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  #281  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2018, 3:32 AM
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So great that this is happening in Battle Creek, and starting to pick up the pace through the summer. I think this will turn out very well and be a huge success / improvement to BC's downtown.

Quote:
Move in to apartments in Battle Creek's tallest building next year
Malachi Barrett | MLive
June 5, 2018

BATTLE CREEK, MI -- Residents can move in to downtown Battle Creek's tallest building soon, as redevelopment of the nearly 90-year-old building moves forward. A revitalized Heritage Tower will bring new jobs, retail space, market rate apartments and executive penthouse units to downtown Battle Creek in 2019...
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  #282  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2018, 10:54 PM
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^Thats fantastic news! I had no idea. Its been several years. Downtown was overwhelmingly dead last time I visited. Im glad activity is returning, although I much liked the zombie apocalypse atmosphere
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  #283  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2018, 9:05 AM
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I really hope they can get this rezoning done. Looking at aerials, this is such a strange mix of uses in this part of town, and we need to see some way better site plans than the stuff currently there. This sounds like this would allow for that.

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Kalamazoo considers rezoning for hotel expansions along I-94

By Malachi Barrett, MLive.com

June 7, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- An area near I-94 on Kalamazoo's east side could be rezoned to allow hotels to expand and match the city's master plan.

Thursday, the Planning Commission recommended rezoning 68-acres between Sprinkle Road and Gembrit Circle on the east edge of the Milwood neighborhood. The City Commission still needs to vote on the final approval.

If approved, zoning districts would change from manufacturing to commercial, allowing more residential uses and permitting motels, hotels and inns. Vice Chair Gregory Milliken said the rezoning will create a better environment for economic development in the area.
Quote:
Five hotels exist in the rezoning area: Clarion Hotel, Baymont Inn, Four Points by Sheraton, Holiday Inn Express and Red Roof Inn.

They are considered conforming uses in the current M-1 zone, which means the hotels can't expand without a variance. No new hotels can be built without a variance granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Senior Development Planner Rob Bauckham said the hotel owners don't have immediate plans for expansion.
Even by sprawl standards the orientation of the buildings on their sites, here, look to be poorly place and undertilize their large parcels. Do you know whether this was originally zoned for industrial usage, or if the hotels were developed first? I'm just trying to figure out how you get hotels in the middle of an industrial district. It seems like either the hotels should have never been allowed or that it shouldn't have even been zoned for industry.
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  #284  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2018, 8:54 PM
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^Thats fantastic news! I had no idea. Its been several years. Downtown was overwhelmingly dead last time I visited. Im glad activity is returning, although I much liked the zombie apocalypse atmosphere
Yes! Slowly but surely, Battle Creek is trying to rebuild a robust downtown core. It has some assets that I personally think Kalamazoo should be jealous of (like two gorgeous Art Deco towers, nice streetscaping, and better connections to a less industrialized river). Might need to revise this thread title to be KALAMAZOO / PORTAGE / BATTLE CREEK if it keeps up. I guess I could post BC updates in the general WEST MICHIGAN developments thread too, but I just associate it more with Kalamazoo.

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I really hope they can get this rezoning done. Looking at aerials, this is such a strange mix of uses in this part of town, and we need to see some way better site plans than the stuff currently there. This sounds like this would allow for that.

Even by sprawl standards the orientation of the buildings on their sites, here, look to be poorly place and undertilize their large parcels. Do you know whether this was originally zoned for industrial usage, or if the hotels were developed first? I'm just trying to figure out how you get hotels in the middle of an industrial district. It seems like either the hotels should have never been allowed or that it shouldn't have even been zoned for industry.
Beat me to the post! It is very odd around there. Honestly, the whole stretch of Sprinkle Road from Kilgore to E Main has always felt bizarre to me. It has a very unplanned feel. Not quite city, not quite suburb, and a little rural thrown in. It's a hot mess. Just north of E Michigan Ave, for example, Consumers Concrete has a massive operation right across from single family residential. There are some massive greenhouses too, arrayed along River Street. Random traffic improvements like roundabouts and raised medians make it all feel even more haphazard. I am pretty sure that the area with the hotels was mostly industrial first, and then the hotels starting popping up, variance by variance, due to the high traffic counts and proximity to I-94, the airport, Pfizer Stryker, etc. I know at least some of them cater to visiting, extended-stay business folk.

In other semi-zoning-related news, the City formally approved the 2-block "neighborhood enterprise zone" downtown. This will hopefully kick start planned developments within this boundary (there are at least 2 planned mixed-use projects with affordable housing conponent).

Quote:
Kalamazoo approves tax abatement zone on downtown edge
By Malachi Barrett | MLive
June 07, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Developers can now apply for a 12-year tax abatement in an area south of downtown Kalamazoo. Monday, the City Commission created a "neighborhood enterprise zone" in a two-block area south of City Hall. Developments in the zone are eligible to have their taxes halved for nine years and reduced by 10 percent, 5 percent and 2.5 percent for another three years. The area is between South Park and Burdick streets and West Lovell and Cedar streets in the Vine neighborhood. Two developments are already planned: A $24.2 million mixed-use office and apartment building and another mixed-use project at a former public safety training facility. Local leaders hope the abatement will encourage new affordable housing projects to alleviate what city officials say is a 3,000 to 5,000 unit shortage...
If there really is that big of a shortage, they are going to need more than 2 blocks of enterprise zone.
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  #285  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2018, 1:46 PM
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Here are a few photos from building tours on 5/30/18 of (a) Portage Northern Middle School and (b) Portage Central Natatorium. The MS is scheduled for completion next fall; the natatorium is close to complete and will open later this summer.

Portage Northern Middle School Construction Progress, 5/30/2018
























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  #286  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2018, 1:49 PM
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Portage Central Natatorium Construction Progress, 5/30/2018
























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  #287  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2018, 7:23 AM
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Beat me to the post! It is very odd around there. Honestly, the whole stretch of Sprinkle Road from Kilgore to E Main has always felt bizarre to me. It has a very unplanned feel. Not quite city, not quite suburb, and a little rural thrown in. It's a hot mess. Just north of E Michigan Ave, for example, Consumers Concrete has a massive operation right across from single family residential. There are some massive greenhouses too, arrayed along River Street. Random traffic improvements like roundabouts and raised medians make it all feel even more haphazard. I am pretty sure that the area with the hotels was mostly industrial first, and then the hotels starting popping up, variance by variance, due to the high traffic counts and proximity to I-94, the airport, Pfizer Stryker, etc. I know at least some of them cater to visiting, extended-stay business folk.

In other semi-zoning-related news, the City formally approved the 2-block "neighborhood enterprise zone" downtown. This will hopefully kick start planned developments within this boundary (there are at least 2 planned mixed-use projects with affordable housing conponent).

If there really is that big of a shortage, they are going to need more than 2 blocks of enterprise zone.
That's a really interesting story about how that area formed, and a perfect example of the abuse of the variance process. Variances are supposed to be just that, to allow for variances. You know, when a project needs a little more height, here, for a less stringent front yard requirement there. If you start allowing them to cover fundamentally different changes in uses and then do it again and again and again, that's how you get that mess of development down there, and why the rezoning should have happened a long time ago, quite frankly. lol

Speaking of zoning, what's the land zoned within this new south-of-downtown enterprise zone?
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  #288  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2018, 2:02 AM
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Speaking of zoning, what's the land zoned within this new south-of-downtown enterprise zone?
It's currently Zoned CC, which is Community Commercial. Just north (across Lovell) it is CCBD (Central Business District). These are similar zones, and both allow multi-unit dwellings if certain conditions are met.

And that's just a guess on my part regarding the variances for the many hotels that have popped up on the city's southeast side. But it is all zoned M-1 and M-2, which is manufacturing. Under the zoning code, hotels in M-1 and M-2 are "Conforming Use", meaning that the use may not be established after October 18, 2005, but if the use was legally established and in existence on / before that date, it may continue to exist as a legal conforming use. I think some of those hotels are newer than 13 years old.
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  #289  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2018, 2:31 AM
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Another potential big development in Portage by Stryker may break ground this fall, with ample tax credits.

Quote:
Stryker seeks tax cuts for $92M expansion at Portage medical division
Malachi Barrett | MLive
June 11, 2018

PORTAGE, MI -- Stryker Corporation is seeking a 12-year tax abatement for a $92 million expansion expected to add 260 new jobs by 2025. The Portage City Council will hold a June 26 public hearing to consider an industrial facilities exemption that would cut property taxes in half. Stryker Corporation plans to add parking and construct a 253,000-square-foot addition to the south side of an existing facility at 3800 E. Centre Ave.cPortage City Manager Larry Shaffer said the economic impact will be "stupendous."...
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  #290  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2018, 2:21 AM
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Wow, I thought this ship sailed a looong time ago. Apparently the idea of a downtown arena is being resurrected by some of the local powers that be.

Quote:
Backers of a new downtown events center say facility could be Kalamazoo's crown jewel
Rachel Glaser | WWMT
June 15, 2018

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Southwest Michigan First is behind the new push to build an arena in downtown Kalamazoo, several years after plans hit a standstill. In hopes of resurrecting the dream of a downtown Kalamazoo arena, Southwest Michigan First has renewed efforts to build $85 million facility with capacity to seat up to 9,000 people in an arena that could generate millions of dollars in annual tourism spending. More than just an arena, the proposed event center would be the crown jewel that turns downtown Kalamazoo into a destination, according to Ron Kitchens, the chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First...
If it were to happen, I would want to see it downtown, far-better integrated into the "urban scene" a bit more than if it were near WMU or Heritage Guitar.
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  #291  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2018, 4:25 PM
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Neat to see this 44 year old mural being restored, and by the original artist, no less. Colleen Rockey, A WMU alum who originally painted the mural on a Corporation Alley wall facing the Comerica Building of the in 1974 (the same year that she graduated college), is restoring the mural at her own expense. The below image shows the mural restoration in progress, with The Exchange rising in the background.


Source: PBS / Twitter
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  #292  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2018, 1:51 PM
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Originally Posted by deja vu View Post
Wow, I thought this ship sailed a looong time ago. Apparently the idea of a downtown arena is being resurrected by some of the local powers that be.

If it were to happen, I would want to see it downtown, far-better integrated into the "urban scene" a bit more than if it were near WMU or Heritage Guitar.
What what this do to Wings Event Center? It seems like Kalamazoo has a similar problem to Lansing in that they are cities in their own right apart from their university, but the universities are so large relative to the city and just close enough to the city center that it's always a debate over whether there is a need for a seperate arena. So many of Lansing's cultural amenities are actually MSU-based. Like, Lansing got lucky in that MSU never built a big multi-purpose convention center, because it wouldn't have even had that to itself.

BTW, it looks like MLive finally picked up on the the new downtown apartment building:

$1.1M land deal will bring 135 apartment units to downtown Kalamazoo

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  #293  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2018, 3:41 AM
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What what this do to Wings Event Center? It seems like Kalamazoo has a similar problem to Lansing in that they are cities in their own right apart from their university, but the universities are so large relative to the city and just close enough to the city center that it's always a debate over whether there is a need for a seperate arena. So many of Lansing's cultural amenities are actually MSU-based. Like, Lansing got lucky in that MSU never built a big multi-purpose convention center, because it wouldn't have even had that to itself.
Good question / points. The article doesn't say much and it still sounds very speculative. In addition to Wings, The Expo Center would probably falter too if an arena were built in the city with the intent / capacity to host convention-style expo events. I don't know that Kzoo should try to compete with GR / Van Andel arena for concerts and such. The data from studies done in 2008-2009 are not very confidence-inspiring, either. I just don't see it happening, the demand for it doesn't seem to be there.
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  #294  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2018, 12:56 PM
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Well, 251 E Lovell is history, folks. All that remains is the pile of detritus that fills what was the basement up to about street level, and they have been clearing it pretty fast.

I heard from someone in the know that Bronson Methodist Hospital will be making an announcement in the not-too-distant future about a downtown project. No more detail than that though, so I am not sure the scale of it, or if it would be for this site, or possibly the former Gazette Building, or maybe even their vast surface parking lot bounded by E Lovell, Portage St, E Walnut, and Jasper St.

Wouldn't it be cool to see this underutilized space developed into a mixed-use community anchored by a mix of health services, retail, and residential?




In other silliness (and not news at all, by any stretch of the imagination) Kalamazoo has successfully landed a spot as a finalist in two categories (a) one of the top 50 worst American cities to live in, and (b) one of the top ten nicest cities in America. These 'lists' are by 24/7wallst.com and Readers Digest, respectively. S0 you know that they're credible, right?

Pro's that were cited include lots of local philanthropy, like the Kalamazoo Promise, and non-profit community involvement. Con's cited include high poverty and crime rates and bad air quality.

Last edited by deja vu; Jun 22, 2018 at 1:11 PM.
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  #295  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2018, 6:39 PM
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Well, this made for a fun commute this morning, and all signs are pointing to continued road closures through downtown for this afternoon / evening rush hour. Downtown Kzoo's two busiest through ways are both shut down as well as various feeder roads while crews work to clear the tracks of derailed train cars, right on the cusp of the holiday.

I don't know how, but if this proves to be Grand Elk's fault, maybe it can somehow further the discussion / consideration between city officials and the RR company about how trains move through downtown.

Quote:
15 train cars tip over in downtown Kalamazoo, major roads blocked
John Agar | MLive
July 3, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI - Police say about 15 train cars have tipped over, blocking several major intersections downtown. The box cars are blocking streets including Michigan Avenue and Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo Public Safety was called around 6:50 a.m. Tuesday, July 3, to a report of about 15 box cars that derailed and tipped over. The cause is not yet known...












Source: Daniel Vasta | MLive
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  #296  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2018, 11:41 PM
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Just a few captures around town from the past few days.

6/29. The Exchange continues to rise (slowly) downtown. At the moment they are on the 8th / 9th floor. The 8th floor is the first residential floor, and it involves a bit of a transition from the parking deck levels below. It is about 50% total height now.


6/30. I noticed this while driving through Vicksburg. Called The Rim & Rail, it will be a new event space in an old Chevy dealership. Looks pretty cool. Vicksburg is a happening place these days, with a new brew pub and coffee shop recently added to its growing list of attractions and the repurposed mill project on the horizon.


7/1. A new hotel going up near Sprinkle Road and I-94. Honestly haven't paid enough attention to even know what brand / chain this is. Whatever, it is what it is.
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Old Posted Jul 4, 2018, 3:16 PM
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Some development news updates from the past few days -

1. Kalamazoo Downtown Arena / Event Center

A Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners meeting was cancelled last night due to the train derailment downtown. The meeting was meant to be a chance for project leaders to pitch their ideas to the county about reviving a 6,000 - 8,000 seat multi use arena / event center. While several sites are still referenced, it sounds like they are leaning heavily towards the 'downtown' location, which would be Arcadia Commons West, in the same vicinity of the originally pitched arena ten years ago (killed by many factors, including the recession).

This could be quite a gymnastics event to watch (again), with the County, the City, tax payers, local businesses, WMU, PlazaCorp, Catalyst Development, SW Michigan First, Discover Kalamazoo, DKI, DDA, BRA, etc. all having staked interests in what happens in this area. The cost is currently estimated at $110 million. Project backers want the Commissioners to agree to adding a ballot item this fall for voter approval of a 1% food and beverage tax at all restaurants and bars in the county.

This is an old concept site plan, circa July 2009.

Source: MLive

And a concept rendering, from the same time.

Source: MLive

2. DDA Budget Shortfalls

Speaking of the DDA, they are struggling financially due to declining revenue. The Downtown Development Authority receives some of its revenue from a long-established tax increment financing (TIF) district (about 30 years old), which is suffering due to a dwindling pool of downtown businesses. (Related, Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. - a private, non-profit entity geared towards generating downtown investment and economic development, which regularly works with the DDA - is also suffering because it receives some of its funding from the same source).

The City Commission announced on Monday that it intends to try and create a new Downtown Kalamazoo Economic Growth Authority, which would be overseen by the current DDA, and which would collect taxes from a catchment area larger than the current TIF district. A map of the proposed new boundary is below. It notably excludes properties owned by Zoetis and former Upjohn research buildings.


Source: MLive / City of Kalamazoo

3. First Tenant Opens for Business at Midtown Marketplace

The new Ace Hardware is the first business to open at the site of a former Harding's, near the Westnedge Hill neighborhood. It opened yesterday. This development was previously called Shops on South Westnedge, but it is now referred to as Midtown Marketplace (only slightly less / more? generic sounding). A 28,000 SF grocery (Midtown Fresh), operated by the Shina Group, is scheduled to open later this month. Quite suburban in style, but better than an empty big box store rotting away, and both fill a need for retail in this area.




Source: MLive | Brad Devereaux

4. New Breweries

Wax Wings Brewing Co. opened last Friday at 3480 Gull Road. The young owners wanted to create a neighborhood brewery for the east side / Comstock area. Food is provided by the neighboring Mexican restaurant for now.

Source: MLive | Emily Monacelli

A new brewpub was also announced for Portage a few weeks ago. Presidential Brewing will occupy the property at 8302 Portage Road (close to Latitude 42), which was a former mini golf course / laser tag / arcade space, called Laser Land. The beers will have president-themed names like "Lincoln Lager", "Oatbama", and "O-Cezanne-Can-You-See". It will be family-friendly, with a kid's area called "The West Wing" and they plan to maintain 9 mini golf holes for patrons. This sounds like a pretty unique / cool concept, and a much better fate than that which befell the former Putters Family Fun Center, along S. Westnedge Ave, which is being turned into a used car dealership lot. They had a pre-opening event on Friday with a beer tasting. Grand opening is planned for October.

This new Portage Brewery is partially the result of a new ordinance by Portage City officials intended to allow new breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs to move into more areas of the city. The recent ordinance adds zones B-2, CBD, and CPD to the list of zones where brewing facilities can now be located.

The lot today. The building in the background will be converted into the brewpub.

Source: MLive Media File

Last edited by deja vu; Jul 6, 2018 at 4:00 AM.
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  #298  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2018, 6:46 AM
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It's blowing my mind that the DDA is losing money, though I guess it does go to show how much of the development downtown has been residential. Does the current DDA boundaries cover Upjohn? It seems crazy to avoid them given that's where all of the money would be. I know they don't want to antagonize them, but they are the biggest private downtown employer by far, right? Perhaps more effort needs to be focused on growing the downtown private employer base with the residential development having largely taken care of itself. I think the Exchange is good in that it has some commercial space, but a nice, speculative Class A office building would probably be more the speed to kick things off.
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Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 2:35 AM
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Back from a few days camping up north. I have decided that I like vacation more than work...

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It's blowing my mind that the DDA is losing money, though I guess it does go to show how much of the development downtown has been residential. Does the current DDA boundaries cover Upjohn? It seems crazy to avoid them given that's where all of the money would be. I know they don't want to antagonize them, but they are the biggest private downtown employer by far, right? Perhaps more effort needs to be focused on growing the downtown private employer base with the residential development having largely taken care of itself. I think the Exchange is good in that it has some commercial space, but a nice, speculative Class A office building would probably be more the speed to kick things off.
The current DDA boundaries do cover what was once Upjohn property. Some of that is now current Zoetis and WMU property. By 'biggest private downtown employer', if you are referring to Upjohn's modern 'successor' / purchaser - Pfizer, then no, because Pfizer is technically Portage-based. The largest downtown employer is Bronson Methodist Hospital, which employs upwards of 8,000 total employees, and I think around 3,000 at its main downtown facilities. But they're tax-exempt.

I too am somewhat surprised that the current market hasn't driven development of more class A office space in the downtown core. But with the 7-story Catalyst development supposedly breaking ground soon (they did expand the perimeter construction fence last week), and with Phase 2 of The Foundry supposedly kicking off soon as well (pretty boring-looking 1 - 2 story office space), there is some stuff on the horizon.

But I would disagree that residential development has largely taken care of itself. Apart from The Exchange (billed as market-rate / 'luxury' living) I would say it seems the opposite. Private development of housing downtown is slow, and small-scale. There is tons of prime land and incentives out there for developers willing to consider a public funding component, but despite the many pleas for affordable and varied housing options in downtown and in its surrounding neighborhoods, the city can't get much kickstarted, even with local and state incentives (the new 4-story, 135-unit, mixed-use affordable housing proposal at the corner of Rose St. and Lovell being the apparent exception, for now). The BRA continues to issue RFPs for their many sites and can't seem to get anyone to bite. At least not anyone that they are confident working with.

I read or heard recently (on the radio maybe?) that there is something like 10,000 daily commuters who work downtown, and something like 2,000 residents downtown. But of those 10,000 commuters and of those 2,000 residents, only about 100 or so fall into both categories (living and working downtown). I don't remember who did this study, but will try to find out. If it is remotely close to true, it says something about a city of 75,000 if only 100 downtown employees actually live downtown.

In other 'news' -

It's neat to see Kalamazoo's Burdick street featured on this PBS special, alongside roads like Woodward Avenue, Detroit, and Fifth Avenue, NY.

Quote:
Kalamazoo Mall featured on PBS special about streets that changed America
Franque Thompson | Newschannel 3
June 4, 2018

The Kalamazoo Mall will be one of 10 places in the nation featured as one of the streets that changed America in an upcoming PBS special. Lynn Houghton, mall curator, said hundreds of cities followed Kalamazoo's lead after seeing the success it had with the mall and Kalamazoo was affectionately named Mall City USA after the success of the development. The Kalamazoo Mall is still one of the most vibrant places in the city and still holds part of the vision Austrian developer Victor Gruen had for the space when it first opened in 1959, a place for people to shop, eat, socialize and do business...
And this recent article does not do much to inspire confidence for the 'revived' downtown arena plan. WMU didn't even know about it until the media broke the news, and they would likely need to be a stakeholder in it, in order for it to succeed. I'm surprised to say that I am inclined to agree with many of the commenters on the article, who point out that right after the earlier proposal lost steam when the recession hit, Western and KWings invested lots of money into their own, existing facilities. Why now would these entities want to entertain a completely new investment when they have current facilities that are adequate? Either way, I think the PR for this has been handled rather poorly so far.

Quote:
Western Michigan 'neutral' on proposal for arena on its property
Malachi Barrett | MLive
July 10, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Western Michigan University has no plans for property it owns in the northwest corner of downtown Kalamazoo -- land seen as the last site for a $110 million event center. Southwest Michigan First CEO Ron Kitchens said an internal group of "emerging leaders" under the age of 35 are leading efforts to build a publicly-owned sports and entertainment center at the corner of West Kalamazoo and North Westnedge avenues. Bob Miller, WMU's associate vice president for community outreach, said the university is "neutral" toward the project...
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  #300  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 11:14 AM
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Back from a few days camping up north. I have decided that I like vacation more than work...

The current DDA boundaries do cover what was once Upjohn property. Some of that is now current Zoetis and WMU property. By 'biggest private downtown employer', if you are referring to Upjohn's modern 'successor' / purchaser - Pfizer, then no, because Pfizer is technically Portage-based. The largest downtown employer is Bronson Methodist Hospital, which employs upwards of 8,000 total employees, and I think around 3,000 at its main downtown facilities. But they're tax-exempt.

I too am somewhat surprised that the current market hasn't driven development of more class A office space in the downtown core. But with the 7-story Catalyst development supposedly breaking ground soon (they did expand the perimeter construction fence last week), and with Phase 2 of The Foundry supposedly kicking off soon as well (pretty boring-looking 1 - 2 story office space), there is some stuff on the horizon.

But I would disagree that residential development has largely taken care of itself. Apart from The Exchange (billed as market-rate / 'luxury' living) I would say it seems the opposite. Private development of housing downtown is slow, and small-scale. There is tons of prime land and incentives out there for developers willing to consider a public funding component, but despite the many pleas for affordable and varied housing options in downtown and in its surrounding neighborhoods, the city can't get much kickstarted, even with local and state incentives (the new 4-story, 135-unit, mixed-use affordable housing proposal at the corner of Rose St. and Lovell being the apparent exception, for now). The BRA continues to issue RFPs for their many sites and can't seem to get anyone to bite. At least not anyone that they are confident working with.

I read or heard recently (on the radio maybe?) that there is something like 10,000 daily commuters who work downtown, and something like 2,000 residents downtown. But of those 10,000 commuters and of those 2,000 residents, only about 100 or so fall into both categories (living and working downtown). I don't remember who did this study, but will try to find out. If it is remotely close to true, it says something about a city of 75,000 if only 100 downtown employees actually live downtown.
Shows you how behind I am. I thought Pfizer still had a major downtown presence if even greatly reduced. I guess then it's not really a big deal if they leave out the former Upjohn complex, as I between WMU (tax-exempt) and Zoetis, I imagine that that's not a lot of money and they'd likely want to be able to keep it out of the DDA to market it more easily.

As for residential development, I guess I also overstated the amount of it. But what I was getting at is that relative to commercial development in say the last 15-20 years, that most development downtown - and I was talking mainly conversions into lofts and such - has been more residential than commercial, right? Development of housing may be slow, but I can't really remember the last time there was any significant office building built downtown. More than that, as you revealed it seems the city has spent much more of its time and effort into developing housing downtown than it has commercial space.

It just seems to me that it'd be easier for Kalamazoo to try and land some bigger downtown employers to spur larger-scale residential developers, because it seems doing is it the other way around hasn't been working. But this is true of most of Michigan's cities. I think we've reached a point in a lot of these cities where attracting residents for "downtown amenities/living" instead of attracting downtown jobs to lure residents has kind of diminishing returns; we've kind of maxed out the "people who want to live downtown because of the cool shops/parks" category of potential downtown residents.
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