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  #201  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2018, 9:55 PM
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Stryker HQ, from today. Steel erection continues through the bitter cold, with two separate staging / lay-down areas:















And plenty more steel to go:
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  #202  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2018, 5:47 AM
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It's been a somewhat dull week for development news. I am expecting to see an announcement soon from WMU about who was awarded the design contract for their new dorm plans along Stadium Drive. Also hoping that the BRA will eventually reveal some more information about several parcels in Rivers Edge District that they have been trying to get redeveloped. Until then (or until something else unexpected comes along), most of the news is related to some big box and strip mall developments...

1. Ace Hardware has been announced as one of the first confirmed tenants for the 'Midtown Marketplace' redevelopment, located on the north side of Howard Street, between S. Westnedge Ave. and S. Park St. They are expected to open in May, in a 12,000 SF space. We also know that there will be a 28,000 SF grocery store to anchor the development. The Shina Group, out of Detroit, bought the former Harding's Market property in mid-2015. Other possible (but unconfirmed) tenants include a coffee shop, dry cleaners, fitness center, and / or restaurant. All in all, this is good news for the neighborhood.

2. HomeGoods Inc. has a 'Coming Soon' sign up along Westnedge, in Portage. They will probably be open within a month's time.

My photo, from December:


3. It has been announced that the former Menards building, near Crossroads Mall, will become a Blain's Farm & Fleet store. This company is based out of Wisconsin, where it opertes 38 stores currently. It is expanding into Michigan with this store and a second location in Jackson. They are kind of like Menards / TSC / Home Depot / Lowes all rolled into one. They will be constructing a 30,000 SF automotive center addition to the existing 79,000 SF building, resulting in a total building size of 109,000 SF. It will be interesting to see how they do.

Here's a proposed rendering of the Jackson store, will will occupy a former K-Mart. We can probably expect something similar here:

Source: MLive / Courtesy of Blain's Farm and Fleet

4. The former Family Christian Store at the Westnedge Corners strip mall (NE corner of S. Westnedge Ave. & Kilgore Rd.) is slated to become a fitness center. Family Christian Stores, which until last year was the nation's largest chain of Christian book and merchandise stores, announced it was closing all of its 240 stores across 36 states after filing for bankrupcy in 2015 and after 85 years in business. The entire mall at this high-traffic intersection will be getting a makeover. There was a crane on site today that I'm guessing was probably being utilized to replace rooftop equipment.
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  #203  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2018, 3:29 PM
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^ One more to add to the above list. Work is progressing on the next outbuilding at the Corner @ Drake. This 22,000 SF building will be connected to the recently-opened Trader Joe's, and will house 3-4 additional retailers. AVB has not confirmed any of the tenants yet, but says they are in discussions with three, and that they will be unique to the area. Two of the prospects are restaurants. After this, there is yet another 12,000 SF outbuilding that will be occupied by up to three additional tenants, as well as several restaurant pads yet to be developed.

Quote:
Retail development continues at Stadium Drive and Drake Road
Al Jones | MLive
Updated January 16, 2018; Posted January 15, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI - Construction continues at The Corner@Drake shopping center at Stadium Drive and Drake Road. The first part of approximately 20,000 square feet of additional retail space is under construction adjacent to the new Trader Joe's grocery there off the northwest corner of the intersection...
The space furthest left in the below plan is Trader Joe's:

Source:

Trader Joe's in the background:

Source: Al Jones | MLive
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  #204  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2018, 3:30 PM
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Found another rendering of the Stryker HQ on Allied Mechanical Services' website, which holds the mechanical contract for the job (so of course it features the roof top units more than anything else). I wish this thing could have been taller. Unfortunately, the adjacent airport and city zoning prevented even the possibility of this.


Source: alliedmechanical.com
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  #205  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2018, 3:36 PM
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Portage has started tree removal and site clearing for a new interpretive center at Celery Flats (the centerpiece of its parks system). The work will replace an aging building with a new, 2,300 SF covered pavilion that includes restrooms, private patio, deck overlook, pedestrian plaza, and expanded parking. The work should move quickly; it is expected to be complete this June.

Quote:
Portage's Celery Flats renovations start this week
Tom Haroldson | MLive
January 16, 2018

PORTAGE, MI - Tree removal beginning Wednesday marks the start of redevelopment of the former Celery Flats Interpretive Center this year. The work at the Celery Flats Historical Area, 7328 Garden Lane, will include expansion of the parking area, demolition of the existing building and construction of a new outdoor pavilion...
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  #206  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 3:36 PM
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Kalamazoo Public Schools will ask voters in May to decide on passing the largest bond proposal in the district's history. A 1.25 mil increase would cover the proposed $96.7 million in bond sales. The dollars would go towards numerous facility upgrades throughout the district, including:
  • Roof, boiler, parking lot upgrades, new buses, and equipment ($44.8 million)
  • New technology ($9.6 million)
  • The replacement of Edison Environmental Academy, which is housed in a 1924 school building that will be demolished ($25.7 million)
  • Additions to the district's alternative High School - Phoenix High - new classrooms, restrooms, offices, and gym ($6.4 Million)
  • A new central kitchen facility to serve the district ($5 million)
  • Security Improvements ($4.2 million)
I don't like it when the old schools just get demolished (instead of repurposed) but it is 94 years old and it would probably not attract any developer for a while due to the costs of rehabbing it and the location.

Quote:
Kalamazoo puts largest bond in school district's history on May ballot
Malachi Barrett | MLive
January 26, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI - Voters will be asked to pass the largest bond proposal in the history of Kalamazoo Public Schools. Thursday, the Board of Education unanimously voted to place a bond proposal on the May 8 ballot. If approved by voters living in the district's jurisdiction, the 1.25-mill increase would raise $96.7 million to replace Edison Environmental Science Academy, build additions to Phoenix High School and pay for upkeep and upgrades of facilities in buildings throughout the district. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $62.50 each year. The bonds would be paid off in two 19-year segments, with both being paid off by 2040...
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  #207  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 4:22 PM
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Here's a few highlights from a tour of Consumers Credit Union's new corporate headquarters, taken Wednesday night, 1/24/18:

























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  #208  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 11:44 PM
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A few quick updates from downtown, taken yesterday, with weather in the 50s.

The Exchange:




(More photos of The Exchange here)

Elevator shaft is going up at 216 / 220 Michigan Ave:


I can't tell but it looks like there's some activity / mobilization at the former Kalamazoo Gazette Building / future Bronson labs site. Remodeling work is ongoing inside the old Albert Kahn structure (to the right):
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  #209  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2018, 5:08 AM
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Portage City Council will meet on February 27 to discuss two options put forth in a feasibility study for a new senior center. The first option keeps the existing building and remodels / adds on to it. The second option, slightly more expensive, would create an all-new center with more service possibilities than option 1. A decision on either option is expected to move forward this year. Here's a rendering of the proposed Portage Senior Center (presumably this is option 2, as it looks nothing like the existing):


Source: MLive / Courtesy City of Portage

Quote:
Portage Senior Center future up for discussion
Tom Haroldson | MLive
January 29, 2018

ORTAGE, MI - Plans for either a new or renovated Portage Senior Center are on the drawing table for a decision this year. Byce and Associates was retained last year by the city to prepare a feasibility study on the senior center, 320 Library Lane, that has been growing in use since built in 1981 but 37 years later has several "deficiencies" requiring either expansion or a new facility. The future of the senior center came up in last fall's Portage City Council and mayoral races in which at least one candidate, Mayor Patricia Randall, proposed stepping up action on the center. One of her ideas was a joint public-private initiative that could share the $5 to $6 million costs for renovation or a new center...
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  #210  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2018, 2:25 AM
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Borgess Medical Center has announced a $35 million, 32,000 SF expansion to its Stryker Center. The neat thing about it is that it will be a vertical expansion. The center, which opened in 2006, was originally designed to accommodate eventual vertical expansion. The project is expected to be complete in 2020. No renderings yet that I could find.

Quote:
Hospital undergoing $35M expansion
Justin Dawes | GRBJ
January 31, 2018

A hospital in the region will begin a $35-million expansion next month. There will be a 32,000-foot expansion to the surgical suites at Ascension’s Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, at 1521 Gull Rd. The project, expected to be finished by 2020, will add another floor to the Stryker Center, which was built to allow for vertical expansion.

The addition will allow for larger operating rooms, which will provide space for current and future technologies. In addition, two new operating rooms will be added to the birthing center floor. The new surgical floor will connect to the patient units by a new connecting bridge. There will also be two additional elevators added to facilitate service for patients and staff...
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  #211  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2018, 2:35 AM
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In what might be good news for the area, Kalamazoo and Portage will be receiving a combined $3 million in state tax credits to go towards affordable housing developments:

Quote:
Southwest Michigan affordable housing projects awarded tax credits
Malachi Barrett | MLive
January 30, 208

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Millions of dollars in state tax credits are going toward affordable housing projects in Southwest Michigan. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority announced Friday it is awarding 13 developments with $13 million in low-income housing tax credits. Among the winners are rehabilitation and construction projects located in Kalamazoo, Portage and Niles...

...The Village of Kalamazoo Apartments, which plans the rehabilitation of an existing 165-unit apartment complex, is set to receive $1.47 million in credits each year. The credits will help developer Hope Network fund necessary renovations to upgrade 159 units. Selinon Park in Portage will receive $1.4 million in annual credits. The project includes construction of 75 units of rental housing in three buildings...
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  #212  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2018, 3:24 AM
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Demolition is occurring at the site of the former Putters Family Fun Center, along S. Westnedge Ave. in Portage. Putters closed somewhat abruptly after its 2014 season. It was in business for over 30 years, and had an arcade, batting cages, outdoor trampolines, soak zone, two (yes, two!) putt-putt golf courses, and a smattering of large animal statuary (including a 20 ft tall giraffe), most of which was auctioned off after the closing. Here's a streetview from 2012.

There's no info that I could find on what the plans are for the lot now, or who owns it. The building that once housed the arcade and concessions is now a pile of rubble. I'm not a betting man, but given what's surrounding, I'd say there's a giant, underwhelming likelihood that this will become (a) a restaurant / fast food joint, (b) a bank or credit union, or (c) an auto parts store. Or maybe a skyscraper

I wonder where the giraffes ended up after the auction?

Source: Google Images
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  #213  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2018, 2:59 PM
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I was reading the meeting minutes from the City Commission's 1/16/2018 meeting, and the motion to adopt an ordinance to rezone the 243 parcels located between W. Lovell Street and Stockbridge Avenue from Zones CC, CN-1 and M-1 to Zones CCBD, CN-1, CN-2 and RM-36 failed for lack of support. Not sure what the city's plan is now. Eight public comments all expressed opposition, for various reasons:

(from Post #198)

Quote:
Originally Posted by deja vu View Post
Local residents are opposing a rezoning effort that would reduce the possibility of larger commercial developments in Southtown. Residents are protesting the proposed change on the grounds that it might reduce their property values if the Community Commercial District, which allows for larger buildings, is changed to a mix of four different zoning districts: CCBD, CN-1, CN-2 and RM-36. Most of the parcels in question would be changed to CN-2 (neighborhood commercial district) which is a more restrictive zone. The city believes that the rezoning will encourage mixed-use developments in the neighborhood.

EDIT: This sounds like Nimbyism, in a different form. I think that there is concern that the rezoning would make it easier for thinks like gas stations, fast food joints, and liquor stores to be built, which could devalue adjacent residential parcels. Whereas if the zone remains CCBD, these types of commercial uses are harder to build, and larger apartment or office structures are easier to build, which tend to increase land values. If that is the case, then I support the sentiment of the neighborhood residents. I also think the city has been having a tough time getting developers to do much of anything in this area, and are thinking let's open it up to other uses.
By the way, I don't think I ever mentioned that the City Commission unanimously approved a motion to rezone Mayor's Riverfront Park from zone M-1 to CMU at the regular 12/18/2017 meeting, after receiving several public comments from local businesses in opposition of the change:

(from Post #173)

Quote:
Originally Posted by deja vu View Post
The City Commission agreed to change the zoning at Mayors' Riverfront Park from M-1 to CMU at Monday's session. There still will be a public hearing on the issue, on December 18.
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  #214  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2018, 10:18 PM
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Product design services are in growing demand in the region, and WMU responded by starting a new program to train future product designers this past fall. Now the University is renovating Central Kohrman Hall to better accomodate its new Product Design program -

Quote:
College renovating building for product design program
Justin Dawes | GRBJ
February 7, 2018

Western Michigan University began demolition and construction activities in December to renovate the first and third floors of Central Kohrman Hall. Scheduled to open in fall 2018, the renovated spaces will also serve as a base where key southwest Michigan corporate partners can find answers to their product design and talent development needs. The project will involve some noticeable improvements: renovation of about 28,000 square feet of available space on the first and third floors; and minor renovations on the second floor, along with the addition of a mechanical room and gender-neutral restrooms...
Partial Rendering:

Image Source: GRBJ | Courtesy WMU

As an aside, South Kohrman Hall was remodeled about a decade ago with a design by SmithGroup, and that project received AIA recognition for design excellence. Here's some photos of the South Kohrman Hall Renovation. Maybe this is a glimpse of what Central Kohrman will resemble when finished:



Images Source: SmithGroup
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  #215  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2018, 3:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deja vu View Post
Demolition is occurring at the site of the former Putters Family Fun Center, along S. Westnedge Ave. in Portage. Putters closed somewhat abruptly after its 2014 season. It was in business for over 30 years, and had an arcade, batting cages, outdoor trampolines, soak zone, two (yes, two!) putt-putt golf courses, and a smattering of large animal statuary (including a 20 ft tall giraffe), most of which was auctioned off after the closing. Here's a streetview from 2012.

There's no info that I could find on what the plans are for the lot now, or who owns it. The building that once housed the arcade and concessions is now a pile of rubble. I'm not a betting man, but given what's surrounding, I'd say there's a giant, underwhelming likelihood that this will become (a) a restaurant / fast food joint, (b) a bank or credit union, or (c) an auto parts store. Or maybe a skyscraper
Well I wasn't about to get my hopes up for anything remarkable, and that's good, because it looks like this will be a used car dealership . According to the Planning Commission June 29, 2017 meeting minutes.
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  #216  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2018, 4:56 PM
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Here's some other Portage City Planning Commission tidbits that I dug up -

1. A 10,000 SF restaurant will be coming to the Trade Centre development - Black Rock Bar & Grill, according to July 20, 2017 meeting minutes. They are a small steakhouse chain established in Hartland, MI in 2010, that has been aggressively expanding in metro Detroit, as well as Florida, with plans for locations in Illinois and Ohio. Here is a picture of the one in Davison, MI:


Source: Johnson Design

2. FEMA Corporation, local manufacturer of hydraulic equipment, applied to construct a 47,000 SF addition to their current facility on Vanderbilt Ave. in August, which required approval for height modification. According to August 17, 2017 meeting minutes. They have a sharp-looking facility today:

Video Link


3. Selinon Park, (1521, 1603 and 1615 East Centre Avenue) applied for final plan reapproval in August after their previous application expired. This planned development by Full Circle Communities proposes the construction of 74 affordable units across three buildings. According to August 17, 2017 meeting minutes. This is one of the many projects in Michigan receiving state aid through tax credits.

Rendering:

Source: Full Circle Communities

4. A Special Land Use Permit was issued in January for a new micro-brewery - Presidential Brewing Company, at 129 W. Centre Ave. The owner was requesting that the City waive the requirement that the establishment provide at least 100 seats and offer lunch and dinner menus. His plan is to grow the business over several years so that it eventually does provide more accommodations for dining. According to January 18, 2018 meeting minutes. From facebook photos, it looks like the current operation is run out of agarage.

5. On the agenda for the February 01, 2018 meeting was specific site plan review for Portage Creek Landings, a planned commercial development at the corner of Centre Ave. and Shaver Rd. The owner (PCL Curtis, LLC) wants to construct an 8,000 SF Office / retail building, as the third structure in this slowly growing development (2006 saw the first building, a Walgreens, and 2008 a Huntington Bank branch). Plans for a restaurant in 2014 fell through, and several extensions of the conceptual plan have been granted. The owner has blamed a poor economy for not getting things developed more quickly. There are still about 14 acres of undeveloped land to be considered, and the vision is for a pedestrian-friendly 'lifestyle center'.

Here's an image of the conceptual plan from 2017, which still stands as the current roadmap for future development plans at this busy intersection. This plan is what the owner is asking for another extension on:

Source: Portage Planning Commission Agenda Packet | Courtesy
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  #217  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2018, 6:38 PM
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Pfizer had a ribbon cutting for its new Building 541 a few days ago in Portage. This new warehouse is massive. At about 98,500 SF, and probably about 40 ft high, that's about 4,000,000 cubic feet of building volume. Now imagine it filled to the ceiling with medicine. This represents the completion of just one stage of a massive multi-phase investment in the company's largest manufacturing facility in the world. Meanwhile, work continues on an adjacent 10,000 SF remodel for the facility's asceptic processing center, which will be used for production of Act-O-Vials - small devices used to quickly inject patients in life-saving situations.

Quote:
Pfizer warehouse part of $147M investment in Portage
Al Jones | MLive
February 14, 2018

PORTAGE, MI -- The world's largest pharmaceutical manufacturing plant is now 98,500 square feet larger. And that expansion -- the most visible part of an ongoing $147 million investment by Pfizer Inc. -- is a very good thing for Portage and Kalamazoo County, local leaders say. "It's important because it shows us long-term that Pfizer plans to be here for a long time," said Portage Mayor Patricia Randall...




Source: Mlive

Video Link
As Pfizer invests in Portage, we'll see what happens with another local pharmaceutical-related company, MPI Research, which just announced that it will be purchased by MA-based Charles River Laboratories for a cool $800 million. MPI does contract research for pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms, and others. With about 1,600 employees, it is among the largest employers in the area.

Quote:
MPI Research in Mattawan to be purchased in $800M deal
Al Jones | MLive
February 14, 2018

MATTAWAN, MI - Charles River Laboratories is buying Mattawan-based drug- and compound-testing company MPI Research for $800 million in cash. Charles River, a scientific research company based in Wilmington, Mass., announced Tuesday, Feb. 13, that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire MPI Research. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals...

Last edited by deja vu; Feb 17, 2018 at 4:34 PM.
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  #218  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2018, 4:29 PM
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Kalamazoo has completed assembling its Foundation for Excellence board, and their first meeting took place on February 15th. The inaugural board is comprised of a diverse group of thirteen individuals from the community. The committee represents public and private interests, with neighborhood, arts, healthcare, housing, business, education, faith-based, and neighborhood stakeholders all represented and all appointed to rotating terms. Mayor Bobby Hopewell will serve as President on the board. City manager Jim Ritsema is also on the board as Ex-officio Director.

The board is charged with managing the Foundation's finances, which are built upon an initial $70.3 million donation from two local philanthropists, William Parfet (Upjohn heir) and William Johnston (Stryker heir), in 2016. There is an ambitious goal to raise another $500 million for the fund by 2019, to create a self-sustaining endowment that will be used for several ambitious goals, primarily, property tax reductions, stabilization of the city budget, elimination of homelessness in the city, infrastructure upgrades, and other capital improvement projects.

The board members begin orientation sessions next week (2/20 and 2/21), which are open to the public. It should be interesting to watch how this process unfolds. The Kalamazoo Promise has been lauded as a success, imitated by countless other municipalities now. This Foundation, while different, has followed a somewhat similar formula as it gets off the ground -

Quote:
Kalamazoo's Foundation for Excellence board assembled with optimism
Malachi Barrett | MLive
February 15, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The fully assembled Foundation for Excellence board of directors met for the first time Thursday. Thirteen members were appointed by Mayor Bobby Hopewell and City Manager Jim Ritsema, who previously served as the only members on the board. Now, the board will work to get up to speed on the city's goals and vision while a massive fundraising campaign begins moving forward...


Source: MLive / Kalamazoo Gazette
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  #219  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2018, 4:54 AM
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There are definitive plans for a substantial development on the eastern side of the city's public parking lot #9, located on the SW corner of Water and Edwards Streets, behind the Main Street East complex and directly across from Arcadia Creek Festival Place. My own suspicions were raised when folks were doing soil boring tests in the area earlier this year. No renderings yet, but the preliminary info sounds compelling -
  • $60 million, mixed-use building, with parking, commercial, and residential spaces
  • 300,000 SF building, including Class A Commercial and 50 residential units, mostly market-rate. Sources say this will be 7 stories
  • 315 parking spaces, which would be a net increase from the current surface parking that would go away
  • Construction completion targeted for within 24 months of property closing
The developer is Catalyst Development Company, LLC. which is a subsidiary of Greenleaf Companies, of which Bill Johnston is the chairman (Johnston is one of the two donors that pledged $70.3 million towards the newly-formed Foundation for Excellence) -

Quote:
Deal would sell downtown lot for $60M mixed-use building, more parking
Malachi Barrett | MLive
February 19, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Officials are working toward a deal to sell a downtown parking lot and make room for a $60 million, mixed-use building. Monday, the Downtown Development Authority approved a purchase agreement with Catalyst Development Co. LLC, which starts the process of developing a portion of Lot 9 across from the Arcadia Creek Festival Site. The deal is contingent on the support of the Kalamazoo City Commission and the city's building authority, but would bring more parking, office use and housing options to a growing area of downtown...

Last edited by deja vu; Feb 23, 2018 at 3:45 PM.
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  #220  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2018, 2:50 AM
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There is extensive flooding throughout Michigan due to heavy rainfall and excessive snow melt. The Kalamazoo River is officially the highest it has ever been as of this morning and still rising, causing all sorts of havoc on roadways and damage to homes and businesses. Lots of stalled vehicles, crashes, and emergency rescues as motorists don't know how to handle the rising water levels. The Morrow Dam was opened today to try and relieve some of the swelling and flooding on the city's east side. But this has exacerbated flooding further downriver in Kalamazoo Township. Many more photos on MLive and other local sources -

Map of current road closures and flood plain area (as of Friday, 2/23 evening) -

Source: Google Maps

Kalamazoo's East Side on Thursday - Aerial Drone View -

Source: NVHUSC Photography / Facebook

M-43 Bridge -


Comstock -


M-96 Bridge with north branch of Kalamazoo River reaching the main beam span - near Augusta -


Opening Morrow Dam -


Homer Stryker / Kalamazoo Growlers Field -

Last edited by deja vu; Feb 24, 2018 at 3:03 AM.
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