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  #81  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2017, 8:24 PM
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Related to the previous post, here's more info on the Allied Paper site, an EPA-designated Superfund cleanup area.

The large site that sits vacant today served the Kalamazoo paper manufacturing industry for over 100 years, from the 1890s to 1990s. Bryant Paper opened there in 1895 and it eventually became Allied Paper, which shut down in the 1980s, along with most of Kalamazoo's other paper factories. A few attempts to revive the factory in the 1990s were short-lived, and massive demolition took place in 2004 to eradicate the abandoned factory buildings - there's lots of incredible photos documenting the mill, and its subsequent demolition here and here. I wish I had been around to see it before it was gone - here are a couple of my favorite shots from alliedpaper.org:

The 1920s-era power plant:

Image Source: alliedpaper.org

Scrap metal in front of the power plant from demo:

Image Source: alliedpaper.org

View from inside the power plant:

Image Source: alliedpaper.org

Turbine Room:

Image Source: alliedpaper.org

Catwalk view of power plant:

Image Source: alliedpaper.org

So, all of that is now long gone, and what was left behind is the largest EPA-designated Superfund brownfield site in the city. Of the 89 acre site, 70 acres of Allied Paper was confirmed as polluted with PCBs. The site is just one of six "operable units" within an even larger zone spanning Allegan and Kalamazoo counties along the Kalamazoo River, where it has been calculated that hundreds of tons of PCBs were dumped during the region's industrial days.

From the City:

Quote:
The Allied Superfund Landfill site is located on the City’s south side in the midst of three neighborhoods:  Edison, Milwood and Westnedge Hill.  The landfill, created by Allied Paper Mill and its successors, contains approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of PCB-contaminated materials and has been the subject of considerable attention over the last eight years based on state and federal efforts regarding cleaning up the Site.
Source - Kalamazoo City Website

In Fall of 2016, the EPA approved a (controversial) cleanup plan for the site, referred to as "The Hybrid". Under this plan, the contaminants will all be moved to one area of the site, freeing up about 20 acres of cleared land for new development. Several earlier proposals calling for complete removal of all contaminants was deemed too costly to do, at a price tag of around $180 million.


Image Source: City of Kalamazoo


Image Source: MLive

For context, here's an aerial view of the entire site - north is to the right. The future home of the Health Department / former Illinois Envelope Building is at the far right. The shaded blue region is 1 mile long. The landfill area is on the left and borders Portage Creek, which drains into the Kalamazoo River.


Image Source: Google Maps

Last edited by deja vu; Jun 7, 2017 at 8:35 PM.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2017, 1:41 PM
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Western Michigan's Heritage Hall was awarded LEED Platinum on June 2 by USGBC, making it the first LEED Platinum-certified building in Kalamazoo County. It was previously considered the least energy-efficient building on the campus, and it is now probably the most energy-efficient. Almost justifies the destruction of most of their original campus ...

Quote:
Historic WMU building's green renovation earns top honor
By Malachi Barrett | MLive
June 08, 2017


Image Source: Mark Bugnaski | MLive
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  #83  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2017, 8:44 PM
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Recent soil samples taken at Arcadia Commons West have tested positive for soil contaminants. No detailed results yet, but it is a wrinkle in the plans for that area. Arcadia Commons West is the site of a planned four-block development involving multiple stakeholders, including a new Kalamazoo County courthouse estimated at $80 million.

Quote:
Early soil tests reveal contaminants on site of new Kalamazoo courthouse
By Malachi Barrett | MLive
June 06, 2017
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  #84  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2017, 11:18 PM
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I overhauled the Project Rundown on Page 1 of this thread. Major Updates Include:
  • Separating Kalamazoo and Portage developments into two separate posts (see post #2 now for Portage developments)
  • Condensed the introduction somewhat, with updated population info provided, based on 2016 census figures
  • Updated categorizing of all projects as Proposed, U/C, or Recently Completed & sorting accordingly
  • Proposed and U/C projects are now ordered by estimated construction cost for each ‘region’, greatest to least.
  • I eliminated some projects from the list, including the detached housing and condo projects – they’re not that interesting anyway.
  • Completed projects are ordered by date completed, and only go back as far as 2016 for now. I might take it a bit further back at a later time, but it was just too cluttered.
  • Reduction of image sizes (downgraded to medium size) and quantity (1 per project only) for a little less scrolling.

I will add more content as I have time to do so; it was just getting too cluttered.
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  #85  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2017, 9:59 PM
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A few construction updates from today, mostly non - City of Kalamazoo projects this time around:

This is the new Consumers Credit Union Headquarters, going up in the "Groves Center". Designed by HOK, it's probably the most interesting thing being built in the area right now. It's a three-story glass structure that floats above the ground plane:



This is the new Cold Storage Warehouse at Pfizer. As you can see, it is a big concrete box:



These next four are of construction progress at Portage Central High School's new natatorium:









There's an attractive community garden tucked between two wings of the school:



Here's a peek inside the new Portage Pediatric Dentistry on Old Centre Road. It is pretty large:



The next three are of the Portage Memory Care facility, on Centre Avenue. It has been taking a while to wrap up:







Here's a view of the earthwork happening at Portage Northern High School, where new athletic fields and stadium are to be built:



A view of Trade Centre III - on the other side of I-94:



And these last few are of the Vicksburg Lee Paper Mill. I wanted to see if anything was happening there yet with the big redevelopment plans. Zero activity today, but there is some evidence that roof work was being performed recently:









I'll end with this tree stump, found in the cemetery behind the mill - it was huge! At least 7 feet in diameter. There were a few of about this size - pity they're gone now:



My size 12 feet...


Last edited by deja vu; Jun 10, 2017 at 10:11 PM.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2017, 12:27 AM
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The vacant Hardings at the bottom of Westnedge hill has been a big blank façade fronted by an empty parking lot since the grocery store closed several years ago. Now it looks like it is getting new life. I wish that this whole property could be developed more wholeheartedly, with new construction at a greater density, rather than just a renovation of an existing strip mall, but it's still good news for the neighborhood.

Old Hardings Market building in Kalamazoo getting a facelift
by WWMT Staff
May 19, 2017

Quote:
The old Hardings Market building in Kalamazoo is getting a facelift years in the making. The Shoppes on Westnedge is moving into the empty building on Howard Street, just south of downtown.

The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority approved a $9.4 million project Thursday morning...Planners expect the new shops to open up in the next two years. The City of Kalamazoo, and developers also plan to use the additional parking lot space for a farmers market and food trucks...The project is expected to create more than a hundred jobs.

Image Source: Google Maps

Last edited by deja vu; Jun 14, 2017 at 12:57 AM.
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  #87  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2017, 12:47 AM
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Kalamazoo Humane Society plans new home
by Brady Gillum | WoodTV8
June 13, 2017

Quote:
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Furry friends in Kalamazoo had an extra wag in their tails on Tuesday. That’s because the Kalamazoo Humane Society announced it has raised $3 million for a new facility. The Humane Society hopes to break ground on the new facility sometime next spring and open in the fall of 2019, said Aaron Winters, the Kalamazoo Humane Society’s executive director.

...

Image Source: KAI

Last edited by deja vu; Jun 14, 2017 at 1:05 AM.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2017, 1:02 AM
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A beautiful day in SW Michigan. Construction progress photos from around town today:

Foundation work at The Exchange is moving along - for more update photos, click here:



I haven't gone down Westnedge in a while. The Shoppes on Westnedge are already much further along than I thought. It sort of looks like a tornado came through though, the way they just left the old canopies upturned in the parking lot:









The new RX Optical Headquarters is moving along:







And Trade Centre III is starting to get its glazing installed:



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  #89  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2017, 1:47 AM
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Community Planning and Development presented an update today to the Board of Commissioners, on the progress of the City's Strategic Vision for 2025. This preliminary document (which can be accessed and downloaded here) will be followed by a more formalized draft on July 3. A final version will be considered by the Commissioners two weeks after that.

There's a lot of information in the current draft, but it has a long way to go.

Quote:
Kalamazoo planners outline vision for the next decade
By Malachi Barrett | MLive
June 19, 2017
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  #90  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2017, 5:05 PM
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Construction progress continues on the perimeter parcels at The Corner @ Drake. While nothing is officially confirmed, rumors persist that the 'Natural Grocery" which will occupy about 13,000 SF of one of the structures under construction is going to be the first Trader Joes in Kalamazoo / SW Michigan. The next closest Trader Joe's opened in 2015 in Grand Rapids.

Looks like a Trader Joe's to me:


Image Source: MLive | Al Jones


Image Source: MLive | Al Jones
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  #91  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2017, 10:54 PM
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Construction progress photos, taken at the new Consumer's Credit Union Headquarters on 6/21. HOK - Chicago is the design Architect:


































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  #92  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2017, 1:48 PM
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The City of Kalamazoo is installing at least 52 new bike racks downtown this summer. This is just one part of the combined efforts of the City, Downtown Kalamazoo Inc, the Complete Streets Coalition, and Bronson Healthcare Group to promote bike use and access in the city.

The bike racks will increase bike parking opportunities in high-traffic areas the city, something that has been demanded by the avid cycling community for a long time.

Quote:
52 bike racks coming to downtown Kalamazoo this summer
By Malachi Barrett | Mlive
June 22, 2017
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  #93  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2017, 9:30 PM
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A new article in MLive reveals some more information about the redevelopment plans for the former Simpson / Lee paper Mill site in Vicksburg. It is now a $50 million, multi-phase project. With phase 1 likely to include a new brewery, and to kick off as early as Spring 2018 if funding is secured.

What I find notable (and good) is that the owner of Paper City Development LLC, Chris Moore, grew up in the area, used to work at the mill, and currently owns a successful brewery in Seattle called "Old Stove Brewery". It sounds like the brewery built here will have the same name.


Image Source: MLive | Courtesy South County News

Quote:
$50 million project unveiled for old Vicksburg paper mill
By Tom Haroldson | Special to MLive
July 01, 2017

VICKSBURG, MI - The former Vicksburg paper mill that was once the heart of the village could have new life pumped into it. A proposed $50 million project called The Mill has been unveiled that if successful in the coming years could result in the former paper mill becoming a brewery, restaurant and taproom, retail center, craft food and beverage production facility, offices, artist studios and residences.

Chris Moore, owner of Paper City Development LLC and Old Stove Brewery in Seattle who grew up in Vicksburg and once worked at the mill, has been working with a team behind the scenes for nearly three years on the project.

...

Last edited by deja vu; Jul 2, 2017 at 1:43 PM. Reason: image added
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  #94  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2017, 1:43 PM
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Two updates on the Kalamazoo Commons property:

1. Talks are underway to find a new theater operator for the 'former' Alamo Drafthouse Cinema / 'former-former' Rave Cityplace 14, possibly by this Fall, although no details about what company yet, apart from it being a nationally-recognized "major theater operator". I hope whoever it is can do something about the exterior, which is terrible, in my opinion.

Quote:
It may be showtime for new downtown theater operator this fall
By Al Jones | MLive
July 03, 2017

Image Source: Al Jones | MLive

2. In the same complex, all of the ground-floor commercial storefronts on all three sides of the building (with the exception of Farmer's Alley Theatre) are undergoing conversion to apartments, slated to open this August. The conversion, which involves about 17,000 SF of formerly-designated retail space, will create 8 apartments with one to three bedrooms each, going for $1,500 to $3,000 per month. There are already 17 fully-leased units on the second floor (with a three-level parking deck above these).

Quote:
Downtown property will be nearly all posh apartments
By Al Jones | MLive
July 03, 2017
It is a logical change; having commercial spaces along South Street, Portage Street, and Farmer's Alley made little to no sense in the first place, as there is hardly any foot traffic in the area, apart from those heading to / from WMU's School of Medicine.


Image Source: Al Jones | MLive
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  #95  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2017, 1:34 PM
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A little bit of business development news for the area, from MiBiz's Growth Report last week:

1. Stryker Continues to Grow:

Quote:
Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp. (NYSE: SYK) plans to acquire all issued and outstanding shares in Ontario-based NOVADAQ Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: NVDQ, TSX: NDQ) for $11.75 per share, or $701 million...NOVADAQ is a developer of fluorescence imaging technology that helps surgeons visualize blood flow in blood vessels and tissues...Stryker expects the transaction to close at the end of the third quarter.
2. Quality Precast, Inc. Relocates and Expands:

Quote:
Quality Precast Inc., a manufacturer of manholes and retaining walls, plans to move its headquarters and build a new 25,000-square-foot production and headquarters facility in Kalamazoo County’s Alamo Township, according to a statement from Southwest Michigan First. The company, currently based in Kalamazoo, is expected to add 20 jobs with the $1.34 million expansion.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2017, 1:37 PM
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Three restaurant / brewery-related developments in the area:

1. Bell's Brewery is investing $7M in new projects

Bell's will be doing capital improvement projects at its Comstock Township and Downtown Kalamazoo facilities now through 2018. According to the article, this will include a pilot brewery, specialty packaging line, new office space, and waste diversion systems at its Comstock location, as well as a smaller pilot brewery at the Downtown location.

2. Cove Lakeside Bistro will open in July on West Lake in Portage

Located at 9110 Portage Road, the renovated building previously housed Charron's on The Lake and Jason's Cove. The new restaurant will be operated by the growing Millennium Restaurant Group (which has always been hit-or-miss for me in terms of quality). It will also re-employ a former executive chef of the company. I'm surprised that Portage doesn't have more waterfront dining establishments like this, given the number of recreational lakes within the city limits.


Image Source: Al Jones | MLive

Quote:
Cove Lakeside Bistro is set to open soon on West Lake in Portage
By Al Jones | MLive
July 06, 2017
3. CoreLife Eatery coming to Portage this Fall

CoreLife Eatery is a new 'active lifestyle restaurant' chain started in Syracuse in 2015. According to the article, "...the restaurant chain anticipates rapid expansion. It hopes to grow to 300 locations nationwide during the next five years, including corporate and franchise restaurants." This will be the second location in Michigan, to be located at 6300 S. Westnedge Ave. The first Michigan location is in Grandville, and is operated by the same franchisee.


Image Source: Al Jones | MLive

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  #97  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2017, 1:53 PM
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Planning update for a bike route envisioned to connect Grand Rapids with Kalamazoo (which would be amazing):

Quote:
Plans advance for 42-mile trail connecting Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo
By Kate Carlson | MLive
July 07, 2017

...For about 20 years, communities between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo have expressed interest in connecting the two cities with a trail spanning West Michigan, said John Morrison, executive director of the West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition. Recently a more focused planning effort began in November of 2016...

The project is still in the planning process, but three possible routes have been identified:
  • Old interurban rail line
  • Use of existing interior/country roads
  • A route along US-131
The old interurban rail line is the most popular option so far, said Suzannah Deneau, Wightman & Associates Inc. project engineer. The land is now owned by Consumers Energy, which is willing to work with the trail planners, but they also must get permission by various people and businesses along the old rail line that Consumers offers easements to...
There is an interactive map on the article that shows the proposed routes. The former interurban rail line route gets my vote.
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  #98  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2017, 12:55 PM
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Related to Post #90, it is now public that the anticipated 'Natural Grocery' under construction at The Corner @ Drake will in fact be a Trader Joe's.

Quote:
Trader Joe's taking shape in space near Kalamazoo Costco
By Al Jones | MLive
July 12, 2017

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Trader Joe's is the "natural grocery" that will use part of a building under construction in front of the Costco warehouse membership club at Stadium Drive and Drake Road. The name of the retailer was mentioned in June 19 filings with the Southwest Michigan Building Authority...
It will be the first Trader Joe's in the area, with the next closest one being located about 50 miles away, in the Grand Rapids suburb-city of Kentwood.
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  #99  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2017, 1:51 PM
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Quote:
Study shows uneven economic growth, concentrated poverty in Kalamazoo
By Malachi Barrett | MLive
July 12, 2017

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Kalamazoo is changing, but the rising tide hasn't lifted all areas of the city equally...

The analysis, completed by the city in March, charted changes in socioeconomic status using U.S. Census data. Measuring economic variables like household income, home value and gross rent with demographic variables like age and education, the study was meant to help planners understand where changes occurred from 2010-15...
Perhaps no major surprises with this study. Neighborhoods to the west and southwest of downtown have the highest education rates, highest home values, highest rent rates, and highest median incomes in the city (near WMU, older and more-educated white population, stable housing stock, etc). The north and east sides are generally struggling more, although I was a bit surprised to see that the Edison neighborhood has the lowest median home values in the city ($24,200), and that only 3.37% of its population holds a bachelor's degree or higher.











Images Source: Malachi Barrett | MLive (Courtesy)
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  #100  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2017, 7:15 PM
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In what can only be described as huge local development news, Kalamazoo's first Cat Café will open its doors to the public tomorrow, 7/17:

Quote:
Kalamazoo's new cat cafe offers friendly felines yearning for attention
By Natasha Blakely | MLive
July 15, 2017
It will be near Western's campus and should be popular with the college kids. Their website.
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