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  #581  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2020, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by deja vu View Post
Celebrating 250,000 thread views today!
Congrats and thanks DejaVu for all your posts! I'm a longtime lurker and appreciate the updates. With the decline of local news, I learn about some things here first––like the 400 S. Rose 'twin' going in.
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  #582  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2020, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkazoo View Post
Congrats and thanks DejaVu for all your posts! I'm a longtime lurker and appreciate the updates. With the decline of local news, I learn about some things here first––like the 400 S. Rose 'twin' going in.
That is awesome to hear! It's always great to see some new forumers on here - so welcome (officially) to the group. Any contributions are always welcome!

And yeah, local news sources really have gone downhill. 400 Rose Phase 2 completely caught me by surprise as well.
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  #583  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2020, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by deja vu View Post
Vacant Kzoo church to be razed to make way for playscape

Source: Wood TV 8
Are you fucking kidding me? Kzoo has a serious problem for destroying historical buildings like it's nothing.
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  #584  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2020, 3:57 PM
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
Are you fucking kidding me? Kzoo has a serious problem for destroying historical buildings like it's nothing.
It's been a rough few years in Kalamazoo for historic religious structures.

This latest loss of 302 Academy / First Congregational adds insult to injury, on top of the destruction of the Church of Christ Scientist Building (also on Bronson Park square) and the Congregation of St. Joseph Motherhouse, last summer. I know religion in general is on the decline, but there are so many other ways to reuse these buildings. The historic integrity of Bronson Park is really getting damaged by these losses, and it is made all the more ironic by the fact that that Bronson Park is a designated National Historic District (yet many of the individual properties don't seem to have protection). The local Historic District Commission seems to have their hands tied by the City Commissioners, who are wont to letting private entities do what they want with their property, regardless of history, context & community...

...and we might not be done yet. The fate of the First Baptist Church (oldest church downtown, located immediately behind 302 Academy along Michigan Ave.) is not entirely out of the woods either. Prospects for it appear better than some of its neighbors, at least, with a new owner and a plan to renovate it to provide start-up business spaces. But its not a guarantee. The silver lining of 302 Academy coming down is that it will expose the rear wall of First Baptist, which is structurally failing and needs repair. The only way to feasily access it is if 302 is gone, because they are built so close together.

At Risk -First Baptist Church, c. 2011. You can see a bit of 302 Academy's roof in the background -

Source: Pipe Organ Database | Chad Boorsma

Lest we forget -

Congregation of St. Joseph Campus -

Source: My Own Photo

Church of Christ Scientist -

Source: My Own Photo
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  #585  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2020, 8:51 PM
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By the way, here's the site plan rendering of the "Children's Nature Playscape" that First Reformed Church is being demolished for, from the previously shared article, as well as another, below -



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  #586  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2020, 10:14 PM
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While updating the project rundown, I cam across a smattering of Kalamazoo site plan review applications that have not been mentioned on here before.

1. Hawthorne Park

The first is 205 E Stockbridge "Hawthorne Park". This was submitted in September 2019. It's a bit of a mystery project. The site plan review is focused only on landscaping, but there is a floor plan that reveals two buildings, one of which is mixed use commercial / residential and the other all-residential. I have no clue if this one is even alive still. If built, it would be directly next door to a pretty drab-looking Dollar General.


Source: Kalamazoo Site Plan Review

2. Kalsee Credit Union

This new branch office would be located at 3121 Portage Rd. (the corner of Portage & Cork). Currently, there is a 1-story and 2-story building on the site that would need to be demolished. I'll be a little sad to see the 2-story brick structure go - it most-recently housed a Stanley Steemer, and it was originally a city fire station. Everything about this is kinda funky - the site plan, the floor plan, and the elevations. This was submitted January 30, 2020, pre-COVID-19.






Source: Kalamazoo Site Plan Review

3. Capital Health Group - Drug Rehab Facility

This one is interesting, in that it proposes to rehab. a long-shuttered medical center to turn it into a rehab clinic at 1430 Alamo Ave. It was submitted to site plan review March 10, 2020, so right before the world went to hell. Like the first project, I have no idea if this thing still has legs. If it does, it's going to take some doing - I've been by that building a lot, and it is in rough shape. But it has a cool retro style and it would be really neat if it could be saved. Also, I find it kind of sad that it would be direct-adjacent to Fox Ridge Apartments, a public housing project that is notorious for violence and drug use. I mean, yeah, it's probably good that it is physically proximity to at least a partial portion of the population that it would likely serve, but how depressing is it do drive / walk / take the bus home to your apartment next to the drug rehab clinic? I feel the same way about the lower-income, single-family homes on the east side whos front yards stare right at the back of the Juvenile Detention Facility.


Source: Kalamazoo Site Plan Review

4. Water Street Coffee Joint - Drive-Thru Addition (Oakland Drive Location)

This plan review is recent (submitted November 16, 2020) - just really small. It proposes a small addition and site reconfigurations at the Oakland Drive Water Street Coffee location to equip it with drive-thru capability. Not much to comment on here - it makes sense in this time and I have no doubt it will go-through as planned.


Source: Kalamazoo Site Plan Review

Last edited by deja vu; Dec 12, 2020 at 4:45 PM.
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  #587  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2020, 6:46 PM
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Site plan review (re)submission is up for the Kalamazoo Farmer's Market Phase 1 improvements. This includes a new office / restroom building, refurbished + expanded covered booth areas, and a TON of new parking. I don't have the earlier submission handy to compare to, but it doesn't look like anything substantial has changed. I think it was mostly just delayed by COVID-19.

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  #588  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2020, 4:25 PM
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The Hilton Garden Inn opens to the public on Monday, November 30. This is a pretty big milestone for Kalamazoo, although the news is no doubt hampered a bit by the coronavirus. Its opening marks a few key things in my mind:
  • The Radisson Plaza Hotel is no longer the only player in town, when it comes to downtown hotel facilities that are well-equipped to handle banquets, conferences, & weddings.
  • Arcadia West is finally seeing substantial development, after decades-long planning, and this hotel will help catalyze more development in the future.
  • The historic Masonic Temple, which originally opened in 1915, has a promising new future as a hotel as it continues into its second century of existence.

Here are a few pre-opening photos from the past two weeks, posted recently on Facebook -


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo Downtown


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo


Source: Facebook | Hilton Garden Inn Kalamazoo
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  #589  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2020, 10:32 PM
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Took a walk downtown today for the first time in a while. Just a few quick shots, first, 180 E Water St, and second, the new Hilton Garden Inn, which opens Monday -







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  #590  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2020, 3:11 PM
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There has been a lot happening behind the scenes via the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority of Kalamazoo -

1. 266 E Michigan Ave.

First, a new Brownfield Redevelopment Plan for 266 E Michigan Ave. was posted on November 25 (street view). This building currently houses the downtown Coney Island, which is one of the oldest continually operating restaurants in town, and, according to Wikipedia, "the longest continuously operated Coney Island (in the same location... [since] 1915)." There is an adjacent ground-floor restaurant space that recently became vacant when Ouzo's closed. The three floors above have been vacant for decades, as several plans to redevelop them have come and gone. This new plan reflects a renewed interest in finally developing the upper floors of this key structure in historic downtown's Haymarket District. My understanding is that redevelopment has been challenging for a variety of reasons, including issues related to achieving compliance with current codes & zoning.

The current plan was prepared by Southwest Michigan First, and it lists "266 MICHIGAN AVE KALAMAZOO LLC" (Matt O'Connor) as the owner / developer, with an address of 1000 Front Ave. NW Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504. The plan reports that the goal is to develop the upper three floors into a total of 11 market-rate apartments, while retaining the two business spaces on the first floor. The report projects a total investment of $3.5 million. The attachment that includes the floor plans is missing from the report. While this is probably intentional, I did email the city to ask if it is possible to see these.

It may not seem like a lot to get excited over - 11 new apartments downtown - but this does represent a pretty big success, if it happens. The upper floors have been dark for decades, and any time a historic building can get its upper floors activated once again in downtown Kalamazoo is a win. In addition to being a BRA property, the building is in a national historic district and it is located within The Opportunity Zone, making it eligible for several sources of financial support.

Approval of the development agreement was on the BRA's agenda for November 19. I will follow this post up with some photos.

2. 809, 813, and 817 Porter Street

Also on this agenda -approval of a purchase and sale agreement between Innovative Design Properties, LLC and the BRA for the properties at 809, 813, and 817 Porter Street (street view). IIRC, this proposal is going to be some sort of housing development as well.

3. 315 E. Frank Street

Third, the October 15 meeting minutes (included in the November 19 agenda packet) indicate that the purchase and sale agreement between Bogan Developments, LLC and the BRA for 315 E. Frank Street was approved (street view). The plan is for a mixed-use development, with a mix of affordable & market-rate apartments.

4. 508 Harrison Street

Lastly, the October 15 meeting minutes contain some updates for 508 Harrison Street (street view). Few will recall that this redevelopment proposal was first announced in 2017. The plan is for a mixed-use / affordable housing development, at a projected cost between $12.5 - $25 million. That price range alone is a big clue to how many uncertainties & contingencies still exist for this prospective project, which has ran into numerous snags, including MEDC / MSHDA funding issues, site contamination from decades of industrial applications, site flooding, bad soils... well, just read this one excerpt from the minutes:

Quote:
...MEDC and MSHDA were originally both offering support of this project. A year and a half into it, MEDC pulled their support. Then MSHDA said they would deny the site because of the active heat treatment plant next door. The site flooded twice. River Caddis found that the heat treatment plant site was badly contaminated... it took a year to get a purchase agreement with the heat treatment plant... because of the bad soils, they will put in Geopiers for all the buildings. They will have to dewater the site and they believe the water has PFAS... it has a long industrial history dating back decades. That has resulted in soil and groundwater contamination which includes petroleum contamination, chlorinated solvents and metals... they will need to install a vapor intrusion mitigation system, dewater the site and treat the water. Stormwater management will be important on this site. There is also asbestos on the site that needs to be abated...
Ugh. Who would want to touch this?!

Last edited by deja vu; Nov 29, 2020 at 3:29 PM.
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  #591  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2020, 3:27 PM
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More info on 266 E Michigan Ave. -

The building was originally built in 1896, and it was known as the Hall Building. It has a decades-long history of being the home of several hotels, with one business apparently having 44 rooms, which seems like a lot, but I think they were quite small back then. Historical data is sketchy, but I found reference to a "Hotel Reed" and "Hotel Windsor" occupying the building (source). I found some fairly recent photos of the building on Greenridge Realty's website. Many more photos at their site. I am not so sure about the realtor's claim that "The additional commercial space on Levels 2, 3, and 4 boast the building's original character and history just waiting to be developed into apartments or condos." The upper floors look pretty gutted to me - not much original character left.

It is the 4-story brick structure in the center -

Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.

Interior of the former Ouzo's -

Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.

Interior of the 105+ year-old Coney Island -

Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.

Basement cooler -

Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.

Basement dry storage -

Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.

Look at all of this "original character" -

Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.


Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.


Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.


Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.


Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.


Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.


Source: Greenridge Realty, Inc.
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  #592  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2020, 4:56 PM
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Well what have we here? Spotted this while on a walk yesterday, at the new WMU Business Technology & Research Park expansion (known now as BTR North). It is the new Borgess Cancer Center. I didn't realize construction had started already!



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  #593  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2020, 5:29 PM
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This is a big step in the process to connect South Haven and Port Huron with a non-motorized trail system -


Source: WKZO | Courtesy Parks Foundation of Kalamazoo County
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  #594  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 10:26 PM
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It's official - Kalamazoo's new Hilton Garden Inn is open. Click on the link to the MLive article to view 60+ photos. I just included a few below - the lobby is obviously the main show piece. I remember standing in this building in 2017 when it was completely vacant and partially gutted. Quite a transformation from then to now! The hotel will operate at reduced capacity initially.

Quote:
Renovated masonic temple home to Kalamazoo’s new downtown hotel
Lindsay Moore | MLive
December 01, 2020








Source: Joel Bissell | MLive
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  #595  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 2:47 PM
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Interesting headline, because the construction schedule is anything but "on-track" - at least, not on the original track. Let's just say... it's on a new track. Instead of Fall 2020, the new groundbreaking is now scheduled for March or April 2021, with bid openings in January, board decisions in February, and completion sometime in 2023.

The article provides a few interior renderings that I have not seen yet - it sounds like they were just revealed to the County Commissioners yesterday. There will be a central light well, and if funding can be obtained, a prismatic art installation in collaboration with the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.



District Courtroom - Looking North


District Courtroom - Looking East


Clerk Lobby


Security Vestibule

Source: MLive | Courtesy Kalamazoo County
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  #596  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2020, 6:23 PM
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Last edited by deja vu; Dec 6, 2020 at 10:15 PM.
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  #597  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2020, 10:12 PM
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There's an interesting bit of info in this article. We already knew about the planned 3-story mixed-use building to replace the building that burned down at 902 W. North St. But this is the first I've read that the three remaining parcels (where three other buildings burned down) are also all going to potentially each have their own new apartment building. One of those might also have some ground floor commercial space. Now granted, each of these projects they will be relatively small, and things are preliminary still, but it is good news.

Quote:
Zoning change to pave way for new businesses, housing in Kalamazoo
Ryan Boldrey | MLive
December 4, 2020

KALAMAZOO, MI — Plans to rebuild are in motion for four properties destroyed by arson in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood this June. All four properties, which border the Stuart and Douglas neighborhoods, will be home to multiple residential units and at least one will be the site of multiple ground-floor businesses as well...
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  #598  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2020, 11:11 PM
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A good-sized bond project is on the drafting table for Battle Creek Public Schools. Specifically, the district is looking at converting Northwestern Middle School into a K-8 arts academy. The majority of the $40 million bond would go toward construction & remodeling costs for this project, with a smaller amount going toward renovations to Springfield Middle School, which is transitioning toward an integrated service learning model.

I think Northwestern MS was originally built in the 1960's, or maybe 1970's, judging by the architecture seen from google maps.

Quote:
Battle Creek schools unveils plans for $40 million bond that would create K-8 arts academy
Elena Durnbaugh | Battle Creek Enquirer
December 2, 2020

Battle Creek Public Schools wants to make Northwestern Middle School in an immersive visual and performing arts academy for students in grades K-8. To make it happen, school officials are hoping the community will support a 26-year $40 million bond. Under the proposal, Springfield Middle School would continue its transition to integrated service learning, a model that incorporates volunteer work and community involvement into the curriculum...

Source: Battle Creek Enquirer | Battle Creek Public Schools / C2AE
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  #599  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2020, 3:01 PM
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The site plan review drawings (including plans & elevations) for the new downtown justice facility have been posted to the city's plan review site. I will work on converting & posting the images here later, but if anyone is curious and wants to see these now, just follow the link below -

https://www.kalamazoocity.org/docman...e-12-3020/file

I totally overlooked the fact initially that the front of this building faces Eleanor St. and not Kalamazoo Ave. Instead, the back faces Kalamazoo Ave. with mechanical / utility enclosures and sparse activity along the street edge. There have been some comments on Facebook about how this symbolizes the county government's turning of its back to residents of the north side. That's a bit too literal of an interpretation for me, but it's just an interesting point of view that I had not thought about, and perspectives matter when it comes to a civic building of this magnitude. I think the design team did a relatively good job of addressing the "arse-end" of the building, all things considered. And there's no arguing that the more pedestrian-focused corridor is to the south / southeast, not the north.
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  #600  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2020, 8:09 PM
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long time lurker here who finally bit the bullet and signed up after seeing your reliable and well-written updates, Deja Vu!

Have you heard any updates on the development in the parking lot across from Blue Dolphin on Burdick? I think the address was 433 S. Burdick, and is a Hinman property.

If I remember correctly, the design team approached the city commission at one point to ask for special use exemption to have the property hang over the sidewalk below.
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