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deja vu Mar 12, 2017 9:48 PM

KALAMAZOO / PORTAGE | Development Thread
This thread is for all general development in the Kalamazoo-Portage-Battle Creek areas. The project rundowns will be updated soon!
Image: Downtown Kalamazoo, as viewed from Arcadia Creek Festival Place
Image Source: Wikipedia

Brief Background:

Kalamazoo is a unique city in Southwest Michigan. It is situated equidistant between Chicago and Detroit (less than 150 miles from each). The city holds its own as a hub for arts, culture, industry, and education, not to mention the many breweries and dining establishments frequented by locals and visitors. Likely the most famous of these is Bell’s Brewery and Eccentric Café. Kalamazoo is characterized by more than 20 distinct neighborhoods, many with active neighborhood associations. The city is remarkably diverse for a place of its size. It was settled around 1829 by westward-migrating white settlers. It was later incorporated as a village in 1843, and it eventually became a city in 1884. Before white settlement, the land was home to the Potawatomi Nation. Prior to that, Natives of the Hopewell civilization called the land home.
Image: Kalamazoo Satellite View
Image Source: Google Maps (April 01, 2017)
Image: Kalamazoo Neighborhoods Map
Image Source:Wikipedia


As of the 2016 census numbers, the City of Kalamazoo has a population of around 76,000, and it is the largest city in Southwest Michigan. When combined with the neighboring city of Portage located immediately to its south, which has a population of about 48,500, the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area anchors a population of about 335,000 persons. Add to this the population center of nearby Battle Creek, and the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek-Portage CSA ranks / ties for third in the state of Michigan, coming in at around 524,000 (source: Wikipedia). Both Kalamazoo and Portage are growing slowly but steadily, and every municipality in the county experienced growth on some level between 2010 and 2016:


The area has a strong manufacturing history. Some historic industries included paper, stoves, automobiles, musical instruments, cigars, fishing gear (Shakespeare), and celery. Kalamazoo is where Gibson Guitars was founded, and it is where the Checker Cab was manufactured by Checker Motors Company. Today, the Kalamazoo-Portage area manufacturing scene has evolved to more high-tech and healthcare-related specialties, and it is also still host to a lot of plant nurseries and greenhouses. It is home to Fortune 500 company Stryker Corporation, a medical technologies leader. Other prominent businesses invested in the area include:

• Fabri-Kal (thermoformed packaging)
• Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet designs (outdoor kitchen equipment)
• Parker Hannifin (hydraulic components)
• Pfizer Corporation (ranks among the world’s largest Pharmaceutical businesses)
• Zoetis (world's largest producer of animal medicines)
• Eaton Corporation (Power Management / Distribution)
• Bell’s Brewery (Beer Brewing / Distribution)
Image: Gibson Inc. Interior, 1936
Image Source: KPL

Arts / Culture:

There are not many cities the size of Kalamazoo that can boast such a diversity of culture. The area has many museums, performance venues, organizations, and events dedicated to the arts. Perhaps most well-known is the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, hosted in the city each year by the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation. This weeks-long event attracts talent and visitors from around the world. The Kalamazoo Civic Theater has been active as a community theater ensemble since 1929. Also not to be overlooked is the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the third largest symphony orchestra in the state, with a nearly 100-year history.
Image: Bell's Eccentric Café Interior
Image Source:Crain's Detroit


Kalamazoo is home to two large hospitals - Bronson Healthcare and Borgess
Health. Both have roots dating to the nineteenth century, and both hold a large influence on development in the area. The city is also home to the Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital, the largest mental health institution in the state, originally housed in a Kirkbride-planned building.
Image: Bronson Atrium by night
Image Source: CSM Group

Higher Education:

Kalamazoo is home to three large institutions of higher education: Western Michigan University, a public research university founded in 1903 with a student body around 24,000; Kalamazoo College, a private liberal arts college founded in 1833, with a much smaller student body of around 1,400; and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a 2-year community college system founded in 1966 and serving a student body of around 10,000. All three of these schools have a lot to do with the economic growth and diversity in the city.

Development - Historic:

Development-wise, Kalamazoo has had its fair share in the history of larger development trends. The city is home to what can be considered the worlds’ first modern, outdoor shopping mall, designed by Victor Gruen in the 1950s. Although it has evolved, it is still very much a part of the thriving downtown business area today.
Image: The Kalamazoo Mall, circa 1960s
Image Source: MI Genweb

The city has been a leader in historic preservation and adaptive reuse. It has one of the most active Historic Preservation Commissions in the state, and it is the smallest city in the state that manages to maintain this full-time department, dedicated to promoting historic preservation. Because of this, Kalamazoo boasts a variety of well-preserved structures from every architectural style from the 1830s on, especially Art Deco. That said, Kalamazoo was also witness to 'urban renewal' efforts beginning in the 1960s, like so many other cities. The Kalamazoo Center project meant demolition for historic structures that didn't fit the 'modern' identity that developers were striving to achieve.
Image: Kalamazoo Center, renovated and known now as The Radisson Plaza Hotel, was at the center of Kalamazoo's urban renewal efforts.
Image Source: Byce Associates

Kalamazoo also played host to several historically significant planned communities, two of which were spearheaded by citizens that enlisted the design efforts of Frank Lloyd Wright. These two Usonian communities, one in the Kalamazoo Winchell neighborhood (Parkwyn Village) and the other near Galesburg (The Acres / Galesburg Country Homes), are to this day some of the few planned communities designed by Wright that were actually built and continue to thrive.
Image: An early proposal for the Parkwyn Village community, indicating Wright's design for circular lots (which was ultimately not accepted by the FHA).
Image Source: Parkwyn Village Association

Development - Today:

So much exciting development is happening today in the greater Kalamazoo area, and it is certainly worthy of having its own development thread. Below is a list of some current projects and development-related news for both Kalamazoo and Portage, Michigan. Since this is a new thread, information for significant developments that have been recently completed is also provided, to give a better picture of just how much change there has been in recent times. Updates will be made periodically; projects listed below are meant to be a good start – but if there are projects you know of that are missing from this thread, please let the group know!

All original image sources credited.

Kalamazoo - Current Projects Under Construction:a

Westgate - Phase 1

Construction Cost: $100 Million
Location: Maple Hill Drive (North of West Main St, East of US 131)
Involved Parties: AVB, Inc. (Developer)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: A large, 140-acre development, to include several big box store sites, four restaurant sites (likely national-chain), and three hotel sites, two of which have been claimed by a Holiday Inn & Suites and a Holiday Inn Express.
Image: Developer's Plan
Image Source:MLive

The Corner@Drake

Construction Cost:$70 Million
Location: Northwest corner of Stadium Drive and Drake Road
Involved Parties: Costco, Field & Stream (Anchor Tenants), Consumers Credit Union, AVB, Inc. (CM)
Status: Under Construction, Multiple Phases Complete
Summary: A large shopping plaza, anchored by Costco and Field & Stream. Outlying buildings are under construction currently, for leasable retail and restaurant spaces.
Image: An early rendering of the entire development
Image Source: AVB, Inc
Image: Developer Plan
Image Source: AVB, Inc
Image: Drake Road Tap House, under construction
Image Source: MLive

The Exchange Building
Dedicated Thread Link

Construction Cost: $53 Million
Location: 151 W. Michigan Ave (SE corner of W. Michigan and Rose)
Involved Parties: PlazaCorp, Phoenix Properties, Chemical Bank, Byce Engineering & Architecture, Orion Construction
Status: Under Construction
Summary: A 15-story, 340,000 SF mixed-use tower that broke ground this Spring. Completion expected in 2018.
Image Source: MLive

Consumers Credit Union Headquarters

Construction Cost: Unknown / Withheld ($50 Million?)
Location: 7200 Elm Valley Drive
Involved Parties: HOK (Design Architect), Bosch Architecture (Local Consulting Firm), AVB, Inc. (CM), Consumers Credit Union
Status: Under Construction - December 2017 completion
Summary: New corporate headqua­­­rters on a 22-acre site with natural setting. The 89,000 SF, three-story building represents a significant expansion and upgrade from current facilities on Stadium Drive. Also included is a new 108,00 SF parking deck.
Image: Construction progress, June 2017
Image Source: My own

EPA Kalamazoo River 'Area 2' Superfund Cleanup

Construction Cost: $46 Million
Location: 2 miles of Kalamazoo River, between Plainwell and Otsego City Dam
Involved Parties: EPA, Georgia Pacific, Allied Paper Inc. Trustees, other Various Paper Manufacturers
Status: Under Construction
Summary: The current phase of river cleanup involves a five-year, $46 million plan to decontaminate a portion of the Kalamazoo River that runs between Plainwell and Otsego City Dam. This is part of a larger designated superfund site that was polluted by paper manufacturing for nearly a century, called "The Allied Paper Inc / Portage Creek / Kalamazoo River Superfund Site". The site includes 80 miles of the river, plus surrounding creeks, landfills, paper factory properties,, etc. It is divided into six areas and it spans across two counties. It has been on the national priority list since 1990. The project may also include removal of the Otsego City Dam.
Image: EPA map of Area 2
Image Source: WMUK

Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department

Construction Cost: $15.7 Million
Location: 400 Bryant St
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo County, PlazaCorp (Developer / Property Owner)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: In June 2017, the County Health Department confirmed its plans to relocate its primary facilities to the former Illinois Envelope Company Building, located within the Allied Paper Superfund Site. The existing 3-story masonry building is listed on the National Register, and is approximately 45,500 SF. It is expected to be fully renovated by February, 2018. The County will utilize the building on long-term lease from PlazaCorp.
Image Source: Wikipedia

The Foundry - Phase 1

Construction Cost: $10 million
Location: 600 E. Michigan Ave.
Involved Parties: Treystar (Developer), CSM Group (CM)
Status: Construction on Phase 1 is wrapping up - partial occupancy, restaurant work is ongoing.
Summary: Phase 1 is a 35,000 SF development on a brownfield redevelopment site, to include a 6,000 SF restaurant and office space for up to 200 people. Project also includes a partial extension of Harrison Street south, past Michigan Avenue, to eventually connect to S. Pitcher Street.
Image: Artist's Conceptual Rendering, The Foundry, Phase 1
Image: Original building, which is being remodeled to become a new restaurant.
Image Source: My own

The Foundry, Phase 2 / Harrison Road Extension

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: SE of E. Michigan Ave. / Harrison Rd Extension
Involved Parties: Treystar (Developer), CSM Group (CM)
Status: Pre-Construction (Site Clearing)
Summary: 8 acre brownfield redevelopment in east side / River's Edge district. New single-story office and residential building between 45,000 and 60,000 SF. Up to 10,000 SF may be added on a second level for additional residential uses.

The Shoppes on Westnedge

Construction Cost: $9.4 Million
Location: Former Hardings Market, Howard Street and S. Westnedge
Involved Parties: City of Kalamazoo, Park Street Market
Status: Under Construction
Summary: With the assistance of funding from the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, a new grocery store is planned to open in 2019 at the former location of a Hardings Market. Up to four additional stores and a space for a farmers market and food trucks are also in the planning stages.
Image: Construction progress as of 6/18/17
Image Source: My own photo

North Woods Village Memory Care

Construction Cost: $8 million
Location: 6203 Stadium Drive (Oshtemo Township)
Involved Parties: True North Group, LLC. (owner), Lake City Bank (financer)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: 41,000 SF facility, to house up to 61 Alzheimer's residents. The first in the state for Indiana-based True North Group, this project is being built on the 7.5 acre site that was previously home to Sherwood Place Senior Care. Completion estimated Fall 2018.
Image Source: Mlive

YMCA Greater Kalamazoo Expansions & Renovations

Construction Cost: $6 million
Location: 1001 Maple Street, 2900 W Centre Ave (Portage)
Involved Parties: YMCA Greater Kalamazoo, AVB (CM), Tower Pinkster (Architect)
Status: Phase 2 Complete, Phase 3 Under Construction
Summary: Multi-phase project at the YMCA's Greater Kalamazoo facilities - "Building for Generations Capital Campaign." Phase 1 involved updated, gender-neutral locker rooms at the Portage location, and opened in March 2016. Phase 2 and 3 are more extensive, and at the Maple Street location. Phase 2 is complete and included a 7,300 SF addition with a multi-purpose room, youth facility, elevator, kitchenette, offices, and storage. Phase 3 has broken ground, and involves a 6,000 SF addition for a new ADA warm water pool. There is also 15,000 SF of interior renovations across the phases. It will replace an existing, smaller pool. Construction is expected to wrap up in Spring 2018.
Image: Phase 2 completed, November 2017
Image Source: My own
Image: Phase 3 Pool Rendering
Image Source: Tower Pinkster

New RX Optical Laboratories Inc. New Corporate Headquarters Building

Construction Cost: $6 million
Location: 1700 S. Park St
Involved Parties: RX Optical
Status: Under Construction
Summary: A new 22,000 SF administrative space to house the 69-year-old Kalamazoo-based company, which has over 50 locations in Michigan and Indiana.
Image: Construction progress, July 2017
Image Source: My own

Peregrine 100 - Phase 2

Construction Cost: $5 Million
Location: Corner of W. Michigan Ave. and S. Burdick St.
Involved Parties: Peregrine Realty (Tom Huff, Owner)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: Phase 2 will include more apartment units and development of the vacant, historic 8,000 SF former bank space, which at one time was the home of First National Bank of Kalamazoo.
Image Source: My own photo

Delta Hotel by Marriott - Conversion

Construction Cost: $4 Million
Location: US-131 and Stadium Drive
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Hotel Group LLC (Owner), Delta Hotels by Marriott (Property Management)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: Renovation of an existing Holiday Inn hotel and rehabilitation of the adjacent, 24,000 SF former Holiday Lanes bowling alley into a conference center.
Image: The existing hotel, with empty bowling alley towards the top.
Image Source: Google Maps

Gallagher's / The Shoppes at Stadium Village

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 4201 Stadium Drive
Involved Parties: Gallagher's Eatery & Pub, Callender Commercial (Developer),
Status: Under Construction
Summary: Redevelopment of a long-standing local eatery into new mixed retail and restaurant space. 10,000 SF of remodeling plus an 11,000 SF new building on the property. A portion of the original building will be retained by Gallagher's.
Image Source: MLive

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail Connections / Extensions

Construction Cost: $2 Million?
Location: Varies
Involved Parties: City of Kalamazoo, Portage City
Status: Under Construction (ongoing connections)
Summary: Ongoing work to connect portions of the KRVT to a larger network of non-motorized trails. Recent work includes the completion of a non-motorized route through downtown Kalamazoo. On track are more connections to link to Portage, Battle Creek and beyond - about 200 miles total trails through southwest Michigan.
Image: New section of the KRVT along Portage Creek -the first in a series of planned connections to the Portage non-motorized network.
Image Source: Second Wave Media
Image: Route of the downtown trail segment, completed Fall 2017
Image Source: Patronicity

381 / 383 South Pitcher Street

Construction Cost: $2 Million?
Location: 381 / 383 South Pitcher Street
Involved Parties: PS 383 LLC (Developer)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: PS 383 LLC (an affiliate of PlazaCorp) purchased the extensively contaminated brownfield site in January 2016. Built in 1887, the site was the former location of a Checker Cab Manufacturing plant, and later severed several printing companies and other heavy manufacturing uses. The developer is now paying to decontaminate it and remodel it for leasing to several tenants. The project is expected to include a showroom for performance vehicles and will generate 30 new full-time jobs.
Imge: Construction progress October 2017
Image Source: My own

Congregation of Saint Joseph - New Nazareth Center

Construction Cost: Unknown ($2 Million?)
Location: 3709 Nazareth Road
Involved Parties: Congregation of Saint Joseph
Status: Under Construction
Summary: The Kalamazoo Congregation of Saint Joseph (a group of Catholic nuns) is constructing a new 124,000 SF, 2-story center to house their aging and diminishing population. It is located behind their current mother house, of the which the future remains uncertain. The campus that houses the sisters was originally the home of Nazareth College, which closed in 1992.
Image: Construction progress, August 2017
Image: The existing mother house
Images Source: My own photos

216 / 220 Michigan Ave

Construction Cost: $500,000 to $1 Million
Location: 216 / 220 Michigan Ave
Involved Parties: 216 / 220 WM LLC, Orion Construction (Developer)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: Conversion of two historic properties into ground-floor retail, second floor office space, and third floor apartments. The red and white brick buildings were built in 1879. A addition is being constructed on the rear that will contain an elevator.
Images Source: My own

Trinity Temple Seventh Day Adventist Church Mixed Use Conversion

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 117 W. North St.
Involved Parties: Nelson Nave, AIA (Architect), Catalina Holdings LLC (Developer)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: A vacant church on the North Side will be converted into three apartments and office space for a dental practice. The church was constructed in 1924.
Image Source: MLive

Latitude 42 - Oshtemo Township

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: US 131 and West Main
Involved Parties: Progressive AE (Architect), Latitude 42
Status: Under Construction - scheduled late Fall 2018
Summary: A popular brewpub that opened its doors a few years ago in Portage is constructing a second location in Oshtemo Township, just west of Kalamazoo city limits. Expected completion is October/early November 2017.
Image Source: Mlive (Courtesy of Oshtemo Township)

Wightman Associates, Inc. - New Kalamazoo Office

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: Downtown / north side
Involved Parties: Wightman & Associaates, Inc. (Architect)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: The Architecture & Engineering firm of Wightman & Associates, Inc. was founded in 1949. It is currently in the process of relocating its Portage office to downtown Kalamazoo.The project involves a complete renovation of the former One-Way Products building on the north side / river's edge district. With the move, they will more than triple the SF of what they had in their current Portage office space.
Images Source: Second Wave Media / WAI

Ronin Artisan Ales

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 505 E. Kalamazoo Ave
Involved Parties: Justin Guisinger and Shane Van Liere (Owners / Founders)
Status: Under Construction - opening date has been delayed
Summary: A new microbrewery, originally planned to be open by October 2017 (has been delayed) in a vacant section of a building also occupied by Black Owl Cafe, The Final Clue and Symphony Financial Services.
Image Source: MLive

Kalamazoo – Proposed Projects:

Arcadia Commons West

Construction Cost: At least $150 - $200 million, including $80 million County Courthouse Building
Location: Downtown Kalamazoo West End, Four Blocks @ Cooley / Eleanor Sts.
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo County, City of Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University, PlazaCorp (Developer)
Status: Proposed
Summary: A redevelopment plan for four long-vacant blocks to catalyze development in the west end of downtown. Work will include a new courthouse building, private commercial development, and Western Michigan University development.
Image: Map of proposed development
Image Source: Wood TV

WMU Business Technology and Research Park (BTR Park) - Phase 2

Construction Cost: Unknown (likely tens of millions)
Location: South of Parkview along U.S. 131 (Oshtemo Township)
Involved Parties: WMU, O’Boyle, Cowell, Blalock & Associates, Inc., Fishbeck Thompson Carr & Huber Inc., others TBD
Status: Proposed (Spring 2018 groundbreaking)
Summary: This 50+ acre parcel is one of the largest undeveloped pieces of land in the area, and is located adjacent to the Asylum Lake Nature Preserve, itself the site of former Psych Hospital activities and structures. The site has an interesting history, having served as former orchards that were maintained by former residents of the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. Long-overgrown, WMU plans to expand its highly successful (and fully-built-out) BTR Park into this area.
Image: Proposed site plan
Image Source: MLive

Harrison St / River's Edge Brownfield Redevelopments

Construction Cost: Unknown (likely tens of millions)
Location: Various parcels in the River's Edge District
Involved Parties: City of Kalamazoo, NoMI (Developer), various other developers
Status: Proposed / RFPs issued
Summary: Several brownfield parcels up for redevelopment today and being promoted by the City, including:
  • 419 Harrison St (empty lot behind Checkers)
  • 525 E. Ransom St (a mostly empty lot, northwest corner of Harrison St, Gull Rd and Ransom St, across from MacKenzie's Bakery)
  • 617 Harrison St (empty lot half a block north of 525 E Ransom)
  • 655 Gull Rd (highly trafficked corner lot where North St meets Gull Rd)
  • A nearly 5-acre parcel east of Harrison and South of Gull Rd (former site of Kalamazoo Tank & Silo Co., RFP for this lot was issued July 17 and the deadline was Sept. 28).
Base Image (Map) Source: Google Maps

Allied Paper Superfund Cleanup and Redevelopment

Construction Cost: Unknown (likely tens of millions)
Location: Area bounded by Alcott, Reed, Portage, and Burdick
Involved Parties: City of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, EPA
Status: Proposed
Summary: In Fall of 2016, the EPA approved a (controversial) cleanup plan for the former Bryant / Allied Paper Mill site, referred to as "The Hybrid". Under this plan, PCB contaminants in a landfill will all be moved to one area of the site, away from Portage Creek, and then capped. The plan is that this will free 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

New 20 Story, Mixed-Use High-rise

Construction Cost: Unknown ($30 million est. 2013)
Location: Between South St and Bates Alley, 200 Block of Michigan Ave (City-owned Parking lot #1)
Involved Parties: Reedy Group (Developer)
Status: Proposed / Visionary
Summary: First proposed in 2013, this 20-story glass high-rise would be a significant game-changer for Kalamazoo's small skyline. Ryan Reedy's development group owns and manages the self-branded "Entertainment District" across Edwards street from the proposed development, in the 300 block of Michigan Ave. (shown at left in below rendering). If built, this mixed-use tower could contain 6 floors of office space, 6 floors of hotel space, 6 floors of residential, and 2 floors of banquet / event space.

WMU "The Valley" Dormitory Replacements

Construction Cost: Unknown (likely tens of millions)
Location: WMU Main Campus, "The Valley" Neighborhood
Involved Parties: WMU
Status: On Hold
Summary: Originally scheduled to begin demolition in early 2018, now indefinitely on hold. The University announced its plan in September 2017 to replace all of the first-year student dormitories in 'The Valley Neighborhood' with new dorms. The area is presently comprised of three large complexes, known as Valley I, Valley II, and Valley III. Each of these complexes currently houses approximately 1,000 students, with four connected halls per complex (12 halls total). The dorms were built in the 1960s, and are pretty typical of that time (and quite sparse by today's standards), consisting of small suites where two student rooms share a connecting bathroom.
Image Source: Google Maps

Rose Street Market / Boutique Hotel

Construction Cost: Unknown ($10 - $20 million?)
Location: 303 N Rose St
Involved Parties: PlazaCorp (Developer)
Status: Proposed
Summary: Planned conversion of the former Rose Street Market Banquet Center (originally the Masonic Hall) into a new Boutique Hotel, including a new addition.
Image Source: My own photo

Harrison Circle

Construction Cost: $15 million (in 2015)
Location: 525 E. Ransom St, River's Edge District
Involved Parties: NoMI (Developer)
Status: Proposed
Summary: One of the brownfield sites in the River's Edge district that the City is trying to get redeveloped. The original proposal for Harrison Circle fell through in 2015. That was to be a $15 million, five-story development, including 40,000 SF of business and 30,000 SF for 100 apartment units. Two primary reasons cited for its demise were the delay in constructing the roundabout and two prospective tenants pulling out. Now that the roundabout is complete, we may see a revival of this proposal soon.
Image Source: MLive

Newell Rubbermaid - Kalamazoo BTR Park Expansions

Construction Cost: $7.3 Million
Location: WMU BTR Park
Involved Parties: WMU, Newell Brands, Perkins + Will?
Status: Proposed
Summary: Newell plans to expand its design capabilities in Kalamazoo to accommodate newly acquired additional product lines. The current product design and testing facility will be expanded with a $7.3 million, +/- 22,000 SF investment that is expected to create around 80 new design jobs.
Image: Interior view of the current 40,000 SF design center, deigned by Perkins + Will.
Image Source:

116 W Cedar St. (Former Fire Station) Redevelopment

Construction Cost: Unknown ($5 - 10 Million?)
Location: 116 W Cedar St.
Involved Parties: City of Kalamazoo
Status: RFQ Issued to developers
Summary: In September 2017, City officials issued an RFQ to developers interested in rehabbing this vacant fire station into a mixed-use community asset. According to the RFQ, preferred development for this site would rehabilitate and creatively reuse the existing public safety building with an active commercial use on the main floor. Additional floors or expanding the footprint of the building, especially to provide downtown housing options is a possibility. The RFQ includes the following proposed schedule:
  • RFQ posted: September 20, 2017
  • Deadline for proposals: December 1, 2017
  • Evaluation period: December 1 – December 14, 2017
  • Finalist team notified: December 15, 2017
  • Finalist presentation to evaluation committee: January 2018
  • Finalize terms of a redevelopment and purchase agreement: February 2018
Image: Current View from Cedar St
Image: City Planners' proposed massing
Images Source:

WMU Student Center / Waldo Library Expansion

Construction Cost: Unknown ($5 - 10 Million?)
Location: Western Michigan University Main Campus
Involved Parties: Perkins + Will (Architect), WMU
Status: Proposed / In Design
Summary: Demolition of a portion of McCracken Hall occurred in 2017 to make room for a new student center, that will potentially include an expansion to the Waldo Library as well. The project is in planning stages, with the goal of creating a new integrated learning and activity hub on campus. Plans were originally supposed to be publically displayed towards the end of June 2017. No additional info yet.
Image Source: Google Maps

Kalamazoo Human Society - New Crucial Care and Resource Center for Animals

Construction Cost: $5 Million
Location: River Street & I-94 Business Loop (Comstock Township)
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Humane Society, Kingscott Associates, Inc. (Architect)
Status: Proposed / In Design
Summary: This proposed center would replace the local Humane Society's current home with a much larger facility, equipped to handle more animals and growing services. The move would give the society a 15-acre site for future expansion, compared to the current 1/4-acre site.
Image Source: KAI

Heritage / Gibson Guitar Factory

Construction Cost: Unknown ($2 - 3 Million?)
Location: 225 Parsons Street
Involved Parties: Heritage Guitar
Status: Proposed / In Design
Summary: No public details yet. Work will possibly include conversion of the original factory space into a brewpub and guitar museum, as well as an outdoor beer garden, on kalamazoo's north side.
Image Source: My own photo

302 Academy Street

Construction Cost: Unknown ($2 - 3 Million?)
Location: 302 Academy Street
Involved Parties: Byce & Associates (Architects / Engineers)
Status: Proposed / Conceptual
Summary: If built, this project would convert a vacant church structure and provide a new 5-story addition for new residential lofts and office space that would face Bronson Park. The existing historic church structure that dates to the 1800s would be preserved.
Image Source: Byce & Associates

Advia Credit Union Administration Building

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 6404 West Main (Oshtemo Township)
Involved Parties: Advia Credit Union, Oshtemo Township, Byce & Associates (Architect)
Status: Proposed (in local approvals process)
Summary: A planned 150,000 SF, 3-tory administration building for the growing Advia Credit Union. The 37-acre development site would require conditional rezoning from residential to commercial use.
Image: Schematic development plan
Image Source: MiBiz

Kalamazoo Farmers Market Expansion

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 1204 Bank Street
Involved Parties: City of Kalamazoo
Status: Proposed
Summary: The Kalamazoo Farmer's Market pavilion could be expanding, via the City's purchase of condemned property near the current market. This is part of a three-year plan that also includes realigning Bank Street, which leads into the market, to better accommodate the increased car traffic. The popularity of the market has grown to the point that vendors are frequently turned away due to lack of space.

The Stamped Robin

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 128 Portage Street
Involved Parties: Emily Deering and Matt Caruso (Owners)
Status: Proposed / In Permitting
Summary: This new venue will offer rotating specialty cocktails and wine selections, along with lighter food options. It is expected to seat 55 to 85 patrons, including outdoor seating on a small patio.
Image: Future location of The Stamped Robin, far left of the three story building, close to the parking deck
Image Source: My own photo

Kalamazoo – Recently Completed Projects:

East End / River's Edge Roundabout

Construction Cost: $1.9 Million
Location: Intersection of Gull, Harrison and Ransom streets
Involved Parties: Wightman & Associates (Engineer), City of Kalamazoo
Status: Completed November, 2017
Summary: In May 2017, the City Commission approved plans to construct a roundabout at this busy intersection on the east end of downtown, with the goal of improving vehicular flow while decreasing pedestrian and cyclist-related dangers.
Image Source: MLive / Wightman & Associates

AMC Kalamazoo 10 / Former Alamo Drafthouse

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 180 Portage St.
Involved Parties: AMC Theatres
Status: Completed November, 2017
Summary: National theatre operator AMC took over the former Alamo Drafthouse Cinema after its closure in April 2017. Included in the change of operators was a complete interior remodel and exterior updates. Grand opening was November 2, 2017.
Image Source: My own, shortly before opening

Old National Bank Regional Banking Center

Construction Cost: Unknown ($1 - 2 Million?)
Location: 5003 Century Ave. (The Corner @ Drake Development)
Involved Parties: Old National Bank, AVB, Inc. (Developer)
Status: Completed October, 2017
Summary: New 2-story, 20,000 SF headquarters and branch for Old National Bank. Consolidates two older branch locations.
Image Source: MLive

Trader Joe's

Construction Cost: Unknown ($1 - 2 Million?)
Location: The Corner @ Drake Development
Involved Parties: Trader Joe's, AVB, Inc. (Developer), Tower Pinkster (Architect)
Status: Completed October, 2017
Summary: Kalamazoo's first Trader Joe's officially opened on October 12, 2017, in The Corner @ Drake development. The 13,000 SF natural foods grocery is the eighth Trader Joe's in Michigan and the second in western Michigan.
Image Source: WWMT (Courtesy Trader Joe's)

Peregrine 100 - Phase 1

Construction Cost: $5 Million
Location: Corner of W. Michigan Ave. and S. Burdick St.
Involved Parties: Peregrine Realty (Tom Huff, Owner)
Status: Completed Fall, 2017
Summary: Residential and commercial mixed-use development in the old National Bank and Trust Building (PNC Bank more recently). Phase 1 includes 12 luxury residential units, Phase 2 will include more units and development of the vacant, historic 8,000 SF former bank space, which at one time was the home of First National Bank of Kalamazoo. Amenities to include indoor parking, rooftop terrace, and some units with 40 ft high ceilings.
Image Source: My own photo

Kalamazoo Commons Apartment Conversion

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 165-219 E South St.
Involved Parties: Ramp 3 LLC, Meyer C. Weiner Co.
Status: Completed Fall, 2017
Summary: Conversion of 17,000 SF of retail space into (8) 1-3 bedroom apartments. Related construction included the complete reconstruction of adjacent Farmers Alley with new sidewalks, parking, lights, and landscaping.
Image: Kalamazoo Commons, with Farmers Alley
Image Source: My own

Aldi - West Main

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 5317 W. Main St.
Involved Parties: Aldi
Status Completed August, 2017
Summary: The new Aldi on West Main officially opened on August 17, 2017. It was formerly located just two storefronts away, The new Aldi's is a build-out of a former Office Depot store, and at 21,000 SF, is about 4,000 SF larger than its former location. This change marks just one of many improvements the discount grocer has been making in the area. Most of its west Michigan locations have been receiving renovations or expansions in the past few years.
Image: The new Aldi, under construction
Images Source: MLive | Mark Bugnaski

Cafe 36

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 2965 Oakland Dr.
Involved Parties: Sawall Health Foods
Status Completed August, 2017
Summary: New café on the second floor of Sawall Health Foods, in Oakwood Plaza, offering a full dining menu. Sawall's heralds itself as the Nation's oldest operating health foods store, having opened in 1936 (hence the name for the café).
Image Source: MLive | Al Jones

Artisan Sandwich Co.

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 348 S. Kalamazoo Mall
Involved Parties: Artisan Sandwich Co.
Status Completed late July, 2017
Summary: New deli-style eatery with fully organic menu and made-to-order sandwiches. 980 SF space that was previously occupied by Exquisite Hair Designs, which relocated.
Image Source: Al Jones | MLive

Water Street Coffee - Sprinkle Road

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: near the Sprinkle Rd / I-94 Interchange
Involved Parties: Water Street Coffee
Status Completed July, 2017
Summary: Water Street Coffee Joint's fifth location, on the busy South Sprinkle Road. Drive-through service only; a positive addition to a highly trafficked area, and a sign of an increased pace of development near the Sprinkle Rd / I-94 area.
Image Source:

Borgess Behavioral Crisis Center

Construction Cost: $1.5 Million
Location: 1521 Gull Road
Involved Parties: Borgess Health
Status: Completed June, 2017
Summary: A 2,500 SF, 8 bedroom suite, designed to accommodate E.R. patients with mental or behavioral problems. To be located adjacent to the existing Trauma & Emergency Center.
Image Source: MLive | Courtesy Borgess Health

Sprinkle Road Tap House

Construction Cost: $750,000 - $1 Million
Location: 5001 Circle Park Drive
Involved Parties: Millennium Restaurant Group
Status: Completed May, 2017
Summary: This 4,500 SF full-service restaurant and bar will be the third of its kind for Millennium Restaurant Group's family of local Tap House venues. The restaurant is attached to the recently completed Zeigler's Motor Sports on Sprinkle Road.
Image Source: MLive | Courtesy Millennium Restaurant Group

Pho on the Block (P.O.T.B.)

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 1301 Portage St.
Involved Parties: POTB
Status: Completed May, 2017
Summary: A modern Vietnamese fusion restaurant, constructed with the help of a community grant. Located in a restored block of the Washington Square area of the Edison neighborhood, south of downtown.
Image Source: Mark Bugnaski | MLive

Firehouse Subs

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 1750 South Drake Road
Involved Parties: Firehouse Subs, AVB (Developer)
Status: Completed May, 2017
Summary: The first Firehouse Subs in the Kalamazoo area, part of "The Corner @ Drake" development. The chain was founded by firefighters and is based out of Jacksonville, Florida.
Image Source: WKFR

Kalamazoo Mall Plaza Conversion

Construction Cost: $3 Million
Location: 157 S Kalamazoo Mall
Involved Parties: The Vernon Group LLC (Property Manager)
Status: Completed Spring, 2017
Summary: Conversion of a 4-story structure to mixed use with 22 high-end loft apartments. The renovation retains two retail shops on the ground floor facing the mall. Private parking is provided in the basement and a portion of the first floor, and commercial space also remains in a portion of the basement and the second floor. New balconies were added facing the mall.
Image Source: My own photo

New Family Health Center Clinic

Construction Cost: $15 million
Location: Alcott St. - Edison Neighborhood
Involved Parties: Family Health Center, CSM Group (CM), Eckert Wordell (Architect)
Status: Completed April 2017
Summary: A new 50,000 SF health care clinic geared towards providing health services to residents on the city's south side. The Family Health Center partnered with the City of Kalamazoo to build the clinic on a brownfield redevelopment site at the location of the former Allied Paper Company.
Image Source: MLive / Rick Chambers & Associates, LLC

Bronson Labs / Former Kalamazoo Gazette Building

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 401 S. Burdick St.
Involved Parties: Bronson Healthcare Group, CSM Group (CM)
Status: Demolition completed April 2017
Summary: Demolition of more than half of the 131,000 SF+ structure that was formerly the home of the Kalamazoo Gazette to make way for a new lab building. The property was bought by Bronson Healthcare Group in 2015 with goals to increase its downtown Kalamazoo footprint. The original portion of the structure was built in 1925 and was designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn. This portion is being preserved. New construction will include lab space and other functions.
Image: The cleared site - July 2017
Image Source: My own photo

Kelvin & Company

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 232 E Michigan Ave
Involved Parties: Kelvin & Company
Status: Completed Spring, 2017
Summary: Kalamazoo's first fast-service BBQ restaurant, featuring Urban BBQ & Casual Meats.
Image Source: Google Maps

Walnut & Park Coffee Shop

Construction Cost: $500,000
Location: 322 W. Walnut St.
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo KPEP
Status: Completed March, 2017
Summary: A new 1,300 SF coffee shop and cafe; part of the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program that will offer solid employment for men and women who are participants in KPEP's culinary arts program.
Image: Walnut & Park Coffee Shop Exterior
Image Source: MLive

Zeigler Motorsports Dealership & Entertainment Facility

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 5001 Park Circle Drive
Involved Parties: Zeigler Motorsports, Millennium Restaurant Group
Status: Completed March, 2017
Summary: A new 50-acre facility, featuring a 30-ft mountain and waterfall, birch trees, a 300 sq-ft. video wall, 36 motorcycles suspended from the ceiling, and a Tap House Restaurant & Bar, further solidifying Zeigler's standing as one of the largest motorsports dealers in the nation.
Image: New Zeigler Motorsports Showroom
Image Source: PR Web

Fuze Kitchen & Bar

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 214 E Michigan Ave
Involved Parties: Fuze Kitchen & Bar
Status: Completed Winter 2016 / 2017
Summary: A new dining venue in downtown Kalamazoo that features an open kitchen and bar, evolving seasonal menus, fresh ingredients, and a funky atmosphere. Fuze took the place of the former Main Street Grill.
Image Source:

Nova Virtual Reality Arcade

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 806 S Westnedge Ave (Vine Neighborhood)
Involved Parties: Nova VR
Status: Completed December, 2016

Summary: Interior fit-out of an existing structure to house a new virtual reality arcade in the eclectic Vine Neighborhood.
Image: Exterior View, along S. Westnedge
Image Source: MLive

Kalamazoo County Criminal Justice Complex / Family Court Building

Construction Cost: $24 million
Location: 1536 Gull Road
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo County, HOK / Tower Pinkster (Architect), AVB (CM)
Status: Completed Winter, 2016
Summary: A new three-story, 82,000 SF Criminal Justice Complex built to consolidate all family court functions for the entire county.
Image: Criminal Justice Complex, Exterior
Image Source: AVB, Inc

Family & Children Services Expansion

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 1608 Lake St.
Involved Parties: Family & Children Services, Kingscott Associates (Architect), Miller-Davis (CM)
Status: Completed November, 2016
Summary: Two-story, 14,000 SF addition to Family & Children Services' Kalamazoo facility, marking the largest building project in the organization's 100+ year history. Family & Children Services provides services in youth development and counseling for children and families. The new addition is dedicated to services that support foster children and their foster families.
Image: Family & Children Services - Exterior - Front
Image Source: KAI

Kalamazoo College Fitness and Wellness Center

Construction Cost: $8.7 Million
Location: Corner of Catherine and Academy Sts.
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo College, TMP Architecture, Owen-Ames-Kimball (CM)
Status: Completed October 2016
Summary: Two-story, 33,000 SF facility that was a renovation / addition to an existing building - dedicated to campus health and wellness.
Image: Front Entrance
Image Source: OAK

KVCC Culinary Arts and Allied Health Building

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 418 E Walnut St
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Bronson Healthcare Group, DEQ, EPA, Tower Pinkster (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Status: Completed Fall, 2016
Summary: Part of the KVCC / Bronson Healthy Living Campus Development. A 75,000 SF building to house Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s new Food and Health Studies programs.
Image: Exterior View of the new building
Image Source: Tower Pinkster /

KVCC Food Innovation Building

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 418 E Walnut St
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Bronson Healthcare Group, DEQ, EPA, Tower Pinkster (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Status: Completed Fall, 2016
Summary: One of three buildings within the new Bronson Healthy Living Campus development in downtown Kalamazoo, the new 16,500 SF Food Innovation Building responds to the rising trend of simulation within the academic environment and promotes wellness while increasing community access to healthy food and nutrition.
Image: KVCC Food Innovation Building exterior
Image Source: Tower Pinkster

Bell's Brewery Expansion

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: Comstock
Involved Parties: Bell's Brewery Inc, Byce & Associates (Architects / Engineers), Walbridge (CM)
Status: Completed Fall, 2016
Summary: Multiple phased projects to expand facilities. The most recent project included a $50 million, 200,000 SF facility expansion to add a new packaging / bottling hall, a warehouse logistics center, a point-of-sale warehouse, new offices and employee areas, an 800 barrel fermentation addition, and a Two Hearted fermentation addition . The expansion allowed production to increase from 800,000 barrels per year to 1,000,000 barrels.
Image: Exterior View
Image Source: Byce

The Depot

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 300 E Water Street
Involved Parties: PlazaCorp, Hopcat, Cherry Tree Financial, Maru Sushi
Status: Completed Fall, 2016
Summary: Project involved the restoration of a 1920's-era train depot to create over 13,000 SF of space for a financial institution and two restaurants, including the 11th HopCat location with over 100 beers on tap.
Image: The Depot, Exterior

Milwood Elementary School Renovations / Additions

Construction Cost: $5.5 Million
Location: 3400 Lovers Lane
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Public Schools, Tower Pinkster (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Status: Completed Fall, 2016
Summary: Updates and addition to Milwood Elementary, including 39,365 SF in renovations and 26,700 SF in additions.
Image: Milwood Elementary School, exterior
Image Source: Tower Pinkster

Western Michigan University Valley Dining Center

Construction Cost: $36 Million
Location: 4717 Campus Drive (Main Campus)
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, Bakergroup / SGJJR Architects
Status: Completed Fall, 2016
Summary: 61,000 SF facility featuring 9 micro restaurants with seating capacity for 1,000.
Image Source: MLive

Consumers Energy Solar Gardens, WMU Business Technology & Research Park

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 4601 Campus Drive (Parkview Campus)
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, Consumers Energy
Status: Completed August, 2016
Summary: 8.5 acres, 1-megawatt solar power plant at Western's BTR Park. This marks Consumers' second large-scale solar project in Michigan, the first being a 3-megawatt plant at Grand Valley State University that opened in April.
Image Source: MLive

Walbridge Common Apartments

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 714 Walbridge St. (River's Edge Neighborhood)
Involved Parties: NoMi (Developers)
Status: Completed Summer, 2016
Summary: 48 apartments and a restaurant in a renovated, 34,000 SF warehouse built in 1924, located in the northeast Kalamazoo River’s Edge District.
Image Source: River's Edge District

Western Michigan University WMed Innovation Center

Construction Cost: $12.5 Million
Location: 4717 Campus Drive (Parkview Campus)
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, URS Corp. (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM)
Status: Completed 2016
Summary: Located on Western's Parkview Campus, this 69,000 SF building is designed to be an incubator for ventures in life science, technology, and engineering. Estimated construction cost was $12.5 million.
Image: Exterior view
Image Source: AVB, Inc.

Consumers Credit Union - Corner @ Drake

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: Corner of Stadium & Drake (Corner @ Drake Development)
Involved Parties: Consumers Credit Union, AVB, Inc. (CM)
Status: Completed March 2016
Summary: New 2-story 6,000 SF branch.
Image: Consumers Credit Union, opened March 2016
Image Source: MLive

Western Michigan University - Heritage Hall Alumni Center / Former East Hall Renovation

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: WMU East Campus, Prospect Hill
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, Tower Pinkster (Architect), Hopkins Burns Design Studio, Ann Arbor (Preservation Architect)
Status: Completed Fall, 2015
Summary: This structure, one of the original of the university, was designed by John Charles Olmsted and Fredrick Law Olmsted Jr. (sons of famous landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted Sr) and constructed in 1903. The repurposing of the building into an Alumni Center involved partial demolition of two wing additions, as well as demolition of several surrounding structures, also original to the campus (West Hall, Speech and Hearing Building, and North Hall). bout 34,000 SF of the structure was retained.
Image Source: Tower Pinkster

2700 West - Student Housing

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location 2700 W Michigan Ave.
Involved Parties: Byce & Associates (Architect / Engineer), Cornerstone Construction Management (CM), Main Street Properties (Property Manager)
Status: Completed August, 2015
Summary: A 4 story, 62,000 SF, student-oriented apartment complex with ground floor retail. Features 35 apartment units and intends to establish a sense of place by creating a street wall presence.
Image Source: Byce & Associates

Principle Food & Drink

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 230 S Kalamazoo Mall
Involved Parties: Principle Food & Drink
Status: Completed August, 2015
Summary: Founded to promote ingredients from the local farm community with craft cocktails in a comfortable space downtown.
Image Source:

Landscape Forms - Powder Coat Finishing Facility

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: Midlink Office Park
Involved Parties: Landscape Forms, Eckert Wordell (Architect)
Status: Completed 2015
Summary: 166,000 SF renovation to create a new powder coat finishing facility, offices, and employee space for this industry leader in site furnishings and outdoor LED lighting.
Image: Employee Break Area
Image Source: Eckert Wordell

Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: Bronson Healthy Living Campus
Involved Parties: City of Kalamazoo, Bronson Healthcare Group, Eckert Wordell (Architect)
Status: Completed 2015
Summary: 17,000 SF facility, part of the new Bronson Healthy Living Campus, where guiding principles address issues of nutrition, mental and physical health, sustainability, and social concerns.
Image Source: Eckert Wordell

Montessori School of the Kalamazoo Area

Construction Cost: $1 Million
Location: 750 Howard St
Involved Parties: Diekema Hamman (Architect), AVB, Inc. (CM),
Status: Completed September, 2014
Summary: Renovation & addition to the existing Montessori school in Kalamazoo.
Image Source: Diekema Hamman

Norbridge Building

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 510 E. Butler Ct. (River's Edge Neighborhood)
Involved Parties: NoMi (Developer)
Status: Completed 2014
Summary: Norbridge was completed in 2014 as a multi-use building featuring one 8,000 square foot office space and five loft style apartments. Part of the larger reinvestment occurring in the east end.
Image Source: River's Edge District

Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

Construction Cost: $57.5 Million
Location: 300 Portage St
Involved Parties: Western Michigan University, The S/L/A/M Collaborative (Architect), Walbridge (CM)
Status: Completed 2014
Summary: Renovation and addition to a former pharmaceutical research building downtown, 350,000 SF project to create a new home for WMU's School of Medicine.
Image: Exterior, Night
Image Source: Architect Magazine

Peregrine Plaza

Construction Cost: Unkown
Location: 336 S Kalamazoo Mall (Corner of E South St & South Burdick St)
Involved Parties: Peregrine Properties, MLive, Various Tenants
Status: Completed 2014
Summary: A mixed use renovation & development to bring commercial space and 14 residential units to the heart of downtown. The first floor is the new home of the Kalamazoo Gazette / MLive, along with an art gallery, a yoga center, and other retail establishments.
Image: Pergrine Plaza Exterior
Image Source: Peregrine Company

Washington Writers' Academy

Construction Cost: $10.7 Million
Location: 1919 Portage Rd
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo Public Schools, Tower Pinkster (Architect), CSM Group (CM)
Status: Completed 2014
Summary: Construction of a new K-5 school building that integrates parts of the historic original structure into the new design.
Image: Exterior View
Image Source: CSM Group

Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes Benz Dealership

Construction Cost: $1.2 Million
Location: 543 W Michigan Ave
Involved Parties: Orrin B. Hayes, AVB, Inc. (CM)
Status: Completed 2014
Summary: A new 5,000 SF showroom anchors this project, which included extensive renovations to an existing building.
Image: New Showroom, exterior
Image Source: AVB, Inc,

Arcadia Brewing Company / Arcadia Ales

Construction Cost: $3.2 Million
Location: 701 E Michigan Ave
Involved Parties: Arcadia Brewing Company, AVB, Inc. (CM)
Status: Completed Spring 2014
Summary: Arcadia Ales opened a new 30,000 SF facility capable of producing up to 21,000 barrels a year in 2014. The facility features a full commercial kitchen and open concept restaurant and bar with outdoor seating. It is adjacent to the Kalamazoo River; kayakers can take their kayak right up to the river's edge, and dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area.
Image; Exterior by night
Image Source: AVB, Inc.

Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

Construction Cost: $5 Million
Location: Academy St, Kalamazoo College
Involved Parties: Kalamazoo College, Miller-Davis (CM), Studio Gang (Architect)
Status: Completed 2014
Summary: This 10,000 SF hub for advancing social justice packs a lot of design into a small area. The Center was developed to promote and sustain leaders in the fields of human rights and social justice, and features 'wood masonry' technology to create a low-tech, high-performance exterior façade.
Image Source: Studio Gang

HARK Orchids, L.P. New Company Headquarters

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 5301 Park Circle Dr.
Involved Parties: Hark Orchids, L.P., CSM Group (CM)
Status: Completed July, 2013
Summary: A new 35,000 SF headquarters in the Midlink Business Park for Hark Orchids, a company established in 1904 that deals in the hybridization, cultivation, and propagation of orchids.
Image: HARK Orchids Exterior
Image Source: CSM Group

Radisson Plaza Hotel Renovations

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 100 W. Michigan Ave.
Involved Parties: Radisson, Eckert-Wordell (Architect)
Status: Completed 2012
Summary: Project included a full redesign of the lobby and registration areas, as well as renovations to guest rooms and event areas for downtown's premier hotel.
Image: Radisson Registration Lobby
Image Source: Eckert Wordell

Family Health Center of Kalamazoo - Expanded Flagship Location

Construction Cost: $8.3 Million
Location: Patterson St - Northside Neighborhood
Involved Parties: Bronson Healthcare, CSM Group (CM)
Status: Completed 2012
Summary: A 41,000 SF expansion of its existing facility, this project allowed FHC to double the number of patients it treats each year.
Image: Exterior by night
Image Source: CSM Group

deja vu Mar 14, 2017 12:12 AM

PORTAGE Developments
The City of Portage, just south of Kalamazoo and not to be outdone by its neighbor to the north, is experiencing something of a boom itself in new construction in all sectors. Portage, achieved $65 million in new construction value for 2015-2016. For the first half of 2016-2017 alone, new construction is valued at $57.5 million (Source: The Portager, February 2017)

Portage is a younger and more suburbanized City, compared with Kalamazoo. The city is currently growing at a rate of about twice that of Kalamazoo, and its estimated population is 48,500 (mid-2016). Portage is home to several giants in the medical technologies and pharmaceutical world, including Pfizer, Stryker, and Zoetis. Below is a satellite aerial view of Portage:
Source: Google Earth

Portage - Current Projects Under Construction:

Pfizer Expansions

Construction Cost: $146.3 Million
Location: Pfizer Portage Manufacturing Complex, Corner of Portage and Romence Rds
Involved Parties: Pfizer Inc., City of Portage
Status: Under Construction
Summary: Work is underway on the first part of Pfizer's expansion plan; a large, 98,000 SF warehouse addition at the north end of Building 41 (estimated construction cost $41 million).
Image: The new cold-storage warehouse, as seen from Romence Road in October 2017.
Image Source: My own photo
Image: The Pfizer Campus in Portage
Image Source:MLive

Portage Public Schools 2015 Bond Projects

Construction Cost: $144 Million
Location: Various Locations throughout the City of Portage
Involved Parties: Portage Public Schools, C2AE / Stantec (Architect), Owen Ames Kimball (CM)
Status: Phase 1 Under Construction (Central HS Natatorium, Northern Stadium / Athletic Fields, Northern MS)
Summary: In November, 2015, residents of Portage voted to approve two bond proposals, totaling $144 million. Work will include:
  • Portage Central HS - New Natatorium – Spring 2018
  • Portage Northern HS - New Stadium – Summer 2018
  • New Portage North Middle School – Fall 2019
  • Portage Central HS - New Stadium – Fall 2019
  • Portage Northern HS – New Natatorium – Summer 2020
  • New Portage Central Middle School – Fall 2020
  • West Middle School Improvements – Fall 2020
Image: Construction progress at Central HS natatorium, October 2017
Image Source: My own photo
Image: Construction progress at Northern MS, October 2017
Image Source: My own photo
Image: New Portage Central Middle School Rendering
Image Source: Portage Public Schools (Courtesy Stantec / C2ae)

Stryker Corporate Campus & Manufacturing / Research & Development Expansion

Construction Cost: $154.5 Million
Location: 4100 E. Milham Ave., on 288 acres of land zoned industrial and bordered by Portage Road, East Milham Avenue and Ramona Avenue
Involved Parties: Stryker Corporation, Christman Constructors, Inc. (CM), Tower Pinkster (Architect),
Status: Under Construction
Summary: Development of an existing brownfield site into a new corporate campus, including a 485,000 SF R&D facility. Will create an estimated 105+ new jobs over three years and relocate an additional 900+ employees to the central campus.
Image: Rendering of the new facility
Image Source:

Trade Centre III

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 650 Trade Centre Way
Involved Parties: H & G L.L.C. (Developers)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: A new five-story office building, currently under construction near I-94 and S. Westnedge Ave. The office building is situated between two previously-constructed office buildings and the new Hilton Homewood Suites hotel. A height variance was approved by the city, allowing the developers to add an extra story to the earlier designs, which called for just four floors. The larger planned development also includes the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, completed in 2013.
Image: Construction progress as of June 2017
Image Source: My own photo

HomeGoods Inc.

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 5050 S. Westnedge Ave.
Involved Parties: HomeGoods Inc., Hinman Co. (Developer)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: A 19,000 SF addition to house for Framingham, Mass.-based HomeGoods Inc. in the Westnedge@Kilgore shopping plaza. Nearby tenants include Southern Michigan Bank & Trust, Lowe's, and Earth Fare.
Image: Construction progress, October 2017
Image Source: My own
Image Source: MLive

Mercantile Bank

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: Near Centre Ave and Oakland Drive Intersection
Involved Parties: AVB, Inc. (CM / Developer)
Status: Under Construction
Summary: New 3,900 SF branch - the second in Portage and sixth in the region for the bank. Expected completion Spring 2018.
Image Source: AVB, Inc.

Portage - Proposed Projects:

Vicksburg Mill Redevelopment

Construction Cost: $50 Million
Location: W Avenue, Vicksburg
Involved Parties: Byce & Associates (Architect / Engineer), Paper City Development, LLC (Owner / Developer)
Status: Proposed / Master Planning

This is technically in the Village of Vicksburg, but close enough to Portage and interesting enough to include here. The proposal includes repurposing the long-vacant Lee Paper Mill as a mixed-use 'life style destination'. Planned uses will include a brewery, restaurant and taproom (Phase 1), retail center, craft food and beverage production facility, offices, artist studios and residences.
Image: Photo of proposed development plan
Image Source: My own
Image: Photo of proposed development rendering
Image Source: My own
Image Source: Byce & Associates

CentrePort Commons

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: SE Corner of Centre Avenue and Portage Road
Involved Parties: Treystar (Developer), Fifth Third Bank (Potential Tenant)
Status: Proposed
Summary: A proposed mixed-use project featuring retail, restaurant, and office space on an 8 acre corner lot near Pfizer and Stryker facilities.

(No Image Available)

Portage - Recently Completed Projects:

Arbor Financial Credit Union

Construction Cost: Unknown (< $1 Million?)
Location: Corner of Centre Avenue and Oakland Drive
Involved Parties: Arbor Financial Credit Union
Status: Completed Late October, 2017
Summary: One of dozens of new credit unions popping up around town. The new home of Arbor Financial Credit Union is simple but looks alright with its full-height masonry and cultured stone. Arbor FCU moved from its current location across the street in late October / early November, 2017.
Image Source: My own photo, nearly open, October 2017

Beacon Pointe, A Memory Care Community

Construction Cost: Unknown ($1 - 2 Million?)
Location: 710 E Centre Avenue
Involved Parties: Woodland Terrace Senior Living Communities (Management), Dockerty Health Care Services (Owner)
Status: Completed October, 2017
Summary: A new 32,000 SF Memory Care Living Facility along Centre Avenue in Portage. This is the fourth community built by Woodland Terrace, a senior living business located in SW Michigan. The enterprise is family owned, started by the Dockerty Family in 1997 in Bridgman, MI.
Image: Construction progress August 2017.
Image Source: My own photo

CoreLife Eatery

Construction Cost: Unknown ($1 - 2 Million?)
Location: 6300 S. Westnedge Ave
Involved Parties: CoreLife Eatery
Status: Completed Fall 2017
Summary: A new 'active lifestyle restaurant' chain started in Syracuse in 2015. This will be the second location in Michigan, the first being located in Grandville.
Image Source: Al Jones | MLive

Cove Lakeside Bistro

Construction Cost: Unknown ($1 - 2 Million?)
Location: 9110 Portage Road
Involved Parties: Millennium Restaurant Group
Status: Completed July 2017
Summary: Cove opened on July 31, 2017. It is located on West Lake and is housed in a building that was previously occupied by office space and (2) earlier restaurant ventures, which closed. It features a large outdoor dining terrace along the water with room for 96. The 7,000-square-foot eatery will also seat up to 125 people in its main dining areas and 40 at an indoor bar area.
Image Source: Al Jones | MLive

Rykse & Co. Market and Eatery

Construction Cost: Unknown ($1 - 2 Million?)
Location: 6909 West Q Avenue, Texas Township
Involved Parties: Bosch Architecture, Ryan Rykse (Owner)
Status: Completed July 2017
Summary: Located in Texas Township (just west of Portage), this new fast-casual establishment offers quick and healthy food options, with room for up to 125 Patrons, including an outdoor terrace. A spin off of the existing restaurant / bakery located on Stadium Drive in Kalamazoo.
Image Source: Al Jones | MLive


Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 5964 South Westnedge Avenue
Involved Parties: Chipotle
Status: Completed May, 2017
Summary: This is the second Chipotle in the Kalamazoo area, and the first for Portage. A vacant storefront was renovated for the new restaurant.
Image Source: KzooKids

Story Point Senior Living Community

Construction Cost: $18 Million
Location: 3951 West Milham Avenue
Involved Parties: Senior Village Management, Triple M Investments (Developer)
Status: Completed Spring 2017
Summary: Story Point has 18+ communities in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana for independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Their newest community just opened in Portage. This 181,000 SF facility has four neighborhood wings totaling 122 independent living units and 36 assisted living/memory care units. The property is also home to the historic Van Riper homestead, which is the oldest remaining residential structure in the city. No official plans are in place for what to do with the homestead.
Image Source: My own photo

Chick-fil-A Portage

Construction Cost: Unkown
Location: 6202 S Westnedge Ave
Involved Parties: Chick-fil-A
Status: Completed February, 2017
Summary: When people start camping out the day before for a change to win a year's supply of free meals, and when the police have to close down lanes and guide traffic on opening day, you know it's a big deal. As Chick-fil-A continues its expansion into west Michigan, the Portage location marks the newest chain to open this year.
Image: Chick-Fil_A, nearing completion
Image Source: MLive

Design 1 Salon and Spa

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 212 W Milham Ave
Involved Parties: Design 1 Salon and Spa, Tropical Smoothie Café, Other Tenants, Innovate Design, PC (Architects)
Status: Completed Winter, 2016 / 2017
Summary: A new 2-story commercial development near the corner of S. Westnedge and W. Milham Ave, this development is anchored by Design 1 Salon and Spa.
Image: Design 1 Exterior
Image Source: My own photo

Eliason Nature Reserve and Trail

Construction Cost: $630,000
Location: 1614 W. Osterhout Avenue (South Terminus)
Involved Parties: Eliason Corp., City of Portage
Status: Completed September, 2016
Summary: A 123 acre wooded parcel was donated to the City in 2012, in memory of the late David J. Eliason. Portage has committed to maintaining it as a nature reserve since then. The property is a combination of uplands and wetlands and is part of the Bishop’s Bog complex, the largest remaining bog of this type found possibly in the entire lower peninsula. This new 1.5-mile nature trail completes a missing link in the Portage trail network, by connecting Osterhout Avenue north to the Shaver Road Bikeway (which leads further to the PCBP Trail).
Image Source: My own photo

Southern Michigan Bank & Trust - New Branch

Location: 531 W. Kilgore (Westnedge @ Kilgore Development)
Involved Parties: SMB&T, Hinman Companies, Integrated Architecture, Orion Construction (CM)
Status: Completed Spring, 2016
Summary: A Coldwater, MI-based bank, this new, 2,800 SF standalone branch represents the first newly constructed LEED-certified bank branch in southwestern Michigan.
Image: Exterior for the new branch
Image Source: Hinman Company

Hilton Homewood Suites Hotel

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 500 Trade Centre Way
Involved Parties: Hilton
Status: Completed 2016
Summary: New four-story hotel in the Trade Centre development near I-94 and S. Westnedge Ave.
Image Source: Hilton Homewood Suites

Wild Ginger

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 639 Romence Road
Involved Parties: SKP Design (Interiors), Lee Lum and Andrew Lum (Owners)
Status: Completed 2014
Summary: A new restaurant in Portage featuring a fusion of traditional Japanese, Chinese and Korean dishes with nontraditional ingredients.
Image Source: Encore Kalamazoo

Latitude 42 Brewing Company - Portage

Construction Cost: Unknown
Location: 7842 Portage Road
Involved Parties: SKP Design (Interiors), Latitude 42
Status: Completed 2013
Summary: A popular brew pub in Portage, Latitude 42 features a large bar, private dining space, outdr patio, and seasonal beers. It is constructing a new hop garden in Spring 2017.
Image Source: SKP Design

Austinlee Mar 14, 2017 2:14 AM

Nice rundown.

deja vu Mar 15, 2017 3:35 PM

Thanks. I will keep expanding it, and hopefully get out and take some photos of my own once the deep freeze ends.

Here's an interesting little project that just wrapped up downtown:


Walnut & Park coffee shop to open in downtown Kalamazoo
Al Jones, via MLive
March 02, 2017

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Walnut & Park is the name of a new coffee shop and cafe that is set to open Monday, March 6, in downtown Kalamazoo.

Located at 322 W. Walnut St. (the corner of Walnut & Park), the business is a project of the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program and will put to work men and women who are participants in KPEP's culinary arts program.
KPEP is a private nonprofit residential and outpatient rehabilitation program that serves state and federal criminal offenders, probationers and parolees.

Image: Walnut & Park Coffee Shop Exterior
Image Source: MLive

deja vu Mar 16, 2017 1:58 AM

2017_03_15 Walking Tour
I took a brief walk after work today to try and capture some recent development. Because it was so bitterly cold, it quickly turned into more of a driving tour than a walking tour. Anyway, below are some random photos of current projects under construction in Kalamazoo and Portage, along with a few recently-completed projects. While walking and driving, I saw several projects that I forgot to include in the original project rundown, so I will be updating that shortly.

Please forgive the low image quality; I took these photos on my crappy iPhone 4, and it was getting near dusk, and I was in motion for most of them. But, enough excuses!

The Foundry
600 E. Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo
(Phase 1, Under Construction)

The People's Food Co-op of Kalamazoo
507 Harrison St, Kalamazoo
(Opened 2011)

Old Douglass Community Center Building
NW corner of N. Pitcher and E. Ransom Streets, Kalamazoo

Not development, but hopefully being restored and repurposed soon.

Here's the same structure, in the 1960s:
Image Source:

Ministry with Community
440 N. Church St.
(Completed 2016)

This wonderful old Art Deco structure is right next door to the mothballed Old Douglass Community Center Building, and across the street from the new Ministry with Community.

New RX Optical Headquarters
S. Park St, Kalamazoo
(Under Construction)

New Family Health Center
Alcott St. - Edison Neighborhood, Kalamazoo
(Under Construction)

Portage Memory Care Living Facility
710 E. Centre Ave, Portage
(Under Construction)

the urban politician Mar 16, 2017 2:45 AM

Kalamazoo is perhaps just a tad more exciting than Battle Creek. But looking at those pics--typical Michigan.

deja vu Mar 16, 2017 4:13 AM

Updates have been made to the list of active projects at the top of this thread. Updates include:

New project listing & information for:
  • The Foundry - Phase 1
  • New Family Health Center Clinic
  • New RX Optical Headquarters Building

Additionally, all photos have been resized for consistency, and several more photos of active projects have been added.

deja vu Mar 16, 2017 4:42 AM


Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 7741849)
Kalamazoo is perhaps just a tad more exciting than Battle Creek. But looking at those pics--typical Michigan.

Battle Creek...I need to explore there more. For being so close to each other, I feel like the two cities have very different characters. I thought about including Battle Creek in this new development thread, but then I thought it might be too much, at least to start with...

There is some bland infill around here, to be sure, but on the whole, it is exciting to see Kalamazoo's downtown slowly becoming denser, while lots of fringe areas (including several brownfield sites) are seeing renewed efforts at revitalization.

deja vu Mar 17, 2017 10:12 PM

Updated Project Rundown
I've updated the project rundown to include some more recently completed development. Because this forum is less than one week old, it wasn't around to capture all of these great projects when they were being built. That said, since they are part of the bigger story of development that has been happening here in recent years, I'm including them here for the record.

Completed projects that have been added are as listed below. Scroll to the top post to see images and more info for each. Much more to come.
  • Arcadia Brewing Company / Arcadia Ales
  • Borgess Brain and Spine Institute
  • Bronson Advanced Radiology - Diagnostics Lab and Imaging Center
  • Bronson Commons - New Post-Acute Care Facility
  • Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan - Glowing Embers Council Program & Training Center
  • HARK Orchids, L.P. New Company Headquarters
  • KVCC / Bronson Healthy Living Campus - Food Innovation Building
  • Linden Grove Middle School - Kalamazoo Public Schools
  • Midlink Business Park - a massive business park conversion with over 1.6 million of SF in just two buildings
  • Miller Canfield New Office Building
  • Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes Benz Dealership
  • Stryker Corporate Headquarters
  • Stryker Instruments - Renovations to (2) of its buildings
  • Washington Writers’ Academy - Kalamazoo Public Schools
  • Western Michigan University - Richmond Center for Visual Arts
  • Western Michigan University - Valley Dining Center
  • Western Michigan University - Western View Apartments
  • Western Michigan University - WMed Innovation Center
  • 750 Trade Centre
  • 950 Trade Centre

deja vu Mar 18, 2017 4:01 AM

Article about a recent tax break that Stryker received.


Stryker Instruments wins tax break from Portage for $154 million development
By Tom Haroldson | Special to MLive
March 15, 2017

PORTAGE, MI - Stryker Instruments has won a Portage tax break for its proposed $154 million research and development facility, and could begin construction in May with a completion anticipated by August 2019.
The Public Act 198 tax break for the 485,000 square foot facility at 6520 Portage Road was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Portage City Council. The company expects to retain 966 jobs and create an additional 105.


deja vu Mar 19, 2017 2:27 PM

Jack White bought George Nelson’s Kalamazoo midcentury time capsule
Not exactly development-related news, but still an interesting story related to architecture. Kalamazoo has a lot of prominent examples of mid-century architecture, including an atypically large amount of Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes. However, I did not know about the George Nelson-designed Kirkpatrick House until I saw this article. At one time, George Nelson was the Director of Design for the Herman Miller furniture company. His studio had a heavy influence on furniture design during the 20th century.


Jack White bought George Nelson’s Kalamazoo midcentury time capsule
By Lauren Ro, Curbed
via Realtor, The New Yorker
March 17, 2017

When this incredibly restored home by George Nelson first came on the market in Kalamazoo, Michigan last summer, we were awed by its beauty and more than a little envious about its eventual owner—especially since the home was offered at a screaming deal of $450,000.

Now we’ve come to learn that the lucky owner of the 1958-built house is none other than Jack White, rock musician extraordinaire, formerly of the White Stripes, and a native of Detroit...
Images Source: Curbed

deja vu Mar 22, 2017 7:13 PM

Kalamazoo Gazette Building - Demolition Progress Update
On a work break this morning, I walked around the site of the ongoing demolition of the former Kalamazoo Gazette building. Lots of activity, and demolition has progressed to the final portion of building to be removed. Ironically, this final area that is being demolished is actually the newest addition to the complex, having opened in 2004. The original building was designed by Albert Kahn and completed in 1925, with two other additions built in 1941 and 1968. Only the 1925 and 1941 portions will remain to be repurposed by Bronson Healthcare Group, as its downtown footprint expands.

All photos below are my own.

View from S. Burdick St:

View from John St:

View from John St:

That tower is not long for this world:

View from NE Corner of E Lovell St. and Henrietta St:

Close-up of Upper Ceiling:

Close-up of tower:

View from NW Corner of E Lovell St. and Henrietta St:

deja vu Mar 22, 2017 7:27 PM

Kalamazoo Gazette Building - Clock Demolition Photos
Related to the previous post, I found some neat photos which show the process of removing the large clocks that were previously attached to the tower. Photo credit goes to Carly Geraci, at MLive. You can view more of photos, and read the accompanying article, here.

deja vu Mar 23, 2017 9:21 PM

WMU East Campus pulled from National Register of Historic Places
WMU East Campus pulled from National Register of Historic Places

An interesting article was just released regarding the recent demolition (decimation?) that took place on Prospect Hill, the home of the original campus of Western Michigan University. Originally known as the Western State Normal School. In 2013 - 2014, three historic buildings were demolished (North Hall, West Hall, and the Speech & Hearing Building) and another was greatly altered (East Hall) to prepare for the creation of a new Alumni Center, which opened in 2015 in the remains of East Hall, and which is now referred to as Heritage Hall.


WMU East Campus pulled from National Register of Historic Places
By Malachi Barrett, via MLive
March 22, 2017

KALAMAZOO, MI -- What was once called the "Acropolis of Kalamazoo" is no longer deemed worthy of historic recognition after renovations to Western Michigan University's East Campus. East Hall, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and Western State Normal School Historic District, added in 1990, were stripped of their historic status by the National Park Service, effective March 7.

The project was controversial when it happened, and now, the NPS has revoked National Register status for the University's East Campus. This marks the first time ever in the history of the State Historic Preservation Review Board that a physical site visit was conducted by SHPRB to determine whether or not a listed property / area should remain listed after alterations were made. It seems like a blow, but the University's reaction to the news seemed rather nonchalant.

Images below are courtesy of WMU Archives and Regional History Collection, via MLive, unless noted otherwise. The article follows after the images.

East Hall, shortly after it opened in 1905:

East Hall, after the north and south wings were added, in 1908 and 1909:

The WMU Inclined Trolley, to access Prospect Hill from below (I had no idea until now that Kalamazoo had its own incline of sorts, at one time):

Two aerial views of Prospect Hill, showing the early WMU campus:

A similar aerial view from the recent past, when demolition was complete. The partially-demolished East Hall stands alone in the middle of the cleared area:
Image Source: Google Maps

WMU West Hall Demolition, June 2013:
Image Source: Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette, file

WMU Speech and Hearing Building Demolition, July 2013:
Image Source: Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette, file

WMU East Hall Demolition of South Wing, July 2014:
Image Source: Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette, file

Protester's graffiti at the construction site, in September 2014:
Image Source: Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette, file

Heritage Hall Alumni Center / Former East Hall as it looks today:
Image Source: Tower Pinkster

Read the Full Article, and see some pretty great historic photos, here.

The North One Mar 24, 2017 12:08 AM

Why on earth would they do that?!

Fucking idiots, WMU can go to hell. :hell:

deja vu Mar 24, 2017 3:06 AM


Originally Posted by The North One (Post 7749942)
Why on earth would they do that?!

Fucking idiots, WMU can go to hell. :hell:

Someone usually makes the argument that money is a factor - too expensive to maintain, too expensive to repurpose... Or that a structure can't be brought into communion with the expressed future goals of an organization. Those reasons usually sound like half-truths, excuses to explain away the most obvious of conclusions that good buildings and good spaces should be celebrated and preserved whenever possible.

It's fortunate that Kalamazoo has an active historic commission, and from what I know, a pretty good track record at repurposing and preserving historic structures. It's just too bad that this one got away. The original campus really projected the 'city on a hill' aesthetic that so many universities embodied. That cohesive massing of buildings around a central quad is now mainly a parking lot. At least one small part of it remains.

deja vu Mar 25, 2017 4:47 AM

$2M PlazaCorp redevelopment to create 30 jobs in downtown Kalamazoo
$2M PlazaCorp redevelopment to create 30 jobs in downtown Kalamazoo
By Malachi Barrett, via MLive
March 23, 2017


KALAMAZOO, MI -- An affiliate of PlazaCorp intends to invest $2 million to redevelop a contaminated manufacturing site in downtown Kalamazoo.

PS 383 LLC bought two parcels at 381 and 383 South Pitcher Street in January 2016. According to county documents, it plans to clean up contaminates at the brownfield site then renovate an existing building to lease to an unnamed automotive performance shop and create office space for up to four tenants.


deja vu Mar 25, 2017 3:26 PM

Kalamazoo County Population Data for 2016
According to the recently released US Census Data for county-wide population changes between 2010 and 2016, Kalamazoo County faired well. The population increased from 250,331 in 2010 to 261,654 in 2016 - a gain of about 11,323 persons, or about 4.3% growth since 2010. This puts Kalamazoo in with the 35 of 83 Michigan counties that are going against the statewide trend of population decline. It's great news for the area, and a strong indicator of the healthy economy in southwest Michigan.
Image Source: MLive

Another interesting thing that I observed, looking at the above graph portrayal of population change since 1900, Kalamazoo County has not once experienced a decline in population at the county level, for each decade when Census data was recorded. To put it another way, the growth in the county has trended positively for at least the past 116 years of US census data recording. At a glance, I count only four other counties in the entire State that can make this claim.
  • Kent County - home of Grand Rapids (current peak population 642,173)
  • Muskegon County - Home of Muskegon (current peak population 173,408)
  • Oakland County - Detroit Metro area (current peak population 1,243,970)
  • Ottawa County - home of Holland & Grand Haven (current peak population 282,250)
This might not mean much, taken over the course of 100+ years of data, but I find it very interesting that four of the five counties that have never had a population decline when measured by the decade since 1900 are located in western / southwestern Michigan. Oakland County is the only exception.

You can see the charts and data for each county at this MLive article:

How every Michigan county's population has changed over the past 100 years

deja vu Mar 26, 2017 2:07 PM

New assistant city manager to focus on Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence
It's not every day that the City of Kalamazoo creates a new administrative position in the planning department.


New assistant city manager to focus on Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence
By Malachi Barrett, via Mlive
March 21, 2017

KALAMAZOO, MI --  City Manager Jim Ritsema announced meetings focused on Kalamazoo's use of $10 million in donations from local philanthropists, and a new administrative position dedicated to the Foundation for Excellence. 

Commissioners will meet at a 6 p.m. work session on March 27 to discuss ending generational poverty and increasing youth development opportunities with $10 million earmarked for "aspirational projects." Ritsema also announced a meeting at 6 p.m. on April 10 focused on the Foundation for Excellence, which includes a permanent endowment fund the city seeks to use to sustain an initial $70.3 million donation after three years. The April meeting will also discuss projects and programs identified through the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 master planning process.

Image Source: MLive
You can link to the full article here.

deja vu Mar 27, 2017 1:18 PM

Oberon Day 2017!
Happy Oberon Day!
March 27, 2017
Image Source: MLive

For those who don't know, today is basically an official holiday in Kalamazoo, marking the release of the 2017 batch of Bell's most popular craft beer - Oberon (as well as the less-official start of spring around here). Tapping parties began at midnight around the city, state, and even other parts of the country / globe. The tapping at Bell's Eccentric Café, the center of the Bell's universe, was a few minutes ago, at 9:00AM, EST (which is where many of my less responsible but certainly happier coworkers are right now).

To compliment your Oberon, you can always stop by Sweetwater's Donut Mill, open 24/7, and grab an Oberon-Inspired donut. They frankly look gross to me, but I've never tried one, so I shouldn't judge.
Image: Oberon Donuts, at Sweetwaters Donut Mill
Image Source: John Gonzalez, via Twitter

If you're wondering how this is at all development related, Bell's has invested tens of millions of dollars into both its downtown location and its main brewing facilities in nearby Comstock in recent years, and has basically had everything to do with catalyzing the craft beer movement in this region.

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