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  #261  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 9:01 AM
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135 units is a big deal for downtown Kalamazoo. I was shocked when I saw it on MLive. I really like that they are requesting a variance for the ground-floor residential units. I'm a big mixed-use fan, but I've seen too many times in developments were they put in so much ground floor commercial space it never gets filled which always gives the vibe of these developments as being unfinished.
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  #262  
Old Posted May 19, 2018, 1:32 AM
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135 units is a big deal for downtown Kalamazoo. I was shocked when I saw it on MLive. I really like that they are requesting a variance for the ground-floor residential units. I'm a big mixed-use fan, but I've seen too many times in developments were they put in so much ground floor commercial space it never gets filled which always gives the vibe of these developments as being unfinished.
Exactly my thoughts. I knew that the City had their eye on getting it developed, but didn't know something had been in the planning stages for so long. AVB and Hinman really kept it under wraps until they got most of their ducks in a row. There are some spots where it does not make sense for ground floor residential downtown. But I think with this location, it is a good link to the more residential Vine neighborhood. There is some light ground-floor commercial (with apartments above) across from this site, and an adjacent church.
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  #263  
Old Posted May 19, 2018, 1:38 AM
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Thank you very much deja vu!

Seabee1526, I'd love to go to the Air Zoo. I've never been but always wanted to. I'll be on my way to Chicago though and probably won't have more than an hour or two around Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.
Hey I'll be in Chicago this weekend too! Only Saturday - I have a gig that I'll be performing in downtown.

Air Zoo is really worth the admission if you've never been. But you need a few hours to do it right. I especially enjoyed going over to the older portion of the museum, which is a separate building on the edge of the airport's property, that you can drive to from the newer facilities. That older building is less organized, less crowded with people, and more interesting, imo. It's like exploring an old attic filled with decades worth of hidden treasures. Except that those treasures are old engines and WWII-era airplanes just strewn about. There's usually a restoration or two happening that you can peak in on too.
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  #264  
Old Posted May 20, 2018, 1:01 AM
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Well...Damn! Apparently this project has quietly been in the works for three years. This will fill in a nice gap downtown (google streetview). This would be within the proposed two-block "neighborhood enterprise zone", which was recently pitched by the city. The property deal is contingent upon the creation of this zone. With the nearby four-story structure at 251 E Lovell Ave. coming down, I'd say this is a fair trade.
Adding 135 apartments downtown will be great. From the rendering the building looks a bit flat. It would be nice if they made the corner a bit taller to help it stand out. The rooftop deck is a nice touch though!
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  #265  
Old Posted May 24, 2018, 4:10 PM
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Demo progress from yesterday for 251 E. Lovell -

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  #266  
Old Posted May 24, 2018, 4:27 PM
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These articles are from a few days ago.

The first talks about the state's recent purchase of brownfield land off of E Alcott Street, near the soon-to-be finished new home for the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department. This whole stretch is becoming quite the public health campus. Right next door is the recently-finished Family Health Center and the Kalamazoo Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services building. I only wish that there was a more cohesive effort to somehow unite the aesthetics of these four entirely different buildings.

Quote:
Michigan health department buys contaminated site for Kalamazoo office
Malachi Barrett | MLive
May 18, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Health services will be closer for residents of Kalamazoo's Edison neighborhood with the purchase of a site for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offices. The city of Kalamazoo's Brownfield Redevelopment Authority on Thursday, May 17, decided to sell two empty parcels at 409 and 427 E. Alcott St. to build a two-story, 70,000-square-foot building. The division of state government bought the property for $280,000, with an additional $400,000 guaranteed during the next 20 years. Terri Fitzpatrick, Boji Group's chief executive officer, delivered a presentation on the planned DHHS offices to city officials Thursday morning. A 14-month construction schedule is expected to begin in September, if the state legislature approves a lease agreement by July...

Source: MLive

This second article discusses the planned south neighborhood developments at WMU. No designs or renderings have been released yet, but the $45 million price tag is further evidence that we should be expecting something significant for the proposed new housing. Pre-demolition activities have begun for the old WW2-era bunker dorms.

Quote:
New WMU student housing project expected to cost $45M
Kayla Miller | MLive
May 18, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- A new student housing development at Western Michigan University is expected to cost $45 million, according to a press release from the design firm hired for the project. Living/learning style housing will replace the Elmwood Apartments along Stadium Drive, which are scheduled for demolition beginning May 29, university representative Cheryl Roland said. Design activities will begin immediately, and students are expected to move in August 2020, according to a news release from design firm Stantec. This is an "aggressive" but doable timeline, said Travis Sage, the senior project manager for Stantec. Designs have not been finalized, but the structure's visibility from Stadium Drive will be a driving motivator in their creation...
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  #267  
Old Posted May 24, 2018, 4:30 PM
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In other news, ground was officially broken for the new Portage Central MS yesterday. This will be a three-story structure.

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Portage Public Schools breaks ground on Central construction projects
Brad Devereaux | MLive
May 23, 2018

PORTAGE, MI -- Portage school board members and officials took the first scoops of dirt from the ground where much more dirt will be moved as part of construction projects to modernize the district. With work already under way on a new Portage Central natatorium, a groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday, May 23, to mark the start of other projects at the location adjacent to Portage Central High School at 8135 S. Westnedge...
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  #268  
Old Posted May 26, 2018, 12:01 AM
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Here is a somewhat unique perspective of The Exchange (screen shot taken from the below news story, which also talks about the recently announced 135-unit apartment project at the corner of Lovell and Rose). The video footage is from the top of Peregrine Tower, which is a higher perspective than I can get.


Source: WWMT

Quote:
Proposed Kalamazoo development to bring more residents downtown
Michael Krafcik | WWMT
May 18, 2018

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A new downtown development project has been announced in Kalamazoo, and it's expected to bring in hundreds of new residents. The project joins several other proposed developments currently in the works. AVB Inc., a Portage based developer, is planning to build a $24.2 million mixed-use development on the corner of West Lovell Street and South Rose Street. Developers expect construction to being in fall 2018 and be completed in winter 2019...
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  #269  
Old Posted May 31, 2018, 2:25 AM
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Mobilization is already underway for the 7-story Catalyst mixed-use development downtown. Equipment began showing up on site yesterday, and the crane that will be used for boring activities was assembled today. A small perimeter fence also went up today, which I expect will expand in perimeter as work gets going.

Photos from Tuesday, 5/29/18




Photos from Wednesday, 5/30/18


(The Exchange crane in the distance, the pile boring rig in the foreground)
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  #270  
Old Posted May 31, 2018, 2:38 AM
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This article explains more about what's going on with the demolition of 251 E Lovell Ave. Owned by Bronson, this vacant research lab will be entirely demolished and the site will become green space until Bronson decides what to do with it. The article also gives a hint at the timeline for the new Bronson consolidated labs project, which will be adjacent to the old Kahn-designed Gazette Building on S. Burdick. Construction for that could begin this Fall. It sounds certain that this new lab will be entirely separate from the historic 1920's Kahn structure, and that there still is not a definitive plan for what will be done with that building, which is currently being stabilized.

Quote:
Bronson demolishing former Upjohn research building in Kalamazoo
Malachi Barrett | MLive
May 30, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- A long-vacant former medical research facility is being demolished in downtown Kalamazoo to make room for future use by Bronson Healthcare Group. Bronson purchased 160,000-square-foot building from MPI Research Inc. in 2016 for $2 million, according to Kalamazoo County records. "Building 126" was constructed in 1967 by the Upjohn Company as part of its downtown campus...
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  #271  
Old Posted May 31, 2018, 8:34 AM
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I don't know how I missed the Catalyst, but went back and saw the renderings two pages back. That's some fairly exciting architecture, and at seven stories will make for quite a solid piece of mid-rise infill.

BTW, which intersection is generally considered the "center" of downtown Kalamazoo, or does it not have one? Is activity layed out along the mall, or more so Michigan?
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  #272  
Old Posted May 31, 2018, 3:52 PM
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Great to see Kalamazoo's surface parking lots being developed.
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  #273  
Old Posted May 31, 2018, 5:18 PM
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Originally Posted by LMich View Post
I don't know how I missed the Catalyst, but went back and saw the renderings two pages back. That's some fairly exciting architecture, and at seven stories will make for quite a solid piece of mid-rise infill.

BTW, which intersection is generally considered the "center" of downtown Kalamazoo, or does it not have one? Is activity layed out along the mall, or more so Michigan?
I think the intersection of Rose Street and Michigan Ave. is generally considered the focal point, although I would say that an equal argument could be made for where the Mall intersects Michigan Ave. A study was conducted in the recent past that determined that the Rose / Michigan intersection is the most highly-trafficked pedestrian node in the City / County. Having the Radisson and the Courthouse at this node is a big factor in that. That said, I would say there is still more general pedestrian-oriented businesses and restaurants along the Mall, but more and more has been coming to Michigan Ave. (and even Kalamazoo Ave. - to a lesser extent) recently.

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Great to see Kalamazoo's surface parking lots being developed.
Agreed!
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  #274  
Old Posted Jun 1, 2018, 8:06 PM
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From yesterday:





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  #275  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2018, 2:14 AM
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Western has begun demolishing the Elmwood Apartment complex, in preparation for the future Stantec-designed housing development. Bierlein is the demo contractor (they're just tearing it up all over the city right now). Really hoping for something stellar to come out of Stantec for the replacement housing.

Quote:
Tear down of Elmwood Apartments begins at Western Michigan
Kayla Miller | MLive
June 01, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The first of 16 Elmwood Apartments was torn down Thursday at Western Michigan University. Demolition of the apartments was slated for spring when President Edward Montgomery made plans to transform the part of campus seen from Stadium Drive, or what the university is calling the "South Neighborhood."...
Footage from MLive, taken yesterday:

Video Link


The first of 16 apartment buildings comes down on Thursday, 5/31/18 -


Abatement is ongoing at other structures prior to full demo -


Check out all the AC units (set aside for hazardous materials / freon disposal) -

Source: MLive | Rebekah Welch
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  #276  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2018, 2:46 AM
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Pretty busy week for development news! Significant upgrades are coming to two prominent senior living communities in the Edison neighborhood.

Quote:
Major, dual investments totaling $66M seek to transform Kalamazoo neighborhood
Cody Combs | WWMT News Channel 3
June 01, 2018

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A well-known building and an iconic Kalamazoo neighborhood are about to get a face lift. CSI Support and Development, a nonprofit senior housing firm, announced Friday that it would invest $300,000 to upgrade Washington Square, its senior housing co-op facility in Kalamazoo. And that's just the beginning. The investment is the first step in a $6 million renovation plan that includes exterior upgrades and a new name for the building...Accompanying CSI's announcement, managers of Heritage Community of Kalamazoo, the area’s only locally owned and operated nonprofit senior living community, said it too is investing in its facilities, through a 10-year, $60 million plan based in ensuring that all seniors in the city have quality, affordable housing options...
This is a rendering of the renovated Washington Square Co-Op. Before I clicked on the full story, I almost thought I was seeing a new 14-story tower proposal. I have to say that the upgraded exterior, while better than what is there now, is not super-exciting. It looks like just painting over the existing metal panels, in-between the windows. But the fact that they are planning on doing so much more than just a facade overhaul is good -


Source: WWMT | Courtesy CSI

An older MLive photo shows what it looks like currently:

Source: MLive | Scott Harmsen

Last edited by deja vu; Jun 2, 2018 at 3:06 AM.
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  #277  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2018, 11:54 PM
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Every year, the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission presents several awards to projects / organizations that promote historic preservation in the city. This years winners were celebrated a few weeks ago. There were seven winners total - 3 residential projects, 3 commercial / institutional projects, and one organization / developer. You can read more on the details of each project at the link below.

1. Charles and Susan Crandall House, 716 Minor Avenue -

Source: MLive

2. 1304 Merrill Street -

Source: MLive

3. George and Ella Reed House, 928 South Rose Street -

Source: MLive

4. J.W. Bosman Building, 627 South Burdick Street -

Source: MLive

5. Civic Theatre Auditorium, 329 South Park Street -

Source: MLive

6. Park Club, 219 West South Street -

Source: MLive

7. Plazacorp - A local developer - recognized for the revitalization of six historic buildings, including the Shakespeare, United, Speareflex, Gibson factory, and Illinois Envelope Buildings -

Gibson / Heritage Guitar Factory -

Source: My own photo

Illinois Envelope Building -

Source: My own photo
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  #278  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2018, 6:48 AM
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I didn’t even realize Kalamazoo had its own thread. Great to see. As always, thanks for the updates.
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  #279  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2018, 11:30 PM
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I didn’t even realize Kalamazoo had its own thread. Great to see. As always, thanks for the updates.
Thanks! And welcome to this humble little corner of SSP. If you take the three tallest buildings in Kalamazoo that are under construction / soon to break ground, we are still only at 26 stories total height!

But hey, there really is quite a bit happening here for a lesser-tier city, and I enjoy providing the updates. You won't find any adrenaline-inducing skyscraper updates here, but it seems like at least a few enjoy reading and contributing about the numerous urban developments that steadily keep coming.
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  #280  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2018, 11:52 PM
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I've always liked Kalamazoo. Its history, having the two colleges there, its proximity to GR and Chicago, and being on the 2 Amtrak lines have done good things for it I think.

A friend of mine with whom I worked in urban revitalization programs at the state recently bought a house in Kalamazoo and she loves it, especially compared to Lansing. I always thought if I would have stayed in Michigan it would've been on my short list as well.
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