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  #461  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2019, 10:37 PM
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Does Free College Work? Kalamazoo Offers Some Answers
Jun 28, 2019 at 6:05 AM by Michelle Hackman

Thirteen years after Kalamazoo’s program went into effect, some results are in. College enrollment has risen. Kalamazoo’s economy is stronger.
Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/does-fr...rs-11561741553
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  #462  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2019, 12:36 PM
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^ The Promise has definitely helped this area, especially since they have opened up the tuition reimbursement to be for any higher education school in the state, public or private. Some of my friends have children who constitute the first "graduating" class of this program - in other words, they have gone through all 12 - 13 years in the program and now in their 1st or 2nd year of free college. It seems to have worked well for them, freeing up funds for other things like debt reduction, home investments, vacations, retirement, etc.

But the K-12 system their kids had to go through is definitely not the best, especially the high school program, which still has higher-than-usual instances of truancy, violence, drop-outs, student homelessness, etc. School Choice helps, because folks can pick and choose which school buildings their child(ren) attend(s) within the district, for the most part. But you basically only have two high schools to choose from, and both have been riddled with challenges. The Promise is great, and it definitely attracts and retains people, but it is not a magic button for curing other systemic issues within the district and the city. The more rural districts that surround Kzoo (in particular Portage, Mattawan, and Gull Lake) are all very highly ranked districts in the state, and they compete with each other for families, students, funding, etc. who may otherwise be attracted back to the urban core. These districts tend to be building and refurbishing facilities at a much quicker rate than Kzoo.

Anyway, interesting article. And some quick updates from Friday.

Rose Street Market / Future Hilton Garden Inn - still not much to see, but a perimeter fence is up. I want to find out what the timeline for this redevelopment is, and especially for the adjacent Home 2 Suites, proposed at 8 stories (which would go right in the area that the fence encloses)


100 E Water St / Catalyst






Bronson Cancer Pavilion - foundations and below-grade work moving along.


Bronson Labs Building, aka 400 John St - I like the way this is turning out. Since we haven't seen a public rendering yet, it's been a bit of an unfolding surprise. Judging by that cornice line, they are going for a more traditional style to blend with the downtown mall architecture on the public side.


(from behind)


Masonry brick face going up at 400 Rose. It looks like a thin brick product, but still true masonry / joinery. Still impressed with the speed of this development.








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  #463  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2019, 1:31 PM
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Just a few quick shots of 100 E Water St, which is really starting to feel big. And one shot - of a new project - that involves fitting out the upper two floors of the Jim Gilmore Building with new apartments.











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  #464  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2019, 3:09 PM
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WMU's new south neighborhood dorm centerpiece is coming along. True to one of the stated goals of this campus re-imagining, the structure will have quite a presence from Stadium Drive. The steel frame seen below is roughly 1/2 of the building - there will be a second wing adjacent to the first (left of the current portion, relative to the drive-by perspectives below). Counting the bottom, semi-basement level, this is a 7-story dorm.



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  #465  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2019, 2:59 AM
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Some encouraging news - Portage is considering the logistics that would accompany creating a real downtown, which it lacks. It would be driven by rezoning efforts to increase density and building height limits, particularly along the heavy commercial corridor of S. Westnedge Ave. I've dreamed of this.

Quote:
Forward Focus: Portage community leaders say downtown concept could become a reality
Kirk Mason | WWMT Newschannel 3
July 24, 2019

...The city does not have a downtown. A downtown could be home to mixed-use buildings, that include both businesses and apartments where people live. For this type of change to happen, zoning would have to change in the city, which would need city council approval. It is a concept that...could become a reality sooner than many may think, perhaps within the next 2 years...A re-zoned Portage could allow for more housing that would reach higher into the sky, with more floors...
I doubt 2 years, but I would love to be proven wrong...

And south of Portage, in Vicksburg, big news for the Vicksburg Mill redevelopment. The MEDC just approved a huge brownfield redevelopment package to help fund the work, to the tune of $30 million in tax captures and benefits. So stuff might start picking up steam there.

Quote:
Redevelopment project approved for abandoned Vicksburg mill
Heidi Paxson | WWMT Newschannel 3
July 23, 2019

...The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved a the Transformational Brownfield Plan that authorizes several sources of tax capture in support of the project. The entire package is valued at $30 million. MEDC officials said the Transformational Brownfield Plan program supported the project in an effort to attract businesses, developers and residents to Michigan. Incentives for the project were based on an independent, third-party analysis conducted by the University of Michigan Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Based on the findings, the MSF board approved the $30 million, multilayered incentive package that includes...
The story comes with some updated renderings I have not seen yet. Preliminary work has been ongoing for some time to stabilize, secure, and weather-proof the property, while major funding is secured. Vicksburg is really bucking the trend when it comes to finding new uses for these historic paper mills that once dominated the landscape throughout Kalamazoo and Allegan Counties. Apart from Plainwell, all of the other major mills have been demolished (most recently, Rock Ten Mill in Otsego bit the dust) or remain abandoned (Parchment Mill).








Source: WWMT
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  #466  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 5:11 PM
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Some good news, and some bad news. First, the bad - another historic church structure bites the dust downtown. This is (now, was) a beautiful building. A lot of irony that the arts institute is the one responsible for obliterating it. It was pretty much a given that it would come down, after the city voted in April to block their own historic preservation commission from trying to save it (by making Bronson Park a local historic district). With progress comes destruction, and here's hoping that something meaningful can at least replace it in the near future (and not just another green space / parking lot).

Quote:
Kalamazoo Institute of Art demolishes 106-year old Church of Christ, Scientist building
Jake Berent | WWMT Newschannel 3
July 31, 2019

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Work began Wednesday, July 31, 2019, to demolish the 106-year old Church of Christ, Scientist building in downtown Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts owns the building and land and plans to turn the land into green space while they look at permanent options for the space.











Images Source: WWMT | Jake Berent

Now, the better news - just a stone's throw away from the church demo, the first (and anchor) tenant, Chemical Bank, has opened its doors in The Exchange.

Quote:
First tenant opens the doors for business in the Kalamazoo Exchange Building
Callie Rainey | WWMT Newschannel 3
July 31, 2019

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Chemical Bank was the first tenant to open it's doors in the Kalamazoo Exchange Building on July 31, 2019, but there was still construction left to be done. Many people said they're excited the long-awaited project is almost complete. Since 1993, Kathy Beebe has been baking treats and pouring lattes along the Kalamazoo Mall at Cafe Casa. She said construction has always been a part of the area but she remains positive because of what it means for the future...
Apparently, the first residential tenants are also scheduled to begin move-ins today, while construction wraps up.


Image Source: Facebook | Cailey Rainey

Last edited by deja vu; Aug 2, 2019 at 11:50 AM.
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  #467  
Old Posted Aug 11, 2019, 12:27 PM
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Just a smattering of some local news - much of it transportation and infrastructure related.

1. I-94 will be widened from 2 to 3 lanes in each direction for a remaining portion that runs through Kalamazoo and Portage areas.

Quote:
I-94 in Kalamazoo and Portage to widen from 4 lanes to 6
Lauren Edwards | Fox 17 News
August 2, 2019

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Transportation has announced plans to widen the section of I-94 that runs through Kalamazoo and Portage. Specifically, the lanes between Lovers Lane and Sprinkle Road will widen from four lanes to six lanes.

“There are several interchanges in that short span,” said MDOT spokesman Nick Schirripa. “Lots of daily commuters and lots of commercial traffic. People getting on. People getting off in that capacity in that little section.”

Schirripa said the widening project is a part of a MDOT’s 2020-2024 five-year program. The plans have not been finalized yet but they've been a part of discussions for 25 years. Funding has been their biggest hurdle...
2. Kalamazoo-Battle Creek Int'l Airport will receive $1.5 million FAA funding, out of a $34 million improvements package going toward Michigan airports. Airport officials say that they will put this money towards environmental studies to asses the possibility of expanding its primary commercial runway. It's a ways in the future, but this would potentially open up the possibility of larger planes and more destinations for the small local airport. About $11 million is going to its much larger neighbor about 1 hour north, Gerald R. Ford Int'l in Grand Rapids.

Quote:
Federal Aviation Administration awards $34 million for Michigan airport improvements
Genevieve Grippo | WWMT Newschannel 3
July 31, 2019

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Federal Aviation Administration announced Wednesday that will award $478 million to 232 airports across the country to be used towards infrastructure improvements and serve as the fourth allotment of the more than $3 billion in Airport Improvement Program funding. The Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport is set to receive $1.54 million of the funding, while the FAA awarded $11 million to the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids...
3. The City of Kalamazoo will host a "Downtown Streets Design Meeting" on August 21. MDOT agreed to transfer certain segments of road to local control earlier this year, including portions of Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo Avenue, Westnedge Avenue, Park Street, Riverview Drive, and Stadium Drive. This transfer has 'paved the way' for the city to consider how to redesign these streets in ways that align better with safety, connectivity, and transportation goals. Themeeting on 8/21 is intended to kick-off the planning process. It will be held at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts from 6:30 - 8 p.m.

(Source: City of Kalamazoo Development News BUlletin)


4. WMUK issued a short, but thought-provoking, article about the housing situation in SW Michigan, and how construction of new market-rate, or above-market-rate housing, can have a ripple effect on affordable housing. I'm not fully convinced.

Quote:
Can New Housing Construction Create A "Ripple Effect" And More Affordable Housing?
Gordon Evans | WMUK
August 7, 2019

Upjohn Institute for Employment Research Economist Evan Mast says a proposal for a large new apartment or condominium building could cause debate at a city council or a planning commission meeting. He says one argument from opponents may be “These units aren’t going to do anything for our housing problem, these are expensive.” But Mast says his research on housing shows that developments with above average prices can have “ripple effects” that help make housing affordable...
5. The County's new animal shelter is almost complete. This will be a vast improvement from the previous facility. Its opening will hopefully facilitate the adoption process for families, and reduce the number of euthanized pets each year. I was shocked to read for that a region this small, they euthanized more than 1,100 animal in 2018.

Quote:
Kalamazoo County’s $5M animal service facility on track to open this fall
Lindsay Moor | MLive
August 8, 2019

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The county’s construction of a new animal shelter, a $5 million project, is wrapping up. The county will send out an announcement next month for an open house event where the community can tour the new Animal Services facility, County Administrator Tracie Moored said...
6. And, the Montessori School expansion in Kalamazoo is almost complete.

Quote:
Expansion of The Montessori School in Kalamazoo nearly complete
Kayla Miller | MLive
August 8, 2019

KALAMAZOO, MI -- An expansion of The Montessori School in Kalamazoo is nearly complete, and the public is invited to celebrate its grand opening. The Montessori School expanded into an adjacent building because of increasing enrollment and additional program offerings, according to a press release from The Montessori School...
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  #468  
Old Posted Aug 11, 2019, 3:39 PM
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WTF is wrong with Kalamazoo? Do they just hate all old buildings?
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  #469  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2019, 3:17 PM
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
WTF is wrong with Kalamazoo? Do they just hate all old buildings?
Seems like it, these days.

I read a while ago that Kalamazoo is the smallest city in Michigan with a full-time, fully-staffed Historic Preservation Commission. I don't recall the source, but I think it was credible. But despite continuing to fund this commission, the city commissioners have repeatedly squelched any efforts by these staff to conduct historic surveys and encourage formation of local historic designations, at least in recent memory. Some key examples besides this church are the other church on Bronson Square (302 Academy), the soon-to-be-demolished remainder of the Congregation of St. Joseph Motherhouse and support structures (aka former Nazareth College campus), and the Fountain of the Pioneers. WMU's original East Campus also comes to mind, but the University follows different rules.

It is really disheartening. The ones behind demolishing these structures are institutes of learning, churches, and arts organizations. You'd think all of these groups would be advocates for preserving history. I know that members of the KHPC (Historic Preservation Commission) are disheartened as well; but they are limited in what they can say publicly in opposition to the powers that be. They are fine people who care about the historic urban construct of the city, and they are not on board with the commissioners' decisions. The city commissioners voting to silence their own staff are too cowardly to speak up against any act of destruction that would be misconstrued as too controlling of private or public use of funds.

And it's not even as if these structures are being replaced with higher / better uses. By and large, they are being converted into "green spaces".

Woohoo.
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  #470  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2019, 3:10 PM
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Related to the local widening of I-94 from 4 lanes to 6, MDOT has issued a drawing of the proposed reconstruction of the I-94 / Portage Street interchange. It will drastically change the flow of traffic at this junction, definitely for the better. They are basically going to "Westnedge-ify" this interchange, copying (more or less) what was done at the heavily trafficked Wesdnedge interchange, just one exit further west (Exit #76). Key to the alterations will be dedicated left turn lanes at traffic lights underneath the freeway overpass, thus eliminating some confusing Michigan lefts and complicated signage for getting traffic onto the freeway from Portage and Kilgore. The project will also entail the modification of Kilgore Road and Kilgore Service Road, including the removal of the stretch of Kilgore that currently connects from Portage to the Service Road. It all results in a more functional, more common, and more familiar setup.

This is an exciting, much-needed infrastructure upgrade for this growing area. The project is expected to start in the spring of 2021 and last until the fall of 2022. There's an open house on 8/21. It should be an easy one for MDOT to administer, at least in the sense that their regional office is immediately northwest of the project site, along Kilgore (also shown in the map below).

Quote:
2-year construction project at Portage Street and I-94 interchange to begin in 2021
Andrew Minegar | WWMT Newschannel 3
August 15, 2019

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A major construction project is planned for the Portage Street and Kilgore Road exit on and off Interstate 94, as well as the stretch of freeway from Lover's Lane to Sprinkle Road. The interchange would let traffic headed north and south on Portage Street to get on I-94 with a left turn at a traffic light under the freeway, which is the same configuration used at the Westnedge and I-94 interchange, according to MDOT Spokesman Nick Schirripa...

Source: MDOT
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  #471  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2019, 2:59 PM
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I forgot to post this sooner, but Buddy's Pizza will be coming to Kalamazoo (well, Portage, technically) in 2020. There's lots of good pizza options here already (I think Erbelli's, Sub Station, Bimbos, BC Pizza, and Kazoopy's are my top 5, currently). But after not having had Buddy's in years, I miss it, and am excited for it to be here soon.

Quote:
Second Buddy's Pizza outside of metro Detroit area to open near Kalamazoo
Susan Selasky | Detroit Free Press
August 16, 2019
The other non-metro Detroit location currently is Grand Rapids. The "near Kalamazoo" location will be at 5314 S. Westnedge Ave, a former Old Chicago Pizza location that usually had terrible reviews and recently shuttered. This little area is getting a nice revamp. The next-door Hooters was also recently closed and demolished, and replaced with an Arbor Credit Union branch. OK, so we don't wet our pants about getting a new CU, but nobody lamented losing Hooters.
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  #472  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2019, 6:16 PM
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Happy Labor Day! in celebration of all of the construction, engineering, and architect-ing labor that this area has witnessed recently, here's a big photo update of things happening across Kalamazoo and Portage (taken over the past 2 days).

The Exchange - mostly done, still wrapping up.










New Anchor Tenant Chemical Bank Branch is open on the first floor.


(well, it's closed today...)




We're ready and waiting for the next 15+ story tower to be announced...(yeah right)


Church of Christ, Scientist building is gone, thanks to the premier proponent of Art in the region (Kalamazoo Institute of Arts).


Many locals are not pleased.


Meanwhile, the Park Club looks great. It recently shed most of its scaffolding, from multiple restoration projects.


400 Rose






I don't hate the materials on this one.




The Austin Sill House, which is one of the oldest standing homes in the city. It is supposedly being restored, but no activity in a long while (like, years long).


Lots of activity at the Bronson Labs project though. I like the more classic facade.


It is a sleek compliment to the adjacent Art Deco, Albert Kahn-designed Gazette building.




Though not development related, this deserves a mention. The Norm Carver Gallery closed recently, after its namesake passed away. Norm was an amazing local architect, artist, photographer, and world traveler. The gallery was were he showcased and sold his photographs from extensive travels all over the world. Read about him here.


We will see what takes its place, but Norm will not be forgotten anytime soon.


MOMA (Market On Michigan Ave) had its soft opening Thursday. It was open on Sunday so I stopped in. The owners are really excited to be part of the growing activity downtown. I think that this micro grocery / deli will fare well. The food offerings seemed high quality and reasonably priced. The deli side is where Biggby Coffee used to be, and they took over the adjacent, vacant storefront as well, which is where the main grocery is.








New Honor Credit Union branch going in on the first floor, with remodeled apartment space above.


180 E Water St. is making slower visible progress lately.








This thing is going to have some interesting vantage points. Like from the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, and along Arcadia Creek...


...waaaay down at that small opening at the end...


And a neat angle when traveling east along Water Street.


Nearby, TowerPinster, which is the largest local A&E firm (and responsible for the previous project), is growing and expanding from its second floor office into the first floor (a space long-vacated by a failed Sushi restaurant).




The dual Hilton Hotel Projects are both in-progress. I am glad to see that they are happening in tandem. Hilton Garden Inn will be the remodeled Masonic Temple. Home2Suites will be a new 8 story build, behind / connected to it. Foundations for that have begun, while demo continues in the historic building.












Unfortunately you cannot really see too much through the windows along the public right of ways.


The new 5-story Bronson Cancer Pavilion is still at foundations level, hopefully will start to go vertical soon.




This kinda looks like it will be a new access drive connecting Burdick to John, maybe related to the Cancer Pavilion access.


I almost forgot about the Kalamazoo College Natatorium. It's still mostly just a hole in the ground at this point.


Drive & Shine, along West Main. I originally wasn't paying much attention to it, but for a car wash, this thing is getting huge. Upon closer investigation of other such facilities by this company (based in and around South Bend, Indiana), this place will offer quick lube service, as well as full interior and exterior detailing services.






Spectrum is moving into the mobile cellular market and starting to fit-out retail spaces. This one is near Trader Joes, at The Corner@Drake development.




WMU's Arcadia Flats - now we can see the full scale of it.




New duplex units on the northside. There are three other finished buildings.


The Creamery has begun to "go vertical."






MI Department of Health & Human Services...


...it's whatever.


Not that anyone cares, but the new Holiday Inn Express & Suites is open (at Westgate).


And the still-to-be-completed, regular-ol' Holiday Inn is going up right across the parking lot.




And if you were worried, AVB has much more land still to give, for even more Holiday Inns (but no more TGIF - all that remains is the highway sign).


Moving on to the significant things in Portage. It's been a long while since I checked out the new Stryker HQ. Amazingly, the access roads were mostly unblocked and unguarded today - so I got some quick photos.
















Portage Central Middle School. It echos Portage Northern's new MS, with different materials.










Portage Central's sleek, new McCamley Field




A quick drive-by of the new pavilion at Celery Flats. Appears to be getting lots of use. The outdoor seating in front is a nice touch.

Last edited by deja vu; Sep 3, 2019 at 3:01 AM.
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  #473  
Old Posted Sep 7, 2019, 5:57 PM
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Quote:
Topping-out event, groundbreaking to celebrate two WMU building projects
Paula M. Davis | WMU
September 5, 2019

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—On Tuesday, Sept. 10, a groundbreaking ceremony for Western Michigan University's new student center and dining facility as well as a topping-out celebration for its Arcadia Flats student housing complex will together mark major milestones in the University's Hilltop Village development project...
Quote:
Graphic Packaging seeks tax break for expansion of Kalamazoo mill
Ryan Boldrey | MLive
September 4, 2019

KALAMAZOO, MI — A leading manufacturer of recycled paper and cardboard with deep roots in Kalamazoo has designs on expanding its already large footprint in the community. Graphic Packaging International — which is headquartered just north of Atlanta, Georgia, and has 70-plus facilities worldwide — has been actively buying up plots of land adjacent to its existing plant at 1500 N. Pitcher St. for the past decade. Among the 11 plots it purchased are the former Checker Motors (1923-2009) and Clark Logic properties...
Former Checker Motors Corp. land, where the intended expansion of Graphic Packaging would be built. You can still see the old factory, pre-demolition, from this 2007-era street view.



Source: Joel Bissell | MLive

I found this construction cam for the Kalamazoo College Natatorium - https://video.nest.com/live/WbDG7MS2CF


It's a little old now, but there are some good aerial views of 400 Rose on AVB's website. More like this at the link.


This is old too - from July - but a neat photo nonetheless of construction progress at The Mill at Vicksburg.

Source: Paper City Development

Some (limited) photos are coming out for the Newell Brands Design Center expansion, recently completed in Kalamazoo. I was able to tour this space, but photos were strictly prohibited. They handle a lot of product development and research for many of Newell's iconic brands, including Mr. Coffee, Sharpie, Yankee Candle, and Elmers, to name just a few.





Source: Newell Brands | LinkedIn
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  #474  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2019, 4:16 PM
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Thanks for the updates! Well-appreciated! Given the population and construction activity of this city compared to Los Angeles, shouldn't there be at least 50 more cranes in the air in Los Angeles to keep pace with Kalamazoo?
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  #475  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2019, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by IMBY View Post
Thanks for the updates! Well-appreciated! Given the population and construction activity of this city compared to Los Angeles, shouldn't there be at least 50 more cranes in the air in Los Angeles to keep pace with Kalamazoo?
Haha. That might be the first and last time I ever see Kalamazoo compared to LA, in any capacity. We'll take it as a compliment
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  #476  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 3:15 AM
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Quote:
Ascension Borgess buys first parcel in expanded WMU business park
Kayla Miller | MLive
September 12, 2019

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Ascension Borgess Hospital announced plans to expand its outpatient services on land purchased in the second phase of the Western Michigan University Business, Technology and Research Park. Specific plans to determine exactly what services will be included are being finalized, according to a news release from Ascension Wednesday, Sept. 11. The WMU Board of Trustees approved the sale of the land, an about 8.2-acre parcel, to a different company — Lapeer Development, LLC — for $500,000 at its Wednesday meeting...
WMU Student Center Groundbreaking (there are a lot of suits in this photo that are unsure of how to wield a shovel)

Source: Emil Lippe | MLive

WMU Arcadia Flats Topping-Out

Source: Emil Lippe | MLive


Source: Triangle Associates | LinkedIn

The new Chemical Bank branch downtown recently opened, and it had its official ribbon cutting a few days ago.

Source: Byce & Associates | LinkedIn
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Old Posted Sep 15, 2019, 1:42 PM
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In-between all of the rain these past few days, it cleared up long enough to document some development updates.

Bronson Primary Care - a new medical suites building, adjacent to one of their urgent care buildings - is being framed up.


Something is going on at the east end of Bronson Park.


Forms are being set, for piirs to support...something...


Might this be for relocated statuary from the recently removed fountains?


Not construction, but the Kalamazoo County Building just looked good with how the sunlight was hitting it.


The Exchange has signage now.


The rear build-out of 245 Michigan Ave is complete. This enclosure contains a new elevator, egress stair, and garages, for apartment units above the first floor.


All of Rose Street, north of Water St and Suuth of Kalamazoo Ave. is closed for construction. Presumably this is mostly related to the work at the former Masonic Temple building, as it is being converted into a new Hilton Garden Inn.






The first stair tower is going up, for what will become the new 8-story Hilton Home2 Suites.


It will be immediately west of, and adjoining, the new Hilton Garden Inn.


309 North Burdick St. is undergoing an interior remodel. It used to contain yoga studios, and maybe some other spaces. I don't know what will go in there next.


180 E Water St - some of the fiberglass sheathing is starting to go up, on the first floor. You can start to get a sense of the profiles of the building now, with these sort-of framed portals. Formwork for the fourth floor of the mixed-use portion of this structure is also partly in place.






Honor Credit Union is close to complete.






Not much to see, but the apartment fit-outs on the 2nd and 3rd floor of the former Jm Gilmore Enterprises building is ongoing. I think there will be about 20 units total, added to the downtown housing stock.


400 Rose.


Bronson Labs - masonry approaching the top cornice on the south facade.


Not construction, but just a view of Kalamazoo's tallest - Skyrise Apartments.


And finally, at the new Bronson Cancer Pavilion - what a difference 1 week makes! This was just foundations 7 days ago .Now steel framing is already up past the 3rd floor.


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  #478  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2019, 6:08 AM
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deja vu, did you take those photos last Saturday? I was took some similar photos of the Home2 Suites and Hilton Garden Inn project on Saturday.
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  #479  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2019, 12:42 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 1,408
Quote:
Originally Posted by DetroitSky View Post
deja vu, did you take those photos last Saturday? I was took some similar photos of the Home2 Suites and Hilton Garden Inn project on Saturday.
Yup I did, while walking my dog! We probably were standing in the same spot at different times of day. Were you just passing through Kzoo for the day?

Here's a night shot of the Home2 Suites site, from the top of the Radisson parking deck, along with a view of 180 E Water St. and 2 shots of The Exchange. Taken Tuesday night on my phone.








And a photo from yesterday, of First National Bank's downtown office, which is receiving a major interior and exterior facelift.


And there's an update on the planned expansion of the Kalamazoo Farmers Market. It sounds like this might be gaining some momentum.

Quote:
Kalamazoo Farmers Market getting more vendor space, parking spots under plan
Brad Devereaux | MLive
September 16, 2019

KALAMAZOO, MI — The Kalamazoo Farmers Market is getting more parking spaces and more spots for vendors, under a plan that was presented to the city commission Monday, Sept. 16. The city commission approved a $37,000 purchase of a property and accepted a $500,000 grant during its Monday, Sept. 16, and both items are related to an updated layout and improvements planned for the market. The work at the site on Bank Street near Collins Street is expected to begin in 2020, Kalamazoo Director of Parks & Recreation Sean Fletcher said...
The dark red would be new building.

Source: Joel Bissell | MLive
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  #480  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2019, 1:40 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: West Michigan
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After a troubled few years, Arcadia Brewing officially closed on Wednesday, September 19. The short version is that the owner, Tim Suprise, was behind on mortgage payments and taxes for years. Rather than foreclose, the mortgage was "discharged" (translation - quitclaim deed in lieu of foreclosure) to First National Bank of Michigan, and the back-taxes and fees were paid (only ~$5,000). Now, FNB owns the building, but intends to sell it (and an adjacent parcel - likely for more parking) to a future restaurant owner that is already fitting out the space. The plan is to stop brewing beer and convert to a full-service restaurant. The restaurant is reported to be the second location for "The Grand Woods Lounge" - out of downtown Grand Rapids.

I went here once in the past 5 years. Compared to all of the other local offerings, it was underwhelming enough to never need to return.

This could be perceived as "get out of jail free" card for the former owner, and a bad wrap for the BRA. The BRA is out a cool ~$173K (the outstanding principal balance on a loan), due to circumstances regarding how the original $200K loan was negotiated (the authority was in the third position behind other lenders involved, including the bank, so it was likely never to recoup any loss in the eventuality of a default or foreclosure).

There are two articles below that recap the whole process. Are there any lessons that the city should learn from this?

Quote:
Kalamazoo brownfield authority out $173K after Arcadia Brewing Co. sale
Brad Devereaux | MLive
September 9, 2019
Quote:
Arcadia Brewing stops making beer; will be replaced by new bar, restaurant
Brad Devereaux | MLive
September 19, 2019



Source: MLive | Courtesy Truscott Rossman

Last edited by deja vu; Sep 22, 2019 at 2:09 PM.
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