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Old Posted Apr 1, 2008, 7:35 PM
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Flint development news

I thought I would start a thread for all of the development news from Flint, since many on this forum have at least a passing interest in what is happening there, but may not keep current on the news.



http://www.mlive.com/flintjournal/in...ale_of_fl.html

Talks continuing on sale of Flint's Character Inn
by Ron Fonger | The Flint Journal
Monday March 31, 2008, 6:30 PM

FLINT, MICHIGAN -- The Crim Fitness Foundation's offer to buy the Character Inn remains in limbo but there's a change in tone from the owner of the former Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Bill Gothard, president and founder of the Illinois-based institute in Basic Life Principles, said today that there could be news -- good news -- about the hotel in a matter of days.

Gothard initially said he was disappointed by an undisclosed offer to purchase the building from the Crim, but today he said he was "hopeful."

The Institute has been attempting to sell the property since 2005. It has not revealed an asking price.

Phil Shaltz, a Crim board member and partner with Uptown Developments, said the foundation and the institute have agreed to speak again by April 10.

"They've thrown out numbers, (and) we've thrown out numbers," Shaltz said. "We are countering each other. We're in the dating stage."

The Crim Foundation has been cautious in discussing its plans for the 16-story building while it negotiates the purchase.

"I don't know anything that is a huge stumbling block at this point," Shaltz said."




For those who don't know, it's this building:
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2008, 7:38 PM
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Demolition at Delphi Flint East to start this month
by Ron Fonger | The Flint Journal
Monday March 31, 2008, 8:11 PM


FLINT, Michigan -- Much of the Delphi Flint East complex is about to meet the wrecking ball, permanently knocking out what has been an industrial giant on Flint's East Side.

A Delphi official confirmed the demolition plans Monday and said the sprawling complex of buildings would be dismantled starting later this month.

Two plants still in use by Delphi within the complex -- one of which manufactures vehicle instrument clusters and one of which produces a gasoline tank part -- will remain for now, said Delphi spokesman Brad Jackson.

Other buildings on the site, including power plant and water treatment facilities, are coming down.

"It was like a bustling little city when I hired in ... (now) we're the last boneyard," said retiree Dale Mark of Genesee Township.

Delphi's presence at Flint East has been on the decline for years, dropping from about 7,000 as recently as 1996 to 3,500 in 2003 to about 1,100 today.

In 2005, the company announced it would drop its spark plug production at the complex, costing Flint East an important product with a rich history.

Since then, UAW officials have scrambled to save some jobs for Local 651, succeeding last year in signing a memorandum of understanding that has led to a new General Motors Service and Parts Operations packaging center on Davison Road.

Former workers and families of retirees will have to hurry to take a last look at the once-bustling complex next door to the new SPO plant.

Jackson said he wasn't sure how long the demolition work will take but said arrangements have been made to save historical items.

Jeff Taylor, curator of collections at Sloan Museum, said some items have already been saved, including a three-wheel bicycle used inside the plants, signs and a number of paintings.

There are already plans to save a series of tiles manufactured by Flint Faience & Tile Co. at the site. The company manufactured decorative tiles with the same machinery and materials used in making spark plugs.

The tile operations were a subsidiary of the Champion Ignition Co., predecessor of GM's AC Spark Plug Division.

Taylor said he also wants to discuss what will happen to a large outdoor clock near Dort Highway although there is no agreement yet about what will happen to it.

"Legally it belongs to the demolition company," he said. "The thing about the clock is -- it's like the old factory whistles. If you lived there, it became a part of your life."
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Old Posted Apr 1, 2008, 7:40 PM
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In a related story to the above-mentioned demo of the Delphi East plant:


New General Motors plant comes to Genesee County; SPO facility puts Delphi East employees back to work
by Melissa Burden | The Flint Journal
Monday March 31, 2008, 6:56 PM


BURTON, Michigan -- At least a few hundred people -- mostly workers from the nearby Delphi Flint East --are expected to be employed at a new General Motors Service and Parts Operations facility on Davison Road.

The SPO Davison Road Packaging Center, which will handle packaging work of SPO parts that previously was outsourced, began operations with some employees in March, said Pam Flores, a SPO spokeswoman.

"We anticipate we'll be fully operational in the second half of this year," she said.

UAW Vice President Cal Rapson said 250 laid-off Delphi Flint East workers have applied to work at the renovated SPO facility. He said about 33 employees are already there and others will filter in at a rate of about 45 per month.

The exact number of workers expected to be employed there remains uncertain.

New off-the-street hires aren't expected, at least not now.

The work stems from an agreement between GM, Delphi and the UAW to maintain work for employees of the downsized Delphi Flint East -- part of which is set to be demolished starting later this month.

"We forecast the manpower needed for this new facility will come from Delphi Flint East employees as a result of the UAW-Delphi-GM labor agreement that was ratified in the summer of 2007," said Dan Flores, a GM spokesman.

The new SPO work is in addition to the work on three new engines promised to the Flint area in GM-UAW contract.

The majority of workers at the new SPO facility will be brought in under the second-tier wage and benefit schedule approved under the UAW-GM contract last fall, with most workers earning about $14 an hour. Packaging center workers will be represented by UAW Local 651.

Local 651 President Art Reyes said the hiring at the new SPO facility is a significant development.

"We're starting to see the fruits of that agreement," Reyes said. "Any new work is a positive. We're glad to see that staring now."

New SPO employee Lisa Crannie, 37, of Burton said she was laid off from Delphi Flint East in October and began work at the new facility a few weeks ago.

Crannie, who had worked for Delphi about a year and a half, said she's happy to be working again.

"It's a new facility. I think it's a good opportunity for the area, hopefully a way to keep some of the work in Flint," she said.

Delphi workers who were with the company before it spunoff from General Motors in 1999 will retain their GM seniority, Dan Flores said. Those who joined Delphi after the spinoff will be treated as new GM hires with seniority starting on their hire date at the new facility, he said.

While the UAW and GM laud the work, it will have a ripple effect.

At least one local auto supplier, Landaal Packaging Systems in Burton, expects to lay off up to 60 workers because of SPO's insourcing.

Erich Merkle, vice president of forecasting for auto consulting firm IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids, said insourcing is tough on suppliers and their employees. He said suppliers within the past 10 years had been ramping up products and hiring workers for outsourced automaker work.

"The worker has really become more of like a hot potato," he said. "Nobody can really afford to keep folks on the payroll."

Merkle said he expects to see more auto supplier bankruptcies and closures due to automaker changes.

"You just can't keep doing this to the supply base," he said. "You're taking work away from the supply base at a time when they can't afford to lose the work because the volumes are declining and the economy is really slowing down."

The agreement between the UAW, Delphi and GM provided that a Flint-area presence would be maintained at Delphi Flint East, that new work -- via GM -- would be brought in as old work departs and after 2008, Delphi would have no responsibility for hourly employees at the Flint complex.

There are about 1,100 workers at Delphi Flint East, said Brad Jackson, a Delphi Corp. spokesman.

Rapson said there are almost 500 people doing instrument clusters in one building on Delphi Flint East. Those people are working for Delphi through the end of this year, then will work for either a third party that would supply GM or for GM itself, he said.

Journal staff writer Ron Fonger contributed to this report.
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  #4  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2008, 11:10 PM
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Awesome,

THanks for the update. As a kid who grew up in GB and went to high school on the north end of Flint, I am always excited to hear what is going on. It amazes me, although it shouldn't, how both Flint's and Detroit's life cycles mimick each other. Redevelopment of downtowns are supposed to be driving the rebirth, along with university developments.

Please post as much info on downtown development as you can. Restaurants, theaters, retail, etc.

THanks,

J
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2008, 9:27 PM
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Hotel Sold to Crim

Crim and Character sign sale agreement
FLINT
THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION
Thursday, April 17, 2008
By Ron Fonger
rfonger@flintjournal.com • 810.766.6317

FLINT - The purchase agreement for the Crim Fitness Foundation to buy the Character Inn has been signed, the organization's chief executive officer said Wednesday.

"This building is one part of the vision we have for the work we hope to do," said Gerry Myers, Crim chief executive officer.

The foundation was expected to issue a news release with additional details of the purchase today.

The sale had been expected and had been agreed to in principle last week by the foundation and the property owner, the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

Neither side has disclosed a purchase price for the 16-story former Hyatt Regency hotel.

The institute has been trying to sell the hotel for the past few years after buying it and operating programs and hosting events there in 2000.

Sale of the hotel is contingent on a review of the property to check its condition, Crim officials have said.


-----------------------------------------------------------------

Great news, IMHO. For those who may not be aware, the Crim hosts the 3rd largest 10-mile run in the nation every August through downtown Flint. They have also begun to organize a half-marathon in Oakland County. I don't see the Crim buying this building if they don't have a feasible goal to make it successful.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2008, 9:48 PM
robk1982 robk1982 is offline
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New tourism commercial

What do YOU think? Make you want to visit?

http://blog.mlive.com/newsnow_impact...ISCOVERIES.mp3
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Old Posted Apr 20, 2008, 2:21 AM
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That (sale of the hotel) really is great news. From what I heard the IBLP was a very strange religious organization who didn't do a great job of boosting the hotels viability, anyway.

I still can't figure out from short news piece, though, if the Crim is buying this with the intention own and/or operate this place, or if they are buying it to flip it. I'd assume they will own it, and hopefully they will find a name-brand operator to once again make this the premier hotel of the city.

Hotel:


YrVelouria - http://www.flickr.com/photos/yrvelouria/

Last edited by LMich; Apr 20, 2008 at 3:21 AM.
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2008, 4:41 AM
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From what I've heard, the Crim is indeed looking for a "name-brand operator" to run the hotel while they make part of the building into some sort of a fitness center.
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Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 3:57 AM
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Thanks for posting these, I need to get back to Flint sometime.
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  #10  
Old Posted May 17, 2008, 11:39 PM
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New Flint Photos

Got a new camera the other day (Fujifilm Finepix S700) and thought I would go test it out downtown and show the (limited) progress that has been made on the various construction sites.

Looks like they've taken some time off


Wade Trim Building....looking good






Community Foundation Building.....close to being done?


Rowe Inc. Building...finally showing some progress after the collapse


One of the two new arches down by the county courthouse


He's serious
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Old Posted May 17, 2008, 11:54 PM
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http://www.mlive.com/flintjournal/in...overturns.html

Quote:
Genesee County judge overturns arbitrator's multi-million dollar price tag on Genesee Towers
by Shena Abercrombie | The Flint Journal
Saturday May 17, 2008, 3:04 PM

FLINT, Michigan -- A Genesee County judge has overturned an arbitrator's ruling that the city must pay millions of dollars to take over the dilapidated Genesee Towers in downtown Flint.

Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey Neithercut confirmed the Friday ruling but said he could not comment on his decision.

Arbitrator Valdemar Washington, himself a former Genesee circuit judge, had ruled the city would have to pay more than $6 million to Genesee Towers owners Kumar and Sasikala Vemulapalli to take over the site.

Downtown leaders have long wanted to put new development on the property and renovate the aging and vacant structure.

Mayor Don Williamson said today that he knew nothing about Neithercut's decision.

"I hope it's right," he said in response to news that Neithercut had issued the opinion.

Said City Attorney Trachelle Young: "I have not heard anything at all about that. We are fighting vigorously in that regard, but I have not heard a single thing."

The Journal could not reach the Vemulapallis for comment this afternoon.


Good news for now, but I expect there will be some appeal. Hopefully logic will prevail and there will be a quick compromise.
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Old Posted May 18, 2008, 2:27 AM
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Ha! I was watching "Off The Record", a political PBS roundtable about Michigan that's been on for years, and state Democratic chairman slammed Williamson as a Republican in disguise for having donated to Bush. lol It's silly, they have this little running fued and it's amusing. Let's just say that I think Williamson has been great for Flint (at least better than the former mayor), but I'm not exactly sure I'd like to see him as governor. lol

You mean to tell me Biggby's is in Flint, too? They are setting up everywhere, it seems. BTW, better slow and steady progress than none at all. Saginaw Street looks to be filling up nicely. It reminds me of what happened to Washington Square here in Lansing that's filled in nicely after years of neglect.
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Old Posted May 18, 2008, 3:15 AM
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Yeah, I really don't know that Williamson could be categorized as either a Democrat or Republican. He's more of a "I'm going to do things my way (however crazy it is) so watch out" kind of guy.

I was actually just downtown Lansing for only the second time in my life last week (minus the trip to the Capitol when I was in elementary school), and I must say that I was impressed. Seems like they are doing things right.
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Old Posted May 19, 2008, 8:45 PM
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http://www.mlive.com/flintjournal/in...wner_have.html

Quote:
City, Genesee Towers owner have three weeks to select a new arbitrator after judge's ruling
by Joe Lawlor | The Flint Journal
Monday May 19, 2008, 11:23 AM

FLINT, Michigan -- It's back to the drawing board for Genesee Towers.

Genesee Circuit Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut vacated an arbitrator's ruling that granted the owner of the dilapidated Towers -- Kumar and Sasikala Vemulapalli -- $6 million.

The city and the Vemulapallis have three weeks to choose a new arbitrator, Neithercult ruled.

"It was a wonderful decision," City Attorney Trachelle Young said this morning. The city would have had to pay the Vemulapallis $6 million to take over the building if the arbitrator's ruling had stuck. "We thought that the arbitrator's award was a manifest injustice to everybody."

The city has plans to demolish the Towers once it gains ownership.

Neithercut ruled that arbitrator Valdemar Washington overstepped his authority by considering whether the city had contributed to the dilapidation of Genesee Towers.

"....it is clear that instead of merely determining a fair value for the building, that (Washington) found that the City abused its powers against the Vemulapallis to their detriment. Accordingly, because the Arbitrator had no authority to make those determinations, the City was necessarily denied a fair arbitration process," Neithercut wrote in a ruling issued on Friday.

Vemulapalli has owned the towers, located on East First Street in downtown, since 1997, when he purchased it for $500,000. The city listed the value at $7 million then, and did not reassess the building's value after it was damaged in a flood, according to Washington's initial ruling.

Attorneys for the Vemulapallis could not be reached for comment.

Neithercut confirmed the ruling to The Flint Journal on Friday, but details of the case were not available until today.
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Old Posted May 20, 2008, 1:09 AM
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I swear, Genesee towers will sit there until it falls over one day. I can't imagine the state its in. I walked inside the parking garage almost 3 years ago before they put the fencing up and there was severe deterioration in the support columns. Holes were appearing everywhere in the floors slabs, and there was big chunks of concrete scattered everywhere. I can't imagine the building have any value, just the land.

And no offense, but nothing has happened to Rowe. It's looked like that since they cleaned up after the collapse. The corrugated steel set diagonally on the trusses hasn't even moved the last few visits I made in the past year.


Nice pictures though. There is a lot of great stuff happening, and definitely a lot more stuff to come. I went to a city planning commission meeting once, and there's a whole bunch more redevelopment projects in line for downtown. It's only going to be a few more years till you see a busy and vibrant Saginaw St.
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Old Posted May 20, 2008, 1:34 AM
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Hayward,

The trusses weren't even up the last time I went down there, so yes, there has been at least some progress. I won't argue about the rest of the building.


First picture was from last November, and the second was from last week.



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Old Posted May 21, 2008, 2:36 AM
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You are correct. My pictures form last year do show the trusses up, but they were there after the building failed. They were removed and replaced in the photos I took on my last visit earlier this year. It appears I skipped the moment in which they had been removed.

Regardless, the building is ridiculously slow.
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Old Posted May 29, 2008, 4:58 PM
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Durant Hotel Renovation could begin soon

http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?se...cal&id=6126274

Pick-Durant Hotel redevelopment enters new phase
Tuesday, May 06, 2008 | 7:22 PMStory Media Top Stories
Work may begin next month
By Dawn Jones

FLINT (WJRT) -- (05/06/08)--Plans to redevelop the Pick-Durant Hotel in downtown Flint have entered a new phase.

The developers say they hope to begin working on the building as early as next month.

The developers presented their plans last week to the Genesee Historic District Commission. They were approved.

And developer Richard Karp says they are just waiting now for the city of Flint to issue the building permits.

The Pick-Durant Hotel was built right in the heart of Flint back in 1920.

"The first floor was very elaborate with faux finish marble features in the foyer," said Dave White.

"And then it had a wonderful dining room, which I believe was probably originally the ballroom with an orchestra pit kind of on the second level."
It was a stunning attraction.

"Its heyday was probably from the 1930s to the late '50s," White said. "Then, of course, it closed in 1973." And it has sat empty and boarded up for more than 35 years at the center of much public debate.

White sits on the Genesee Historic District Commission Board.
"As a preservationist, we are just thrilled that a developer has been found and is going to turn the lights back on in this historic building," he said.

The building is owned by the Genesee County Land Bank. Plans are to turn the building into a stunning attraction again that includes 109 upscale apartments.

The developer says if there are no snags or delays in the permitting process, the project will begin soon with a completion date of September 2009.
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Old Posted May 30, 2008, 4:03 AM
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I hade no idea that there was even a viable plan out for the thing. Better yet, I had no idea Richard Karp, the Lansing developer who redeveloped the Arbaugh, is going to be apart of this.

Here's what the Arbaugh underwent:

From this...



To that...



To this...



I can't wait to see what Karp's got in store for the Durant.
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Old Posted May 30, 2008, 4:18 AM
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I did some preliminary architectural work on the Durant a while back! Glad things are finally moving along again!
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