11,323 persons, or about 4.3% growth since 2010. This puts Kalamazoo in with the 35 of 83 Michigan counties that are going against the statewide trend of population decline. It's great news for the area, and a strong indicator of the healthy economy in southwest Michigan.


Image Source: MLive

Another interesting thing that I observed, looking at the above graph portrayal of population change since 1900, Kalamazoo County has not once experienced a decline in population at the county level, for each decade when Census data was recorded. To put it another way, the growth in the county has trended positively for at least the past 116 years of US census data recording. At a glance, I count only four other counties in the entire State that can make this claim.
  • Kent County - home of Grand Rapids (current peak population 642,173)
  • Muskegon County - Home of Muskegon (current peak population 173,408)
  • Oakland County - Detroit Metro area (current peak population 1,243,970)
  • Ottawa County - home of Holland & Grand Haven (current peak population 282,250)
This might not mean much, taken over the course of 100+ years of data, but I find it very interesting that four of the five counties that have never had a population decline when measured by the decade since 1900 are located in western / southwestern Michigan. Oakland County is the only exception.

You can see the charts and data for each county at this MLive article:

How every Michigan county's population has changed over the past 100 years

Last edited by deja vu; May 25, 2017 at 9:45 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2017, 2:07 PM
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New assistant city manager to focus on Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence

It's not every day that the City of Kalamazoo creates a new administrative position in the planning department.


Quote:
New assistant city manager to focus on Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence
By Malachi Barrett, via Mlive
March 21, 2017


Image Source: MLive

KALAMAZOO, MI --  City Manager Jim Ritsema announced meetings focused on Kalamazoo's use of $10 million in donations from local philanthropists, and a new administrative position dedicated to the Foundation for Excellence. 

Commissioners will meet at a 6 p.m. work session on March 27 to discuss ending generational poverty and increasing youth development opportunities with $10 million earmarked for "aspirational projects." Ritsema also announced a meeting at 6 p.m. on April 10 focused on the Foundation for Excellence, which includes a permanent endowment fund the city seeks to use to sustain an initial $70.3 million donation after three years. The April meeting will also discuss projects and programs identified through the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 master planning process.

At a Monday City Commission meeting, Ritsema announced that Community Planning and Development Director Laura Lam will become an assistant city manager specifically focused on the Foundation for Excellence. City Planner Rebekah Kik will take Lam's spot as director of Community Planning and Development.

"They are so dynamic," said Mayor Bobby Hopewell. "(These are) great choices and great leaders.

Lam said the assistant city manager position is one of new full-time positions included the FY 2017 budget. It was originally named "Foundation for Excellence coordinator," and will work with a grant specialist. A job listing for city planner will be made public soon, Kik said. Salary details were not discussed at Monday's meeting. However, Lam earned an annual salary of $88,303 when she was hired as Community Planning and Development Director in 2013.  Deputy City Managers Patsy Moore and Jeff Chamberlain were paid $110,000 when they were promoted the same year. Jerome Kisscorni is also an assistant city manager and economic development director.

In October, the Kalamazoo City Commission approved a memorandum of understanding with local philanthropists William Parfet and William Johnston to supplement the city's budget with private donations. For the first three years, the Foundation for Excellence will be funded through a $70.3 million donation. In addition to replacing revenue lost by lowering the city property tax rate from 19.27 mills to 12 mills, the agreement guarantees $10 million per year for three years for community-building projects. Ritsema, hearing concerns from residents that decisions are being made behind closed doors, stressed that no decisions have been made regarding the investment of the $10 million.

"We are going to have a transparent discussion about how we invest these dollars for the betterment of our community," Ritsema said.

Hopewell agreed, saying that while planning and work conducted by city staff won't happen in public, presentations on their work and the final decision-making process will be conducted in public meetings.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint," he said. "We have a lot of ideas about what will make this community great."
 
You can link to the full article here.
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Old Posted Mar 27, 2017, 1:18 PM
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Oberon Day 2017!

Happy Oberon Day!
March 27, 2017


Image Source: MLive

For those who don't know, today is basically an official holiday in Kalamazoo, marking the release of the 2017 batch of Bell's most popular craft beer - Oberon (as well as the less-official start of spring around here). Tapping parties began at midnight around the city, state, and even other parts of the country / globe. The tapping at Bell's Eccentric Café, the center of the Bell's universe, was a few minutes ago, at 9:00AM, EST (which is where many of my less responsible but certainly happier coworkers are right now).

To compliment your Oberon, you can always stop by Sweetwater's Donut Mill, open 24/7, and grab an Oberon-Inspired donut. They frankly look gross to me, but I've never tried one, so I shouldn't judge.


Image: Oberon Donuts, at Sweetwaters Donut Mill
Image Source: John Gonzalez, via Twitter

If you're wondering how this is at all development related, Bell's has invested tens of millions of dollars into both its downtown location and its main brewing facilities in nearby Comstock in recent years, and has basically had everything to do with catalyzing the craft beer movement in this region.
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