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  #361  
Old Posted Oct 31, 2018, 6:35 PM
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Big day at the Catalyst / 180 E Water St. development site. The pile auger is coming down, and the tower crane base has arrived on site. Crews continue to go gangbusters on formwork and concrete. I think we will see two tower cranes on Kalamazoo's skyline shortly and for a brief while, which is a fairly major accomplishment for this city.





I suspect that this is the formwork for the foundation to support the crane -






These photos are from last Friday -












Also, just a stone's throw away from this site, 151 E Michigan Ave. has some new banner signage and two guys outside doing some measuring (not sure if it was related or a coincidence, because there's been a ton of work at street level all along this stretch all year). If nothing else, it looks like the property manager (Treystar) is getting more aggressive about marketing this beautiful building, which has been largely vacant for a long time. Right behind this building is the catalyst site.

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  #362  
Old Posted Oct 31, 2018, 6:52 PM
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Two other items of note, in recent news.

Quote:
Vicksburg gives green light to $60M paper mill redevelopment
Malachi Barrett | MLive
October 30, 2018

VICKSBURG, MI -- An ambitious $60 million plan to transform a long-vacant mill complex into a sprawling entertainment and residential development is moving forward. Vicksburg native Chris Moore and Paper City Development LLC. are planning multiple breweries and taprooms, indoor and outdoor event venues, restaurants, offices and residential space at the former Lee Paper Mill off E W Avenue. Monday, the Vicksburg Village Council voted unanimously to approve the developer's application for a relaxed zoning designation that allows more flexible uses on large properties. The $60 million project would be completed in four phases during the next six years. Individual site plans will need to be approved by the Village Council...
Included in this news report is (a) the headline-indicated increase of $10 million, compared to previous stories that mentioned $50 million (inflation? increased scope?), and (b) a new site plan (well, new to me anyway) that reflects some changes, like expanded parking to the north and a second drive from the south - likely determined necessary by preliminary zoning and / or market analysis. There's also some more small outbuildings and a paved clearing to the far north. It's tough to read the text at this resolution - but I think that those are a bus drop-off area, a building maintenance facility, and an equipment shed.

Source: MLive | Courtesy Paper City Development LLC

Compare to the earlier version -

Source: My own photo

Quote:
Tribe-owned architecture, engineering firm moving to downtown Kalamazoo
Brad Devereaux | MLive
October 25, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering, a tribe-owned architecture and engineering company, has announced it will move its headquarters to The Foundry in downtown Kalamazoo. The relocation will accommodate Seven Generations A+E's expansion and will help to increase productivity, efficiency and client service, the company said in a news release. For four years, the firm has been located in the Business Technology and Research Park on Western Michigan University's Parkview Campus, also home to the university's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The planned date for moving is Dec. 1, 2018, the company said...
Somewhat ironic to me is the fact that this firm will move into a practically brand-new space designed by another local firm. But that's also encouraging in a way, because I think it demonstrates on some level a mutual respect between Architecture firms, which are generally notorious for wanting to demonstrate their core design values by designing their own workplace environments. That said, from the renderings, it does look like 7Gen will customize this to fit their particular style.






Source: MLive | Courtesy | Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering

Counting 7Gen's announced move and Wightman & Associates planned relocation to downtown from Portage, this puts the number of downtown, or near-downtown Architecture firms around 10. And I'm talking within just a square mile or two, and also excluding the dozen-or-so sole practitioner studios and small-to-medium-sized firms in surrounding areas like Portage and the townships. That's pretty significant, and I think, in-part, yet another sign of how healthy (and competitive) the A&E industry area is right now.
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  #363  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2018, 4:19 PM
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Tracking a mix of things right now.

First, some renderings and new information have been made public about the next NOMI development on the Northside / "River's Edge" District. As usual, this MLive article is a little chaotic, but if you weed through it, it does include a lot of info about the planned development.

Quote:
Low-income housing development planned on Kalamazoo's north side
Malachi Barrett | MLive
October 31, 2018
Boiled down to the key points:
  • NoMi Developers LLC. purchased three lots from the BRA in September for $130,000 (525 and 535 E. Ransom St. and 617 Harrison St.).
  • The city approved tax breaks contingent on the project securing low-income housing tax credits and mortgage financing through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
  • Will be 4 stories, 51,000 SF total, with two food-related businesses (5,000 SF sub-total) and 80 residential units.
  • Will be called Harrison Circle Building (it is next to the new roundabout)
  • About 45 units will be affordable. Twenty units will be set aside for workforce housing. And 15 units will be listed at market rate. All but four of the 80 planned units will be single-bedroom apartments.
  • $13 million - $15 million cost.
  • Construction is expected to begin June 2019.
  • Plans include a new Metro bus stop, a sheltered bicycle repair space, bicycle parking and $10,000 in improvements to adjacent Harrison Park. There might also be a solar array on the roof.

This development is separate from another one that might be coming along in the area, as proposed by East Lansing-based River Caddis Development Corp. That development could potentially be quite large, including 120 residential units and 12,500 SF commercial space across 5 or 6 buildings at 508 Harrison St. (site of the former Tank & Silo Co. factory).

Quote:
...River Caddis...Plans call for a 7,500-square-foot commercial building at 508 Harrison St., with three residential buildings. Two would have 42 units and the third would have 30 units. A fifth building would have ground-level office space and six town house apartments on the second floor. A second phase of construction would add 5,000 square feet of leasable space in a sixth building.
I made this map last year showing the active parcels offered up for development by the BRA in this area. NOMI now has a concrete plan for 525 E. Ransom St. and 617 Harrison St., and have also grabbed 535 E. Ransom, immediately to the west of the highlighted parcel. The 5-acre parcel east of this would be the River Caddis development.



I'm glad to see that they are getting this building as close to the street as is likely permitted by zoning. You can also tell that there is some covered parking on the first floor level, which is fairly well-masked from the public side.














Source: MLive | Courtesy NOMI
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  #364  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2018, 4:44 PM
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Second, the downtown Biggby Coffee (located at 121 E. Michigan Ave.) has just closed its doors. Citing lower-than-expected profitability, they are announcing a relocation to the former Hoekstra's Hardware Store building, which is located near the corner of Crosstown and Portage St. This is surprising in a sense, because it is a run-down, industrial area with many abandoned buildings and almost zero foot traffic. On the other hand, it is a large, 2-story + basement structure about 25,000 SF total, with plenty of room for free on-site parking and a drive through (both of which the downtown location suffered for a lack of). It is also located along one of the primary commuter routes for folks who travel to / from downtown for work each day.

The city has been trying to revamp this area for years. Hoesktra's closing several years back was literally the end of an era - the company was in business for 149 years! Oft considered the longest-running retail business in the city, it was basically the Lowe's / Home Depot of the city, serving the burgeoning post-war neighborhoods surrounding downtown. Hopefully it's relocation here triggers more development, and helps play a role in connecting downtown further south to the Edison Neighborhood, where lots of effort has been concentrated to revamp that small business district centered around Washington Square.

Quote:
Biggby Coffee Closes Up Shop in Downtown Kalamazoo
Dave Benson | WKFR 103.3
November 1, 2018

The East Michigan location was a part of the redevelopment of that block of Michigan Ave. At best, it has been only marginally successful. The proposed new location mentioned in the post is another that city planners and developers are trying to bring back to life, so far with little success. It was two years ago that historic Hoekstra Tru-Value Hardware shut it's doors.
From a Biggby Facebook Post:

Quote:
Thank you so much for your patronage. We will be closing our doors for business at this location on November 1st. We will be relocating to the corner of Crosstown and Portage Rd in Spring/Summer of 2019. This new location will have a Drive-thru and dedicated free parking. Please keep a look out for our grand reopening. We sincerely apologize to all of the regulars that found a home in this location and look forward to rekindling the relationship with you all down the road!
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  #365  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2018, 4:57 PM
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Third, another photo update on 180 E. Water St. Yesterday, the tower crane base was positioned. Today, formwork and reinforcing steel is being set around the base. It looks like they might be getting ready to pour this afternoon, over the weekend, or Monday. Also watched the pile auger get disassembled and hauled off-site this morning.

From yesterday, 11/1 -






From this morning, 11/2 -




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  #366  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2018, 5:13 PM
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Fourth, relatively big changes are coming for the Kalamazoo Metro public transit system, in the form of reworked bus stops. Many will be removed, some will be added, and some more will be relocated New accessibility upgrades, amenities, and signage, as well as a new WMU Transportation Hub (which would be a standalone project) are also included in the plan.

Quote:
Nearly 200 Kalamazoo Metro bus stops to close, 90 added under plan
Malachi Barrett | MLive
October 29, 2018

...Kalamazoo Metro's governing body accepted a plan to change the location of bus stops and improve accessibility throughout the county. A draft proposal finished in October shows plans to reduce the total number of stops by 16 percent, removing around 196 while adding 88 and relocating 54. The transit system has almost 770 stops along 19 routes serving the cities of Kalamazoo, Portage and Parchment, and the townships of Comstock, Kalamazoo, Oshtemo and Texas. As new stops were added to the system over time, it reduced efficiency and speed of the service, said Sean McBride, executive director of the Central County Transportation Authority. Recommendations in a 66-page report will guide changes during the next five years. Overall, the undertaking is expected to cost $921,800...
You can read the entire report here.
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  #367  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2018, 6:15 PM
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Seeing that tower crane going up must be exciting.

That apartment building at Ransom and Harrison - even for low-income housing - is unforgiveable with its architecture, though. Nice layout, but they couldn't face it with fake brick panneling or some kind of cheap painted metal or something? That looks like it's going to be bare concrete painted white or stucco.
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  #368  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2018, 9:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMich View Post
Seeing that tower crane going up must be exciting.
Sure is. By the way, they ended up pouring the concrete to anchor the tower crane that same afternoon -





Quote:
Originally Posted by LMich View Post
That apartment building at Ransom and Harrison - even for low-income housing - is unforgiveable with its architecture, though. Nice layout, but they couldn't face it with fake brick panneling or some kind of cheap painted metal or something? That looks like it's going to be bare concrete painted white or stucco.
I agree that the material in the renderings doesn't look great. But they also don't look to be very high quality, final-presentation caliber images. This is probably the best we'll see for renderings, and let's hope that the actual built structure turns out better than these would imply.

In other news, in the rising tide of affordable-housing-related developments in this city, here's a fairly major remodel that may be much-welcomed by some current and future residents.

Quote:
$18 million renovation aims to provide affordable housing in Kalamazoo
Brad Devereaux | MLive
November 2, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- An $18 million renovation is underway to transform the Village of Kalamazoo apartment complex into Lilac Hills. The development aims to provide affordable housing for its tenants, Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Hope Network said in a news release. The organization, which offers a variety of services ranging from housing to behavioral health to transportation, recently purchased the former Housing and Urban Development owned apartment complex through a series of grants. Renovation of the 165-unit complex, located at 4411 Lilac Lane in Kalamazoo, is scheduled to start this month after a ceremony to begin the project in September...
Before (Now):

Source: Daniel Vasta | MLive

After:

Source: MLive

Finally (and this is a little random), I noticed that Kalamazoo College is working on restoring its iconic chapel bell tower. I don't know exactly what's entailed, but there's scaffolding running all the way up. The chapel bells still ring, so I'm guessing the work is more related to exterior restoration - perhaps re-pointing bricks, etc. A few photos I took yesterday, at various zooms - thought it was interesting enough to post -







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  #369  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2018, 10:15 PM
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Lots of activity on Thursday, getting ready for a pretty big pour that happened Friday. You can easily make out where the entrance ramp to the parking deck is going to be now, in the space between the two foundation walls in the first image below -









In other news (and just in time for winter weather), workers at the Peregrine 100 project just wrapped up a heated sidewalk system, which will add to the city's growing network of heated walks. While the city maintains much of the heated system along The Mall, it also encourages private developers to include this in their plans when it makes sense. The Exchange, the above-referenced Catalyst development, and the 4-story AVB development all have plans to include it.

Quote:
Downtown Kalamazoo will stay snow-free with more heated sidewalks
Malachi Barrett | MLive
November 9, 2018

...Heated water is pumped from Kalamazoo's water system into hoses coiled underneath concrete sidewalks from Eleanor to Lovell streets. The city also encourages private developers to include snowmelt sidewalks during construction projects, which has resulted in several other clean walkways around downtown. This week, construction crews put the finishing touches on a new section of snowmelt sidewalks. Peregrine Co. installed the sidewalks on the south block of East Michigan Avenue as part of ongoing redevelopment of a former PNC Bank building...



Source: City of Kalamazoo Facebook Page

Last edited by deja vu; Nov 16, 2018 at 4:48 AM.
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  #370  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2018, 1:44 AM
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I know I've been posting quite a few photos of this project (probably enough to garner a separate thread), but I have such a great vantage point, and it is rather exciting to see this former parking lot transform into a building. As of today, the tower crane is installed. These photos are from the past few days, showing crane assembly and ongoing foundation work. The weather was not very conducive to erecting a crane. Those guys at the top are fearless!





























Loving this dusk view with TWO tower cranes on the skyline!
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  #371  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2018, 8:58 PM
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Well, well, well...



PlazaCorp plans $42M Hilton Garden Inn redevelopment in Kalamazoo

Quote:
KALAMAZOO, MI -- City documents show more details about a planned Hilton Garden Inn coming to downtown Kalamazoo.

PlazaCorp Realty Advisors Inc. plans to invest $42.8 million to redevelop the Rose Street Market building and an adjacent parking lot into two buildings totaling 153,500 square feet. The buildings would include a 118-room boutique hotel and 107-room extended stay Home2 Suites by Hilton, with an indoor pool, office space and an elevated walkway across Eleanor Street.

The project was announced last year, but new details were released in an October by the Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.


Sexy. I'm still a bit confused about what the new construction is and what is existing. I know the Rose Street Market building, but can't picture the rest of the block. Anyway, this reminds me of what they are doing with the Shinola Hotel project in downtown Detroit.
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  #372  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2018, 10:14 PM
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Kalamazoo is booming! The Mlive article is reporting the Home 2 Suites will be built on the parking lot adjacent to the Rose Street Market building. I definitely see the Shinola Hotel resemblance as well.

Thought this was a cool addition to downtown Kzoo:

Retro gaming bar opens Friday in downtown Kalamazoo


Quote:
LFG Gaming Bar, which stands for Liquor, Food, Gaming, opens Friday, Nov. 16, at 116 Portage St. in downtown Kalamazoo, in the space that formerly housed Casa Bolero. The restaurant announced in January it would be closing after eight years of business.

The new bar offers an assortment of retro video games, arcade machines and board games, including seven retro video game consoles like Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64, and another 10 retro arcade games like "Cruis'n World."
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  #373  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2018, 11:16 PM
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This seems to be an interesting trend in bars. Lansing has one called The Grid:


The Grid
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Old Posted Nov 16, 2018, 4:20 AM
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Well you guys beat me to it! I was wondering when PlazaCorp would release more info about the Rose St. Market redevelopment. Glad to see this is still alive! The building in the foreground of the second image LMich posted is what exists today. Everything else behind that would be new. Looks like the new building will consist of a 6 story and 8 story portion, with several different facades. The article is somewhat unclear on whether the 6-story piece would be part of the Home2Suites or the "Boutique Hotel" portion.

What intrigues me is that it almost looks like there are two new skybridges proposed; one jutting south from the new addition, and one east, from the existing building. The east one makes more sense to me; it would connect to the existing Arcadia Parking Deck that PlazaCorp bought from the city last year. But that would cross over Rose Street and the article makes no mention of it. The one that connects south though...that's rather interesting. It would go over Eleanor Street and presumably tie-in to the existing Arcadia Buildings, which contain leasable office space, and which PlazaCorp also owns. I wonder if any of the proposed hotel function might spill over into these buildings, which I think are not leased to full capacity.

I'm a little confused by the wording in the article too, on the point of sequencing. Would they start work on just the boutique hotel (within the existing building) in 2019, and then the separate hotel (the new building) would come after, in 2021? I guess I'm confused by the article title, and this sentence in particular, in the article -

"PlazaCorp is planning $40 million in projects including the addition of residential units, office and retail space and a second hotel in 2021."

So..is the 2nd hotel the Home2Suites (and the first the boutique hotel)? The article title says that the Hilton Garden Inn redevelopment is $42 on its own. Is the Hilton Garden Inn the same thing as the "Boutique Hotel"? And is that different from the Home2Suites? Almost makes it sound like there are 3 different hotels planned, which I think is wrong. MLive generally falls short when it comes to clarity though.

The retro gaming bar sounds cool too (although I think the name sounds dumb). I didn't even notice that Casa Bolero had closed until a few weeks ago. This should do well, near all of the breweries and the downtown AMC theater.

I would die a happy man if there were three tower cranes gracing Kzoo's skyline all at once. But I am sure that the tower crane at The Exchange will come down long before PlazaCorp gets moving on their new hotel building.
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